The Single Most Important Question to Ask Yourself

Have you ever stopped to think about your work beliefs? If not, I hope this post convinces you why it’s important to consider what you believe to be true about work.

Getting ahead at work

When you think about what it takes to get ahead at work, you likely start with the things you need to do to get promoted. Deliver more results. Develop new skills. Gain more support.

But, instead of focusing on what you need to do to get promoted, I believe a better place to start is with what you need to believe to advance your career.

Have you ever stopped to think about your beliefs about work?

If not, I hope this article convinces you why it’s important to consider what you believe to be true about work. Because work beliefs can work both for and against you.

Work beliefs can work for and against you

Do you believe well done is better than well said? That you learn more from failure than success? Or, that life beings at the end of your comfort zone?

Often beliefs like these can be a source of ingenuity and resilience. They certainly served me well in my career, helping me bounce back from work setbacks and push past fears to develop new skills.

But sometimes our beliefs about work can limit our choices and block us from doing what’s needed to reach our goals—like getting promoted.

Work beliefs drive our behaviors

Work beliefs are what you consider to be important and true in your career. They reflect your personal values and performance standards and have the power to help or hinder your ability to get promoted.

What we believe about work drives our behavior. Beliefs form the basis of our assumptions and expectations about work. We likely don’t realize it in the moment, but our beliefs are busy working behind the scenes directing our thoughts, decisions, and behaviors.

Altering beliefs can help to advance your career

It’s important we have beliefs that support our aspirations for career advancement. And if they don’t, we need to reconsider them. Or expand our belief system with additional convictions.

For example…

I believe hard work and results should be recognized and rewarded. But I’ve also learned this belief isn’t always enough to get ahead. Therefore, I also believe it’s my responsibility to make it easier for others to see my potential and promotability.

Do you see the difference? My second belief opens the door to new ways to reach my goals.

Now, I understand this is easier said than done. Beliefs are often engrained in us at an early age and difficult to change. But they don’t have to be set in stone.

Altering or expanding career-limiting beliefs is one of the most important ways to accelerate growth and development. And it all starts with understanding your current belief system.

Are your work beliefs working for you?

I encourage you to take time to consider what you believe to be true about work. And then go a step further and think about how your beliefs shape your thoughts, drive your decisions, and impact your behaviors.

This is the second most important question you can ask to get ahead at work: 

Are your work beliefs working for you?

I bet you’ll find at least one or two beliefs that previously served you well but are now limiting your path to a promotion. Is it time to replace them with better beliefs? Or maybe just alter them slightly?

Once you recognize how your beliefs are helping or hindering your career goals, then you can choose to take action in a way that remains true to who you are. This often means adopting a new, more empowering belief to reach your goals.

Work belief examples

To help get you started with some examples, check out my top 10 beliefs about work below.

Keep in mind these beliefs represent where I’m at today. Just like my definition of career success has changed over the years, so too have my beliefs about work.

Corporate is a great place to start and grow your career

Especially if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. It can offer much more than you may think.

Career advice can be utter nonsense

Quick fixes won’t get you promoted. Cut through the clutter of tips and tricks to zone in on the abilities that matter most to get promoted.

Career coaching can make complete sense

It can guide you to think things out and have more aha moments on how to become more promotable.

Potential is meant to be realized

You need to be a lifelong learner who’s willing to discover and develop yourself.

Personal accountability is essential

Find a way forward, even when it feels like you’re up against a brick wall. Take responsibility to make it easier for others to see your potential.

Hard work and results aren't enough to advance

But it’s what you do with this knowledge that matters most.

Getting Passed Over is a Right of Passage

It’s a time to reset and respond with action. Your company sent you a message: you’re not ready yet. What are you going to do about it?

Focus on the right thing at the right time

Success in career advancement often comes down to focusing on the right thing at the right time in your career journey.

Career Karma is Real

You get what you give at work. It’s never on the timeline you want, but eventually it always comes back around.

Get Uncomfortable

It’s good for you, and essential to get promoted.

What do you think?


Do any of my career beliefs resonate with you? I would love to hear what you believe to be true about work – and how that belief has helped or hindered your career journey. Pls share your comments below!



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