Professional Development

The Biggest Mistake You’re Making at Work

Written by Peter Jones

Jenny Blake, a former career coach at Google says: “Being stuck in one place for too long is not going to work.”

In her new book Pivot, she goes on to describe what, in her view, is the biggest mistake people make in their careers. Namely, “Taking action based on fear or ‘shoulds’.”

If you feel like you are stuck in an unfulfilling job or situation, afraid to change your situation for fear of it being the wrong decision, plagued by the “what ifs,” then Blake’s book might be an important read for you.

In the meantime, here are 10 ways you could overcome your fear of change and make it work for you.

1. Gather your courage.

In order to turn an opportunity into an outcome, you’ll have to have the courage to try. Start shoring yours up.

2. Embrace fear.

Fear is totally normal, and almost impossible to get rid of entirely. We can’t get rid of it, but we can change our relationship to it by changing how we react when we’re afraid.

3. Harness anxiety.

Sometimes your anxiety is a very effective radar system helping you tell the good opportunities from the riskier ones. If you can dial down your panic a bit to listen to what your intuition is telling you, you can start to use your anxiety as a tool for helping you embrace the best change possible, rather than hiding from all change.

4. Embrace failure

Just like fear, failure can be a productive and useful tool. Next time you fail, try to figure out the lessons you can learn and move on. You won’t fail at the same thing twice!

5. Be flexible.

Learn how to improvise. You don’t want to be the person who makes inflexible plans and then is unable to think fast on your feet.

6. Gamble a little.

Sometimes it’s a numbers game, or a matter of odds. Make a bunch of small bets on yourself and eventually your minor wins will add up to something major.

7. Don’t fear experimentation.

You mustn’t be afraid of trying new things. If you experiment often and continue trying new ways to succeed, you’ll get there a lot faster.

8. Choose your battles.

You can’t win all the time. Pick the battles that mean the most to you, press for the things that matter, and retreat when it’s not worth your energy to fight.

9. Always keep on moving.

Make sure you keep moving forward, no matter what. Getting stuck is worse than stumbling a little on the path to success.

10. Don’t be a slacker.

The best way to not be left in the dust—or better, to find your best path to where you want to be—is to keep up with your industry and your business. Stay on the cutting edge, where you have the best chance of pivoting.

About the author

Peter Jones