The 5 Worst Career Mistakes You Can Make And How You Can Benefit From Them

Thank you for registering for Career Focus. Here is your free report. I hope you find something useful in the information presented here. Much of this comes from my own personal experience. I resisted taking the action I needed to take my career to the next level for a long time. Once I finally took action, I've never looked back. I hope you find the courage and confidence to make the positive changes you know you need to make in your own career.

"What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful." - Blaine Lee

Almost everyone has made mistakes with their careers. Mistakes, themselves, however, are not bad. As humans, this is the way we learn. Toddlers fall down, and immediately get up and try again. The secret is identifying, learning, and taking positive action from the mistakes we make. The toddler who falls down gets up and tries something different.

Eventually they learn that by putting their feet down a certain way, they won't fall down. With your career, identifying the things that just aren't working out, and making changes, will help you learn and grow as an individual.

Everyone has a different situation, and there are literally hundreds of mistakes people make with their careers. Successful people learn early what's working and what's not, and continually seek to make things better. Use the following information to help you grow and succeed in your career. If you find that you possess one or more of these traits, use this as a wake-up call to make positive changes in your own career development path.

Mistake 1

Focusing Solely on Your Salary

"The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed." - Henry Ford

If you read career forums or talk to people looking for career change, you'll notice that the main concern for many people is how much money they will make doing a certain job. Although financial reward is a benefit to a career, it will almost never (by itself) provide the motivation and reward that will sustain a happy career. If you find yourself in a position where you have a job that pays well, but that you hate, take some time to understand what it is about the position that you hate. Is it the work itself? The hours, the stress? Identify the things that you dislike about your career, and then take some time to identify the things that you do like. Understanding what drives and motivates you will help you identify what kind of career will provide you the happiness you're seeking.

If you're just starting out in your career, making a career change, or still in college, you would be wise to take the advice of people who've already been in your situation. Before choosing a career, understand what's involved with that career, including the day to day tasks that people in that job perform. Talk to people in that field, and find out what motivates them, and what they like most about their careers. Most successful people love what they do. If you're passionate about what you do, you will have the motivation and desire to succeed, followed by monetary reward. Figure out what you're passionate about, and come up with some creative ways to turn that into a career. For example, Robert Kiyosaki (author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series) came up with a creative way to use his passion for teaching and finances to build a multi-million dollar business teaching people financial literacy. (I highly recommend this book, by they way. If you haven't read Rich Dad, Poor Dad yet check it out on Amazon.

Mistake 2

Making Excuses

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."  - Dale Carnegie

Think about people you know who are always negative. A common trait you'll notice is that these are the people always coming up with excuses as to why things can't get done, why they're in the situation they're in, etc. It's always the fault of someone else or something else that prevents them from being happy. I can't get promoted because my boss is a jerk. I can't find another job because I've been here too long. I'm not getting paid enough because the company doesn't appreciate me.

Even people who don't consider themselves to be negative often come up with excuses why something can't be done rather than identifying ways that it can be done.

Take note: You control your destiny! Although you cannot control certain events or circumstances, you can control your reaction and action to your situation. If you really want that promotion, what is it going to take for you to make it happen? If you really want to change careers, what are some ways that will make it reality? If you want to go back to school, how can you make it happen?

Once you stop making excuses, and start coming up with solutions, you'll start finding success and reward in what you do.

Mistake 3

An Advanced Degree Will Get Me A Better Job

This one's a little tricky. You're probably thinking right now, how can this be a mistake? Getting advanced education will provide me with additional knowledge and expertise. And this is true. The mistake is believing that the degree or certification will land you a great job, just because you have it.

Thousands of people graduate from college every year with high expectations of landing a great-paying job. They soon discover that college has sorely prepared them for the corporate world. Many expect to immediately land management positions within solid companies with a high-paying salary. As they soon discover, they are lucky to find entry-level positions that barely cover their expenses.

So what can you do? View your college education as a time to gain the knowledge you'll need to succeed in your career.

Major in something you're passionate about, and interested in. Don't waste your credit hours on classes that aren't relevant to what you want to do with the rest of your life. If you eventually want to own your own business, and are majoring in History, take an accounting or finance class as an elective. Once you graduate, take an entry-level position to start gaining knowledge and expertise. Go in with a positive attitude, and learn as much as you can about the business. If you have a great attitude, and learn valuable skills to benefit the company you work for, you will get promoted quickly. Few people in business start at the top. Work your way up, and view each position as an opportunity to learn and advance.

If you've been in the corporate world for a while, or don't have a college degree, figure out ways to help the company you work for increase profits or reduce costs. Become an asset to the company you work for.

Mistake 4

Fear of Failure

You probably know people (maybe even you!) who don't want to make a career change because they're afraid they won't find another job that pays as well, or they're afraid they might fail at what they really want to do.  They stay at their unhappy job because they're afraid to do something else.

This is probably the most difficult mistake to overcome.  Logic tells you that if you try something new, you're bound to make more mistakes.  Starting something new is rarely easy, but almost always worth the effort.  Think about other times when you made a decision to change your life even though you were afraid at first.  Do you regret the decision?  Probably not.  Many new parents are afraid of making mistakes, afraid of doing something wrong with their newborn.  Once the baby is home, they learn and adjust.  Do they make mistakes?  Sure, but again, it's part of the learning process.  In no time, they're giving expert advice to other new parents.

To overcome your fear, you first need to change your mindset.  Believe in yourself and your success.  Understand that mistakes will be made, but make an effort to learn and adjust.  Another idea is coming up with a solution that doesn't put you at a lot of risk.  For example, if you'd like to start a small business, but still want a steady paycheck, start your business slowly working on it during nights and weekends.  It may take longer for your business to grow, but it's a good way to keep your current income and still work on pursuing your dream.  Think about what you really want to do and find a creative way of getting there.

Mistake 5

Not Having A Plan

"The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail." - Napoleon Hill

Another common phrase you'll hear from people about their career is "I'm waiting for the right opportunity." With this reasoning, they're waiting for someone else to figure out their career future.  Why put your future in someone else's hands?  If you don't have a career development plan or goals to help you achieve your dreams, you will probably never get to where you want to be.  Everyone would like to have a happy career, but how many people are actively taking steps to making that a reality?

The good news is that coming up with a career development plan is not that difficult.  Use the free downloadable template on this website to help you.  The HARD part is putting your plan into action.  You may even get resistance from friends and family, who unknowingly hurt you by making discouraging remarks ("don't start your own business, most small businesses fail", "you're too old to change careers," etc.).  Granted, you should take time to understand your own personal strengths and skills and use those to your advantage when seeking a new career path.

By taking the time to evaluate, and re-evaluate your career path, and taking action, you're likely to find success and happiness in what you do.  The most critical element is taking action.  If you don't have a lot of time, devote a small amount of time each day to your career goals - even 15 or 20 minutes each day will make a difference.