Toxic Thoughts: 6 Beliefs Holding You Back From Career Success

by Ashley Stetts

We should all have BIG goals for where we would like to be in life.

The issue is, no matter how many goals we set for ourselves, if we have self-defeating thought patterns and beliefs, we will never really go for them.

Travis Bradberry, author of "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" broke down six common, albeit toxic, beliefs that hold people back:

1. You think you need to be perfect to be successful.

Perfection is an impossible goal to attain, which is why perfectionists are often left feeling like failures.

When you’re busy focusing on the things you failed to accomplish, you’re not able to enjoy and celebrate all of your well-deserved achievements. Every failure is a lesson and an opportunity to improve.

Embrace mistakes because they’re inevitable.

2. You think you’re not in control of your “destiny.”

So many people like to blame things that are out of their control for why they are not accomplishing their goals. Of course, this is the easy way out.

Life throws many obstacles our way, but that doesn’t mean success isn’t “meant to be.” You are capable of being resilient and continuing to give 100 percent. Doing so will determine your ultimate success or failure.

3. You use the words “always” or “never.”

Generally speaking, there isn’t anything in life you always or never do. Sure, you may do something a lot or not do something enough, but framing your behavior in terms of “always” or “never” is a form of self-pity.

It communicates to your subconscious you have no control of your habits and behaviors because it is “just the way you are.”

Remember, you are the one who sets rules for yourself — no one else. Be flexible so you can be the kind of person who has the qualities required -- organization, leadership -- to achieve your goals.

4. You think success means approval from others.

Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain: You’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

Some of our goals are for the sole purpose of gaining the approval of others, which is the best way to set yourself up for failure.

Remember, the only opinion that matters is the one you have of yourself. If you can make yourself proud, you'll be sure to succeed.

5. You think your past is a reflection of your future.

It’s hard not to allow repeated failures to erode your self-confidence and keep faith you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future.

When we finally build up the courage to take risks and then subsequently fail, a common defense mechanism is to fear taking risks in the future.

Ultimately, though, anything worth achieving requires taking risks. Don't exaggerate the possible negative outcomes in your head (as we tend to do), and instead, focus on the high cost of NOT taking any risks, which is never realizing your goals and dreams.

6. You think your emotions are your reality.

If you’ve read "Emotional Intelligence 2.0," you know how to take an objective look at your feelings and separate fact from fiction.

Our emotions often hold the power to overcome rational thinking, which is why it’s important to work on not being reactive when you realize you're becoming emotional about something.

Learning to take a step back when you’re feeling angry or fearful and reframing a situation is key to ensuring you make decisions using common sense.

Ultimately, your beliefs are what form your reality, so it's important to ensure you're feeding yourself stories that will fill you with motivation to succeed.

Just becoming more aware of negative beliefs you harbor will help you realize the power of letting them go.