Risk Failure to Achieve Career Success!

If I told you that I have been downhill skiing for more than forty years, you might assume that, by now, I must be really good. You would be wrong. I am what I like to call a “cautious skier”. I seek out the green runs and my goal is always the same – to stay
upright. I would like to ski better, or at least enjoy it more, but my anxiety about the possibility of falling down and hurting myself causes me to tense up unless I am well inside my comfort zone, skiing along trails that barely qualify as hills.

Recently, I asked a friend, who is a ski instructor, for some advice on how I might improve. She told me that if I genuinely want to become a better skier, I will have to get out of my comfort zone, take on more challenging hills, build up some speed, and risk a wipe-out. Sage advice, and also an excellent prescription for career success.

We all enjoy feeling competent at work and school and many of us gravitate to tasks we find easy with the goal of pats on the back at work or high grades at school. Challenges come with the risk of failure and possible confirmation that we are not smart enough or talented enough to handle a more difficult problem or a more complicated situation. Unfortunately, over time, this strategy can result in negative career growth. It is associated with what psychologist Carol Dweck has identified as a “Fixed Mindset”, http://mindsetonline.com.

People with this characteristic believe that they have fixed intelligence and abilities. In their minds, if a skill requires effort to master, if they are not “naturals”, then they must be missing that talent. They avoid challenges, and failure may cause them to withdraw from a particular field of endeavour altogether (e.g. “I will never be good at math” or “I’m just not management material”).

Taking risks may lead to career success!

Taking risks may lead to career success!

In contrast, Dr. Dweck’s research has shown that people with a “Growth Mindset” believe they can build their capabilities through effort and practice. They see setbacks as a part of their growth and look for ways around them, applying even more effort and seeking even greater challenges. They are committed to learning. Not surprisingly, people with a growth mindset are more likely to realize their potential in all areas, including their careers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc

Stepping outside of your comfort zone to accept a new challenge at work may feel scary, and contemplating a public failure may make you cringe. But situations which make us the most uncomfortable can also offer the most opportunity for growth. If you are serious about taking your career to the next level, you may have to risk a wipe-out.

Caroline Burgess is an Educational Consultant and student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts aimed at assisting job seekers and those in career development. Be sure to share our info to your network. Happy reading!


An Unexpected Career Change

I never expected to be interested in the field I am in currently, due to life’s circumstances or destiny as some may say I find myself in the Employment Services field. For the most part of my life I have been working in the administration field but during the time I’ve been with the Region of Halton, Employment services I have had the opportunity to be part of different projects.

In 2011, I was part of the team that developed the Halton Newcomer Portal http://www.welcometohalton.ca, a website that provides information to potential and current newcomers about all the services available in Halton Region. This portal was part of another project, the Halton Newcomer Strategy http://www.haltonnewcomerstrategy.com this was formed by group of community members, service providers and people from government and funders that got together and formed a steering committee with the following vision: Halton will be a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community that values diversity.

In 2012, I was the Program Assistant for the HNS, being a newcomer myself I was able to relate to the topics and share my personal experience and contribute to ideas of improving the services available.

Within a couple of years of having the privilege to work with a great team of Employment Specialist and Job Developers, I have learned to admire the work they do
helping people reach their employment and/or career goals. They inspired me to want to do the same and pursue this career.

I always planned to return to school and furthering my education and career but by unplanned life events, my plan was always delayed. One of these events happening in 2010, the birth of my third child, and another one was our immigration process here in Canada taking longer than expected.

Finally, in 2013, after being employed with the Region of Halton for almost five years and becoming a permanent resident of Canada, I decided to start acting on my career goal. I researched different counselling programs, discussed them with my manager and supervisor and the best that suited my career goal was the Career Consultant Certificate program.

In my current role as Program Assistant, besides supporting the team I have the opportunity to meet and screen clients (Ontario Works referrals and Halton residents) that come to our resource centre for job search and career counselling assistance. I’m able to discuss with them their goals and depending on our
discussion, their field, experience or interest, I then assigned them to the corresponding sector’s Employment Specialist.

I see myself in a few years, or maybe sooner, successfully in the role of an Employment Specialist. My hope is that this new step towards my career goal will enhance my counselling skills and knowledge and help me guide others in accomplishing their own career goal.

Maribel Sanchez Rojas is a student in the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. MCACESBlogs aims to assist job seekers and their peers with their work search journeys. Thanks for reading!