Easter bunny? Cute… But completely ineffectual as a chocolate delivery system. I haven’t seen the fella in years. I arrange for my own chocolates.
Tooth Fairy? Just another myth. This one designed to help children get over their fears of losing a body part. Personally, I’d freak out at the idea of losing a tooth too. If an unknown hand slipped money under my pillow in exchange for a tooth I’d be seriously creeped.
We hang on to these myths and fairy tales long after we know they are untrue. As children these myth rituals give us comfort. As adults we don’t believe in the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy but there other myths we believe in….or at least act as if we do.
I’ve discovered a number of myths operating in the hearts and minds of my executive clients over the years…and I don’t mean the bunny, fairy, variety either. As an executive coach I listen to the stories of the high flyers in business. They tell me how they have gotten to where they are. They share their slips, trips and falls along the way as well. Some of these stories are laced with myth, fairy tale and other non-substantiated facts about their success journeys.
Two of the myths I hear repeatedly are……
Hrumpfff! Are you nuts? Your work does not have lips or a voice box. It is inanimate. Your “work” might be words on a page, pictures on an easel, numbers in a spreadsheet; none of which have I ever heard a word from. You are the one who has to give commentary and life to your efforts, the work cannot.
We know this and often act as if it’s not true. The number of people, including highly placed executives, who act as if this myth is true is high.
I advocate working hard; I’m in favor of working hard. Yet, as a career success strategy it’s limited. You may be rewarded and you may not. Hard work is expected, mere table stakes for keeping one’s current job. There’s more required beyond logging super human hours and we all know it… yet, we often act as if we don’t.
The magical thinking might go like this “I have given everything to this job, I deserve a raise, I have worked so hard”. Or the lament might go like this: “I have led this team through thick and thin and now someone else is getting the payoff…why him and not me?”
You can only guess the number of times I’ve guided a client through their own version of the work hard, collect your reward myth.
There are other myths active in the work place as well. I’ve collected 9 career myths that sabotage careers. Even the most senior business leader can succumb to the kind of distorted thinking these myths represent.
Here’s my list of the most dangerous career growth myths. Each one is a fairy tale that has no business in your career success plans. Check it out.
The 9 Career Growth Myths
The Smartest one in The Room Myth: “The smartest person will make the best leader.”
The Iron Man Myth: “The harder I work, the better my chance of promotion.”
The Visibility Myth: “If they see me they’ll promote me.”
The Position Myth: “I have to be a manager to make things happen.”
The Destination Myth: “When I get to the top, then I’ll learn to lead.”
The Influence Myth: “If I were on top, then people would follow me.”
The Inexperience Myth: “When I get to the top, I’ll do it my way.”
The Freedom Myth: “When I get to the top, I’ll no longer be limited.”
The Potential Myth: “I can’t reach my potential if you don’t let me.”