What’s impeding your professional growth?

What's impeding your professional growth

We can no longer avoid change and uncertainty in our jobs. People are rethinking what they want from their jobs as a result. The traditional career ladder has mostly been supplanted with “squiggly” careers, which are non-linear career moves that allow people to advance beyond promotion and take multiple paths in their careers. Personal professional development is increasingly necessary rather than desirable in the context of ongoing change.

But, in practice, professional growth is rarely given top priority. The daily obligations take priority over our growth, and planning for the future rarely feels as essential as the problems in our inbox. Putting oneself last puts our careers at risk of stalling and our skill sets at risk of becoming stagnant over time, which poses a long-term threat to our engagement and satisfaction at work. Short-term career resilience in the face of external job consequences like layoffs and reorganizations is reduced when we neglect our personal growth.

We train more than 100,000 people annually at our organization, Incredible If, in career development. We observe four typical obstacles that prevent people from growing. We divide them into challenges related to when, who, what, and where. Here are some creative ways to think and act that can help you get through these obstacles and keep putting money into your professional growth.


4 Regular Career Growth Obstacles

Consider which of these difficulties you can relate to. It is not unusual to experience two, three, or even all of them simultaneously.

The quandary of “when”


That implies: When I have the time, I’ll get around to professional growth. Career risk: It seems as though your progress is unrelated to your day job.

The “who” problem

It implies that nobody is assisting me in increasing my skills. Career risk: You start depending on others for advancement.


The problem with “what”

Sounds like: I’m unsure about where I want to grow. Career risk: Delaying action as you look for the one “correct” response.

The “where” problem


Sounds like: My workplace doesn’t offer any prospects for career advancement. Career risk: You get demotivated and disillusioned.

4 Ingenious Ideas to Advance Your Career

The following techniques have all been tried and tested on our students. They are made to assist you in anticipating hazards and regaining control over your professional progress.


1. Start a five-minute mind map if your growth difficulty is when

“When… [this project is finished] or [I get over this busy phase], I’ll spend some time working on my growth.” Sounds recognizable?

You can get past this obstacle by reducing the amount of time needed for development and increasing the frequency of your reflection. To improve your self-awareness and discover fresh opportunities for action, use “coach yourself” questions:


  • Make a recurring calendar invitation for “5-minute mind map” for yourself.
  • Place yourself somewhere without any temptation from technology.
  • Spend five minutes mind mapping your ideas in answer to one question from the coach yourself. For instance, your mind-map might incorporate relationship building, coming up with ideas, and having a positive influence if your coach yourself question is what do I want to establish a reputation for?
  • Summarize your thoughts by jotting down a “so what, what now?” question at the conclusion of the allotted period. Using the prior illustration as a model, yours might appear as follows: I’m going to recommend how I could use my relationship-building skills to help us maintain better communication with the various functions across the organization in my next career chat with my boss.

2. If you’re having trouble developing, try increasing your sideways support

In ladder-like jobs, we disregard the significance of peer-to-peer learning because we believe that senior employees are the best sources of support. Sharing issues, coming up with fresh ideas, and learning together are all made possible by connecting with coworkers in similar career stages both inside and outside of your firm.

The crucial thing is that the group’s shared goal is to aid in each other’s development whether there are five members or 50. How to begin going is as follows:


  • Begin by creating a group on an app like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or WhatsApp that you want to be a part of. For instance, Sarah started a group for supporters of squiggly careers.
  • Invite five people you know who have the same interest as the group to join by explaining the group’s goals to them.
  • Inquire of each person what they have recently read, seen, or heard that has been useful to them in their current position.
  • Give everyone the chance to invite one person to expand your group.

3. Make your learning navigator if your development obstacle is what

There are more ways than ever to study, but many individuals find it difficult to even begin because of the sheer amount of information available. You may prioritize what to learn in a way that feels practical and personal by using a learning navigator. Make a distinction between what you must know and what is nice to know, as well as between what is pertinent to your current work and what may be pertinent for future responsibilities, to help you narrow your focus.

The purpose of the learning navigator is not just to rank the items in the top-right hand box according to “now” and “need,” but also to create a variety of learning objectives that take into account both your current work and your long-term career ambitions. Also, it enables you to identify shared abilities between quadrants, which might guide your decision of where to start.


4. Prototype your evolution if your development difficulty is location-related

When the options you have at work aren’t always evident, it’s simple to feel defeated about your progress. In our last piece, we discussed how a lack of understanding of internal responsibilities, an excessive amount of process surrounding advancement, and a dearth of support from influential individuals might make leaving seem preferable to remaining. Instead of letting external factors dictate your development, prototype your evolution to open up new opportunities. Here is how you do it:

  • Make a list of one internal opportunity you desire to realize.
  • Assert this question: This chance is significant to me since…
  • Choose three more approaches to achieving your significant organizational aim.

Professional hurdles like layoffs, reorganizations, and a lack of personal fulfillment can seem like major speed bumps in the path. Nonetheless, you should start looking for the chances they present. Use your imagination to open up a variety of opportunities for your progress. Putting money toward your development now will pay off in the future when things go tough.


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