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How to Reach Outside Yourself to Advance Your Career

By Linda Matias, CareerStrides Email: Website: When flipping the channels of your TV, you are bound to come acros

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By Linda Matias, CareerStrides


When flipping the channels of your TV, you are bound to come across a Public Service Announcement (PSA) endorsed by a celebrity asking children to approach their parents, teachers, or someone they trust when they are at a crossroads. Through these PSAs, children are told that asking for guidance, encouragement, and support is a sign of strength. They don't have to go through a transition alone--help is just around the corner.

As adults, we tend to forget the value of reaching out to others when we are in need of assistance. There is this unwritten rule that we should be able to make decisions without the guidance of others. The reality is, however, that children and adults share a common ground: we are all humans who encounter situations that are challenging from time to time, and it doesn't make sense to go it alone.

Signs You Should Reach Outside Yourself

You find yourself asking the same questions over and over because you can't find a resolution.

You find yourself in a career transition and aren't sure which direction you should take.

You need someone who can act as more than just a sounding board, someone who can provide thoughtful and constructive feedback.

When reaching out for assistance with your career, you have the following options:

Friend. Friends can be sounding boards, have intimate knowledge of your personal and professional life, and may be able to offer objective and subjective advice.

Career Mentor. Find a mentor within your company who is experienced and willing to guide you in your professional development. Your mentor should want to share their knowledge and professional experience, and expose you to new ideas and perspectives.

Career Coach. This is someone who is willing to meet you where you are and assist in getting you where you want to go. A career coach can ask questions that inspire self-awareness and renewed enthusiasm for your professional outlook.

Be in a State of Mind to Accept Assistance

Regardless if you choose to work with a friend, mentor, or career coach, you should be open to new ideas.

Fall in Love for Just 15 Minutes. It is easy to pooh-pooh an idea when it is first presented by saying something such as, "I tried that. It doesn't work." Instead of dismissing someone's idea out of hand, try to take in what they are saying and make the decision to love their idea for 15 minutes. Listen and participate in the discussion and buy into it, no matter how crazy you think the idea is. You may be surprised at the progress you can make by being open to others' thoughts and suggestions.

Let Go of Resistance. If you find that you are resistant to change, it may be because your purpose isn't clear, you fear failure (or success), and/or you lack trust in your own ability to make decisions that are in your best interest. A good friend, mentor, or career coach will be able to help you through your resistance.

Final Thought

Your advancement is limited only by your commitment to your own career development. Involving others in your quest will get you one step closer to who you want to be, personally and professionally.