5 Toxic Beliefs to Unlearn and Level Up in Your Life and Career
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Very early in life, many of us are taught that learning is the key to advancing in your career. But equally important in learning new skills are unlearning those beliefs, childhood lessons, and habits that no longer fit the vision for your life and career.

It Starts and Ends With You

Be real with yourself. Are you holding on to your parent’s values? Are you conforming to other people’s definition of success? Chances are if you’re feeling lost, confused, or afraid about next steps in your life and career, your mindset is keeping you stuck and confined to a mediocre life.

After landing a 6-figure job with great benefits, I bought a home and traveled around the world to countries like Thailand, Italy, and South Africa. According to my Instagram and Facebook post, I was living my best life. But truthfully, I still felt incredibly unfulfilled at work. I was searching for something more in different jobs, relationships, and even money. I could never escape the aching feeling that there had to be something more to life, which was contrary to what I was taught growing up. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t my job that needed to change, I needed to change. It was time to unlearn what I had been programmed to believe since birth.

Stop Settling for Safe

Your ability to declutter your mind from old ideas and find the courage to rewrite your story can help you step outside your comfort zone and create your best life—whatever that looks like for you.

So, are you ready to level up? Here are few things you may need to unlearn.

 

  1. Unlearn the idea that the world must watch and validate all of your achievements. In What Color Is Your Parachute 2019, A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers Richard N. Bolles, said it best: “Unlearn the idea that our unique mission consists of some achievement for all the world to see—and learn instead that the stone does not always know what ripples it has caused in the pond, whose surface it impacts, so neither we nor those who watch our lives will always know what we have achieved by our life and by our mission.”
  2. Unlearn the idea that you should choose “what” (job I want) first. Instead, focus on “who” (do I want to help). Starting with “who” can help you align your values, actions, skills, and experiences to the needs of a specific group of people. Putting people at the heart of everything you do is also one of the most impactful ways to stand out in your career.
  3. Unlearn the belief that a job should fulfill you. The reality is, you may not get all the ingredients of a fulfilling life from a job. Plus, you are not your job title. So, don’t just find a job, find a mission. What causes are you most passionate about? What’s the thing that irritates you when you see it being done incorrectly? What are the conversations professionals in your industry don’t want to have? Simply put, be the change and connect your mission to the core of everything you do.
  4. Unlearn the belief that your greatest accomplishments are confined to a moment of time. Between 25 and 40 years old, many of us are worried about finding a husband/wife; landing a high paying job and then buying the materialistic things that make us look successful. In fact, keeping up with someone else’s perfectly curated life on social media is bound to push anyone into a deep depression. But in reality, your putting yourself into a box, capping your growth, and stopping yourself from living.
  5. Unlearn the belief that the “best education” is connected to a formal educational institution. Some of your best lessons will come from real-world experiences. Going (back) to college will not guarantee you a job after graduation and degrees don’t equal dollars. You have to put in the work. Keep it real with yourself; are you using “I’m going back to school” as a safety net or smoke screen because you’re confused and too afraid to face rejection in the real world?

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