The 2 things that kill careers (and happiness)

Here are two things that can be really harmful to both your career success and overall happiness as a human being. Watch out for them.

We continually strategize on the things we need to do to advance our careers, close the sale, be happier, have better relationships and get what we want. More often than not it is what we need to cease doing that gives us the most power.

1. Don’t discount your dreams.

I used to live life from a “but at least it’s not ______” perspective. I thought this was being positive because I could always think of something worse. This was an OK way of remaining optimistic in the face of adversity until it became habit for all of life and halted my ability to envision the openness of wonder.

It wasn’t until I was aware of this that I began to risk shifting to the vulnerable choice of exploring joy without expecting it to be short lived. To ushering in opportunity that I knew was meant for me without holding onto fear. To seeing all that was there with the curiosity of a child. This ability to stay in the moment without fast forwarding to an anticipated ending broke open the world for me. It put an end to all endings. It left me only with beginnings.

I stopped needing to be right. I started listening to understand. I stopped being guarded. I started feeling acceptance. I stopped setting small goals. I started living in a big space of “this is what freedom feels like.”

2. Don’t wait for life to be fair

When I was struggling as a single working mother of four children under seven-years-old on public assistance, homeless and without an automobile I used to think there would eventually be an epiphany where life would finally become “fair” and get better. But it didn’t. And I grew more angry and defeated. Though I never stopped working harder and harder in corporate America toward my goal of being a good role model for my children.

I rose quickly to the CEO level mostly, I think, because I had four beautiful mouths hanging open in front of me like baby birds and I had no fear of risks. In my marriage I had already experienced the biggest rejection of my life so hearing “no” didn’t phase me. I’ve never been qualified for any of the roles I’ve applied for on paper but I could demonstrate measurable accomplishments that made this irrelevant. Still, I kept waiting for “fair” to happen. I kept my head down and everyday read and studied my fascination with human behavior.

My biggest achievement came slowly and without fanfare. I never saw it coming. It wasn’t my titles, my parenting or my home. It was the day I woke up and realized that life isn’t fair; it’s a world of connection. And the connection of most importance is the one we have with ourselves. When I accepted myself with all my flaws I drew others toward me instead of repelling them as I tried to be something I wasn’t.

Waiting for “fair” is like thinking the lion won’t eat you because you didn’t eat him. It isolates us and makes us prey to disappointment and perfectionism which kills careers. Fulfillment comes from swapping expectations and the need to be right for curiosity and wonder.

You may be moving slowly toward something today. Know that you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t quit. Just keep going because you’re almost there. Here is a free tool to help you navigate your career along the way: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at

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About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy:

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