Life & Work Skills

6 Attitudes That Are Holding You Back at Work


There’s a lot to be said for having confidence in the workplace. But, let’s face it—that self-assuredness isn’t always so easy to come by in a professional setting.

Unfortunately, that little voice in the back of our heads likes to spew some pretty negative and limiting beliefs about ourselves. And, whether we realize it or not, these seemingly subconscious attitudes can actually prevent us from reaching our full potential in our careers.

So, what’s the first step in silencing—or at least cranking down the volume on—that pesky little voice? Well, recognizing the lies she’s telling you is the best place to start. Here are six attitudes that could be holding you back in the office.


1. “I can’t do this.”

You knew this one would appear somewhere, so we might as well cover it first. In your professional life there will be plenty of new tasks and challenges that will force you to step outside your comfort zone. And, it’s totally natural to doubt yourself a little bit when you’re attempting to tackle something that’s totally foreign to you. However, it’s important you push through and don’t give into that self-defeating attitude. You need to gather your courage and give it a try anyway—because you don’t want your own negative (and probably false) mindset to be what prevents you from trying new things.

Need some reassurance before you take that leap? Ask yourself what’s the worst that could possibly happen. Chances are, it’s nothing nearly as bad as you think in your moments of overwhelming doubt.


Don’t let your negative mindset be what prevents you from trying new things.


2. “Everybody here is better than me.”

Maybe you’re the newbie in the office. Perhaps you’re the youngest employee at your company. Or, maybe you feel far too green and inexperienced to be starting your own business. Regardless of your specific circumstances, there’s ultimately no point in obsessing over everybody else’s experience and talents—or your perceived lack of your own.

You’re in your position for a reason. You have a special set of skills and bring significant value to the table. So, don’t fall into the trap of constantly matching yourself up against others. Ultimately, that comparison game won’t get you anywhere that you want to be.


3. “This is how I’ve always done this.”

It’s been said that these are some of the most dangerous words in business—and for good reason. While there’s quite a bit of good that can come from having a reliable routine, you don’t want to be so stuck in your ways that you’re never willing to make any adjustments. Perhaps you need to change your approach to a monthly project now that your company switched software. Or, maybe you need to move a standard meeting time to better accommodate everybody’s schedule.

This is real life, and things come up. You can’t be so set in your rigid habits that you have no flexibility to make tweaks when they’re necessary. Your work life is flexible, so your approach occasionally needs to be as well.


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4. “I don’t matter.”

When you’re a part of a team, that’s part of a bigger department, that’s part of the overall company, it becomes all too easy to miss the forest for the trees. You only see your portion of work, and have little to no understanding of how it contributes to the bigger picture. That sort of attitude can quickly make you feel insignificant and cause all of the hard work you’re cranking out to seem totally pointless. You never really get to see the impact you’re making.

It’s important to remember that every single employee is a piece of a larger puzzle. And, no matter what that little voice in your head would have you believe, your work is valued and important, and you’re definitely making a difference.


Your work is valued and important, and you’re definitely making a difference.


5. “I don’t want to fail.”

Let’s be honest—nobody enjoys failure. No matter what, it stings. But, if you let your fear of failure or rejection keep you from ever stretching and challenging yourself? Well, that’s a surefire way to keep yourself stuck in the safe little box that comes along with a career rut.

Honestly, failure will never be exciting or something that you look forward to. However, even if you do end up missing the mark, you can rest easy with the knowledge that at least you put yourself out there and took a shot. Ultimately, that’s much better than never trying.


6. “I hate this.”

I’m all for dreaming big. And if that means you’re planning on eventually bidding adieu to your current job and trying something else, more power to you. You’re working toward a goal, and that’s great.

With that being said, it’s important that you keep your attitude in check in the meantime. If your thoughts are constantly consumed by how much you hate your job, your co-workers, or your entire industry, you’re never going to be able to be your best self in the office.

Plus, your reputation is one of the most important things you have. So, fostering a personality as your company’s resident sourpuss will only hurt you in the end. By all means, look forward to bigger and better things to come! But, that is not synonymous with just biding your time and complaining about where you are now.


We all experience a certain amount of self-doubt—especially when it comes to our careers. However, the important thing to remember is to keep those limiting beliefs in check and recognize when they’re getting in your own way. Stay consciously aware of these six common negative attitudes, and you’re sure to take steps in the right direction.