Stop Presuming if You Want to Get Anywhere

I have two big ‘pet peeves’:  one is people who negate what they want by using the word “but”, and the other is when people don’t go after what they by ‘presuming’ they already know the outcome.  Either one can set me off as that person has  essentially stripped themselves of having what they want most.  One area I hear this from is in the area of careers and job hunting.

As I help people who are in a career transition, I hear daily from job changers who feel frustrated and anxious that they are having difficulty in finding a new job, or moving up the corporate ladder.  As we rewind, so to speak, to see what hasn’t worked for them, it becomes apparent that they usually haven’t even tried.  Answers like, “That company doesn’t have any openings,” or “There are too many others looking for job so I don’t think they’d consider me,” are actually presumptions that are made and can occur for a variety of reasons.

Presumptions are facts that one accepts as truth but may not have the hard facts to back them up; they are preconceived thoughts. We may think something is true, typically based upon what someone else has told us.  Somehow it is easier to accept these truths rather than research on own to see if they are true.  If we believed even half of what we hear we would never do anything!

Stopping this pattern is essential if you are in a career transition; you could be missing out on your dream job or from moving up within your organization, thus leaving you stuck in what you want to get out of.  Here are 3 steps you can take to stop presuming before you act:

1. Be aware – pay close attention to statements you make, or even thoughts you have, where you use a justification for not going after your goal.  Do you truly know that you won’t be considered for that promotion?  Are you so sure that you’re too old, young, unqualified, etc. to be considered for that job? Ask friends or family to point out presumptions you are making to give more awareness to them

2. Research – the best way to stop a presumption is to have the facts.  Taking time to develop a good job search strategy, paying attention to the labor trends in your area, and then doing your own fact-finding to see what organizations are hiring or what their needs are will help you to challenge any opposing views that may develop

3. Challenge – a great exercise to use is to talk back to yourself when you have a presumption (you might want to be alone if you do so out loud).  Write out your presuming thought and then ask it is absolutely true and what facts do you have to base it on?  This is a great way to help you to see that, unless you directly talked to your company or you went out and talked to hiring managers, you could not know if your thoughts are true.

Stopping any preconceived thoughts will help you to see more of the possibilities and free you to go after your wants and desires.  Repeating these steps will become the pattern and you will, ultimately, achieve more and more confidently.

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