Is there anything holding you back in your job or career now? Do you believe you can accomplish any goal you set for yourself, in your life or your career?

Everyone wants to experience some type of success in their career, even if it means having a stable job that they can count on for continued income. It is possible that throughout the natural progression of a career there will be setbacks and moments when a person questions their ability to be successful. The starting place I use as a career coach and educator is the beliefs that a person holds about their capacity for success and their ability to grow as they take on new tasks or seek out new opportunities. As an educator and career coach, what I often find at the heart of most setbacks is a negative belief that diminished their self-confidence, undermined their decision to accept or apply for new responsibilities, and created a mindset of frustration. If a person can develop a positive belief then any bumps or unexpected outcomes along the way won't turn into setbacks that can stall their career.

How Beliefs Begin

Take a minute and consider what it is you believe about yourself as related to your career. Do you feel fully capable of performing every task required of your position? Do you feel capable of seeking new work or additional responsibilities based upon your capabilities? After you assess your self- beliefs you can better understand how they were created. What most people use as the parameters for what they believe about themselves are the negative events that have occurred in their career.

What a belief consists of is a practice habit of thought. It is that simple and yet it is very easy to point to negative occurrences and use that as evidence to support your inability to do something, rather than using it as feedback. Every person is capable of learning new skills and new responsibilities but it depends upon your mindset as to whether or not you will follow through with it. If you can believe in what you are capable of and hold onto it then you can develop it as a practice habit of thought and thereby create it as a belief.

Learn About the Role of a Positive Mindset

For those people who have not practiced a pattern of positive beliefs about their ability to perform well and be successful, they are going to find that they have established unsure footing for their career. What this means is that their mindset has gotten into a negative pattern where they are constantly evaluating the information they receive from others as the determining factor for who they are and what they can do. They can feel good during a moment when they are praised and then feel negativity when someone else disagrees with them or states they are not doing their job well enough. A positive mindset requires practice and over time you can shore it up well enough that it becomes a stable platform – and information received from others will be used only as feedback for self-improvement.

The Top 3 Negative Beliefs That Are Holding You Back

Negative Belief #1: I Can't. You can take those words and complete the sentence with almost anything that applies to your career or future interests. The more you say this the more you will establish a negative self-belief. If you want to begin to change this frame of thinking ask yourself why you cannot do whatever it is you have stated.

There will likely be many reasons so try to determine if it is really a pattern of thought that is getting in the way or if there is something you need to learn so that you can accomplish what you believe right now you cannot do. For example, perhaps there is a new skill that you must learn before you take on a new task. The point is to develop a positive belief that you have a capacity to try or learn something new.

Negative Belief #2: I'm Afraid. Fear can create a strong negative current that is only overcome through a practiced positive mindset. People are often afraid of the unknown and they can also be fearful when an outcome seems uncertain. For example, let's say that you want to start a new job but you don't know exactly how that job will play out on a daily basis and so that can stop you from taking a chance.

The best way to address fear is to consider what the worst-case scenario may be. That will take out uncertainty to an extent and allow you to work with and prepare for whatever it is you want to do next. You can also use fear as a reminder that you need to be prepared. It is not possible to always predict the outcomes you will experience in your career; however, what you can do is to believe that you can address anything that you are faced with or anything new you want to do.

Negative Belief #3: I Don't Know How. Most employers do not expect you to know every aspect and detail of your job. You are hired based upon having experience and knowledge, but every job has additional tasks or responsibilities that are unique to it and of course you won't know how to do everything at the beginning.

Even as there are changes during the course of your job you may have to learn new procedures or methods of performing your tasks. This goes back to the practiced mindset you have about yourself. If you believe in yourself and what you are capable of doing then you can rise to the occasion of any challenge you face. When you say I don't know how you are expressing a fear or concern, so again ask yourself what you need to do in order to learn how. It relates to being proactive in tackling fear head-on and taking the uncertainty out of the equation so you can address it fully.

Discover Tools to Create a Positive Mindset

Even with a strong positive mindset and corresponding belief about yourself, you still can have moments when there is uncertainty and perhaps fear. The most effective strategy you can take is to address it as soon as you feel it. The feeling you have is the indicator of what you are experiencing and if you allow it to continue it will manifest into frustration and that can show up in your daily job performance.

Acknowledge What You Feel: The first tool that you can use is to acknowledge what you felt and express it objectively, rather than use it to subjectively create a negative feeling about yourself. As you acknowledge it you will find that you then begin to get to the heart of why you are experiencing this emotional reaction. It is likely due to uncertainty about conditions, circumstances, or outcomes – which you will never be able to control. What you can do is be prepared to learn and place yourself in a receptive mode so that you can adapt as needed and take on new tasks or responsibilities.

Ask Questions: Another tool you can use to establish a productive mindset is to ask questions. You can ask these questions of yourself or you can ask others so that you gain clarity and information needed before you decide about how you will respond. Since a belief is a practice habit of thought you don't want to let these feelings go unnoticed because if you do that can become your new thought pattern, which can sideline your positive mindset. Any negative belief that you allow yourself to continue to hold in your mind can only produce negative outcomes in your career.

Create a New Habit: Practice a habit of thought that you are fully capable of addressing any challenge and as you take on new tasks or you make changes in your career, look for positive outcomes to support that belief. You will find that with this approach it is possible to view your career from a developmental perspective and not allow temporary feelings to become practiced negative habits of thought. The benefits of the development of a positive mindset are not limited to your career either. You will find all aspects of your life are transformed when you begin to change what you believe about yourself and your potential. No longer will you be limited by words or thoughts. Now you will act because you believe you can try, you believe in your self-determination, and even when you fail, you believe in your ability to learn.

About Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson has worked in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005. He specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, and online teaching. Presently Dr. J is a Faculty Development Manager and manages a Center for Teaching and Learning, creating and delivering courses and curriculum for online faculty. His roles have also included Chief Academic Officer, Dean, Faculty Director, Dissertation Mentor, Faculty Workshop Facilitator, and Online Faculty.

Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA. Dr. J has extensive experience with curriculum development, having authored courses and curriculum for bachelors, masters, and doctorate programs.

To learn about Dr. Johnson's background, please visit:

As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has also published over 200 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and career development.

Dr. J has published the following resources:

  • Transform Adult Education: Expert Teaching Strategies for Educators,
  • Transform Online Teaching: Expert Strategies and Essential Resources Every Educator Needs,
  • Appreciative Andragogy: Taking the Distance Out of Distance Learning,
  • Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct Faculty Who Teach Business

To learn more about these affordable resources, please visit:

To learn more about Dr. Bruce A. Johnson, please visit the following resources:




Click Like on Dr. J's Facebook pages and you'll receive updates with important resources for online teaching, distance learning, and higher education, along with career advice, job tips, and other helpful career resources.

Share this: 

Add new comment