Keys to Moving Forward In Your Life and Career - Get Out of Your Own Way

Finding the right path when trying to move forward with your career can be challenging. From the difficult subject of compensation increases, to knowing when you are ready to move up in a role, to refining the skill set you have, to truly understanding what your boss expects of you; there are many stepping stones that have to be put in place and in the right sequence in order to successfully move forward in your career. In this article series I provide tips as Senior Management for what I look for and what has been expected of me over the years to help you reach your professional and personal goals. 

Get out of your own way

There are many reasons for not achieving success in a career and more often than not we get in our own way. We end up frustrated because we’re not moving forward for <insert> reason. That reason impacts our ability to take the steps to set ourselves apart in a positive way. We end up afraid, we stop taking chances, we stop asking “what if.” We are ashamed, we let envy stop our progress, and we get angry. We get attached to people, habits, hobbies, and things that keep us from growth. We have become fantastic procrastinators and skilled in self pity. 

We get comfortable. Being comfortable is the number one way to impede moving forward in life. When we are comfortable, we limit ourselves, our growth, and our opportunities. We are allowing the place where we are at to be good enough but deep down we want more. I’ve struggled with this while envying others’ success and being “protected” by the bubble of comfort I created for myself. I dug into why I was not content or satisfied and found that I was hiding from my aspirations. I was afraid to put myself out there and to help people achieve their goals because of fear; fear of rejection, fear of not having anything worthwhile to say, fear of it not benefiting my career. It was easier to stay in my bubble and build my procrastination toolset. Then I realized I was creating reasons to not step up. I was getting in my own way by creating fearful “what ifs” that hadn’t happened. Today I write this confidently and uncomfortably in order to get out of my way and help you do so as well.

Aspirations and goals take work to achieve, and you may face scrutiny and backlash. You will undoubtedly be uncomfortable and have to overcome obstacles you didn’t plan for. Focusing on the things we cannot control is an easy way to push your goals off, but it will not lead you down the path of success. Life has and will throw everything it can at you; it’s up to you whether or not you become another stone.

How to get out of your own way:  

  • Stop telling yourself where you’re at is good enough. 
  • Stop saying you cannot do it, whatever it is. 
  • Be proud of the steps you have made and how far you have come. 
  • Don’t compare yourselves to others.
  • Follow through. 
  • Have confidence, not arrogance. 
  • Take chances and embrace risk. 
  • Take advantage of your resources. They are at your fingertips.
  • Realize that perfection does not exist.
  • Actively and consistently work on your goals.
  • Experience and demonstrate gratitude.
  • Remember that success is on the other side of fear. 

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be content with where you are in your life. Be proud of where you are at, even if it isn’t the goal. The hardships and mistakes are what enable us to grow. Take humble confidence in where you are at and don’t let yourself stop you.

Want to have a conversation? I’d love to hear your story. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


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Amanda Nystrom has been in the Open Source industry since 2009, starting her career as an intern for Command Prompt, Inc. From there she moved to the social media marketing industry, specifically focused on the power of advocacy and influencers in the 21st century. She took the skills she acquired back into the Open Source industry and joined Command Prompt full time as a project manager. Today she is a major stockholder and Senior Operations and Project Manager, moving steadily toward the COO position. Also a Co-Chair of the international Postgres Conference series, she is developing content and managing conferences for the nonprofit world with a focus on People, Postgres, Data. Amanda has a passion for providing tools and motivation for people in order to help them succeed professionally and personally.