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The 4 Obstacles You Must Overcome to Get the Career of Your Dreams December 19, 2016

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Our work takes up half of our waking life as adults, and it affects our mood, relationships, self-esteem, and lifestyle during the other half. Heck, it can even affect our sleep! Therefore if we want to improve our overall happiness and satisfaction, we can simply invest in improving our careers.

So why are most people stuck in a job they don’t like and feel unable to improve their situation?

There are 4 obstacles you need to overcome before you can feel like you’ve made it, enjoy authority and fame, and earn 6 figures or more.

1. You need to learn how to stand out

A common interview question is “why should I hire you?” Have you ever been asked that question? What have you been replying? You see, the interviewer is asking what makes you a unique fit for the position. Many have told him / her that they work hard. Many have said that their previous experience is relevant. Those aren’t unique traits, they’re hygiene factors: you don’t work hard, you don’t get the job. Your experience isn’t relevant, you don’t even get the interview.

Standing out requires you to understand your own unique story, and to communicate it in your “elevator pitch”, convey it in your CV and Cover Letter, and broadcast it through Networking. The closer you are to understanding your Calling in life, the more effortless your unique story will become.

2. You need the right mentor

While you might want to pay for a mentor, you don’t necessarily need to: a mentor can be a colleague, a friend, or an acquaintance that’s happy to lend a hand once in awhile. But you need someone who’s been there and done that. They teach you this in business school: even the greatest leaders copy best practice from others. If someone else has already figured the best solution to a well-known problem, then reinventing the wheel is just silly. Focus on solving new, untackled problems instead. Life is full of them, you won’t get bored 🙂

Yes that means asking others for help – if that’s a problem, you’ll get over it, it’s for your own sake.

Mentors and sages abound (ahem), but not everyone can be everything you need, all the time. Sometimes you need advice from someone in your role who’s experiencing what you are experiencing. Sometimes you need the advice of someone more senior. When you’re considering a new company to work for, you might want someone trusted who works or has worked there. Sometimes you’ll want a man’s perspective, sometimes a woman’s perspective.

It is possible to always get the right person to talk to and to develop a network of several mentors, if you know the approach and the tools.

3. You need to learn to always negotiate

This is as much about your technique, as it is about your mindset. The former is easier to teach than the latter, but let me try.

I’ve been the hiring manager for many roles, and have been involved in interviewing and making hiring decisions for countless others. This is how it normally plays out:

  • Recruiter and hiring manager agree on what profile is needed for the role
  • Recruiter starts looking for suitable candidates, proposes them to the hiring manager who refuses them all -try harder, recruiter
  • (Corollary: a big company would receive TONS of CVs for the position, the Recruiter would discard most and pass the best to the hiring manager, who promptly refuses them all)
  • Recruiter / hiring manager realises that there are no good candidates out there, panics and considers a career change
  • Magically, a handful of CVs appear, these new candidates sound ideal, 5-10 of them are brought in for interviews
  • Between 3-8 people from the company interview some or all of the candidates (some are turned down before they see all interviewers)
  • 3 candidates make it to final round of interviews, 2 are the favourites, but one is deemed head and shoulders above the other. Nobody wants to hire the second choice.
  • A job offer is extended to only one candidate

  • Imagine you’re the fortunate candidate. You love the company and the role and every night before going to sleep you’ve wished on your lucky star that they would pick you. You’ve been interviewed by 8 people over the course of 1 month and FINALLY they tell you that you’ve been chosen. Should you risk it all for a bit more money?

    Yes, definitely! Because more money is always good, but mainly because there is NO risk. The company are as invested as you are. In fact, you might have been interviewing for other companies and may even have several offers on the table. Even if this company is your favourite, you have options. Their option is to start the above process from scratch. That will probably cost them more than giving you the salary increase that you’re asking. Also did I mention you’re the best candidate they’ve seen by far? Don’t be shy, as long as it’s a reasonable salary for the role, ask what you’re worth.

    4. Finally, you need to learn that you can aim high

    The main problem for most of us is that we doubt ourselves: we think that maybe we don’t have what it takes. Think about it, you wouldn’t think twice about paying a career coach 200 dollars an hour, if you thought that you could subsequently earn millions. It’s not (only) down to the perception of the coach. It’s the perception of yourself.

    It’s understandable: you may not know what your strengths are, which is very common early on in your career or if you’re in the wrong job. You may feel inadequate, surrounded by people who are better than you. So you don’t believe you can excel and you don’t dare to ask for more responsibilities or to apply for that dream job that seems out of your reach.

    Henry Ford famously said “whether you think that you can or you think that you can’t, you’re right”. If you give up before you try, you’ll certainly fail. If you do the work, you may fail a few times; but never relent and I am sure you will succeed. Sure, the place where you end up might not look like what you had envisioned as a child, it seldom does, because you’ll have to course correct as you learn about the world and about yourself. But if this journey leads you to discover your Calling, the career at which you can be the best in the world, each step of the way will become more and more fun, more exciting, and your childhood dreams will eventually pale in comparison to what you’ll be capable to achieve.


    I know it’s not always easy to overcome these obstacles and apply these learnings in your own personal situation, to achieve your own goals and lead a career in line with your values. So if you’d like some help, I’d be happy to offer you a Free one-on-one Consultation. The session is designed to help you understand the right long term career for you and also identify quick wins to improve your status, salary, and free more of your time quickly.

    Click Here if you’d like to claim your Free Consultation now.

    I look forward to getting to know you and to helping you with the next step to achieve your career and lifestyle goals!

    Paolo Pironi

    Paolo Pironi

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