Young Professionals: What Are You Waiting For?

By Natasha Bethea • April 22, 2019

So you want to get that next promotion, a higher salary, or find a new job, huh? I have one question: What are you waiting for?

Yes, I know you have a list of excuses like:

  • I’m not qualified enough.
  • I’m too young and inexperienced.
  • I don’t have time to look for jobs.
  • I will be told no when I ask for more money.
  • I’m not ready yet.

The list goes on…..

Throughout my career, I have heard almost every excuse in the book. I even said most of them myself.  My excuses left me unhappy, feeling unaccomplished, stuck and frustrated because I continued to let myself down time after time. However, when I decided to change my mindset and start believing in my abilities, things changed. No longer would I sit back and wait for my big break. I decided to go out and get everything I wanted.

We all know that it is hard to stay focused when your mindset is not right. The overall stress of life, in general, can make it extremely difficult to reach your goals especially when it comes to your career. However, once you start having a “no matter what” mindset and stop waiting for things to happen to you the journey is so much easier.

Before becoming who I am today, I considered myself to be quite pessimistic. For example, I always viewed the glass half empty rather than half full. I always felt like the universe was against me and if something was to go wrong it would. If someone gave me negative feedback, I fully believed them which made me feel incompetent.

What I didn’t realize is that mindset is a choice and I chose to be easily defeated too often.  I knew I was more than capable of being a rock star professional, however, I looked past that because I was so focused on the things I didn’t have. I did not have a fancy graduate degree. I did not have any shiny certificates. I only had a few years of experience. I don’t have all of the qualifications for this job I want to apply for, therefore I won’t get hired. This is exactly what kept me stuck for years. I wanted to check off all the boxes that, in my mind, determined if I was “good enough.” But believe it or not, life doesn’t work that way. If you don’t ask for what you want you will never get it. So how does one go out and achieve their goals?

Decide to Get into Action

Now this seems like a pretty easy task but a lot of people get stuck at this step. People spend months, even years, just thinking about what they want to do instead of just doing it. As soon as I felt that I was no longer being challenged at my job, I immediately asked to be put on a bigger assignment. I didn’t really let negative thoughts such as “I lack all the skills to do this,” slow me down. I just made the decision to ask for what would make me happy. If you can accomplish this step as soon as possible, you are well on your way towards adopting a “no matter what” mindset and getting what you want.

Identify What’s Holding You Back

It is easy to trick your mind into thinking of a million reasons why you will never get that promotion or why you will never get hired for that job. But imagine if you did the opposite? Believe it or not, you can train your mind to believe just about anything. If all of these excuses are holding you back, it’s time for you to become stronger than them.

One of my excuses has always been procrastination. I had a bad habit of putting things off until later and wondered why I never seem to accomplish much. I let my mind to believe that it was ok to procrastinate in order to avoid things I wasn’t ready to tackle. However, by shifting my attitude towards things I did not want to address, I made that habit unacceptable and now I am reaching my goals faster than ever. Whether it be a person, place or thing holding you back, identify what it is and program your mind to change it.

Create a Plan 

Growing up my dad would always tell me that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Me being the non-planner I am, never realized how not planning would usually have me wasting critical time towards reaching my goals. Planning may feel time-consuming; however, you cannot skip this step and be successful. Anything great and worth doing takes planning. How else would you know what direction to go in, what skills you need, and how to stay on track if you have not created a plan of action? Planning is a time investment you put up front that will save you much time on the back end. Trust me, you will reach your goals quicker if you plan.

Set Deadlines

Ok, you’ve decided to start, eliminated the things holding you back, and now have a plan of action.  Well, what’s next? Time to set some hard deadlines. Deadlines will keep you motivated, eliminate procrastination and help you prioritize what’s most important. I know if I don’t create deadlines for myself I would just sit on my goals forever and become frustrated because I haven’t reached them. Deadlines force you to stay in action and sometimes we just need that extra push. One word of caution I do have is to make your deadlines realistic. This is so important because this is why a lot of people give up on their goals. Going from a marketing assistant to CEO in a year may not be realistic. However, going from marketing assistant to marketing manager may be a goal you can stand by. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Really take the time to research how long it will take to get things done and set that as your deadline.

Execute, Execute, Execute

Now you are fully prepared to get going. The only thing left is to follow through and execute. You have been talking that talk, now it is time to walk that walk. Along the way, you may have to make some adjustments but keep going. Do not stop. I repeat “DO NOT STOP!” Every day do something that will get you closer to becoming the professional you want to be. Stay in action and I guarantee you will be successful.

When you change your mindset, you change your life. Stop waiting for your goals to come to you and go out and grab them. Remember, you are unstoppable!

About The Author

Natasha Bethea is the senior manager for membership recruitment and retention at the Association for Psychological Science. Her motto is “living in purpose on purpose” and she’s committed to raising the profile of associations in today’s competitive workforce.