Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking to Change the Direction of Your Career

Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking to Change the Direction of Your Career

Do you ever let an opportunity at work pass you by because you believe you lack the skills or knowledge to do a good job?

If you’ve answered this question with a yes, then you might actually be undermining your career due to negative thinking. As Curt Rosengren explains in his U.S. News article titled “How Positive Thinking Can Help Your Career,” you define your career potential by how you think and the stories you tell yourself. If you believe you can’t do something, you’re telling yourself limiting stories and you’re unlikely to take advantage of career opportunities that come your way. If, on the other hand, you tell yourself you can do something, you’re thinking positively and telling yourself expansive stories — and you’re more likely to leverage professional opportunities to your advantage.

Interestingly, when you examine why you can’t do something, it’s oftentimes more about a fear of failure than a lack of skills. Granted, there may be times when you actually don’t possess the required abilities. But someone who thinks expansively will think about how to acquire those abilities and take advantage of a similar opportunity in the future.

Fortunately, you can teach yourself to think positively. Keep the following tips in mind.

  • View opportunities in a positive light. If an opportunity arises, don’t view it as a threat; see it as a chance to advance. For example, let’s say your boss wants you on a new project. Instead of being intimidated, look at all the things you could learn from it, how many new people you could meet, and how doing a good job could help your career. 
  • Use positive self-talk. Simply telling yourself that you can do it can help you think more positively and build your confidence. If necessary, write some affirmations on sticky notes and place them around your workspace.
  • Say yes more often. When you say no, you simply shut a door. When you say yes, you open that door. Now, if that door is a professional opportunity, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful — but you stand a much better chance than if you don’t even try.
  • Learn from your failures and celebrate your successes. Failures aren’t a reflection of who you are; they’re an opportunity to learn what you don’t know so you can put that knowledge to use in the future. So don’t feel bad about them: Use them positively. And when you succeed at something, celebrate your hard work and abilities, as this will build your confidence.

When you learn how to consistently think positively, you can train yourself to have more confidence in your skills and take better advantage of professional opportunities that come your way. So in the long run, positive thinking can be a major boost to your career.