Advice, Software Engineer

Six Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back From Getting Promoted and How You Can Conquer Them

You really wanted that promotion to become a senior engineer, architect, or member of the technical staff, but for some reason, you were overlooked yet again. Of course, you’re disappointed, but you’re also somewhat relieved. “Oh well, I am probably not ready yet,” you thought to yourself.

If this sounds like you, then there is one thing that’s holding you back. It is not your skill, ability, or performance. It’s your limiting beliefs. That’s right: You are holding yourself back from getting promoted due to your own limiting beliefs. What are limiting beliefs? They are the assumptions we have that restrict us from achieving our goals and potential. These beliefs are not based on facts, yet they are very powerful in holding us back from getting what we want.

In this case, these limiting beliefs inhibit your progress to promotion.

1. It’s Not Up to Me and, Therefore, It’s Not Worth My Effort

It is true that your promotion will be decided by people other than yourself. Usually, it is your direct manager and the manager of your manager. However, while you are not the decision-maker, you have the power to influence that decision. This is because the two important factors contributing to the decision are your performance and behavior — both of which you can completely control.

Replace this limiting belief with: “I care about my performance and behavior, and therefore, I put effort into my work and how I behave.”

2. I Can’t Possibly Take on More Work

You might be thinking that when you’re promoted, you will be expected to work more. But unless you’re being promoted from a developer to a CEO, you won’t be working 16-hour days all of a sudden. Yes, you will be expanding your scope and responsibilities as you get to the next level in your career, but you won’t be feeling like you’re taking on a lot more work because — guess what — you’ve probably already been performing at the next level. That inner voice telling you that you don’t have the capacity for more work is just your limiting belief.

Replace this limiting belief with: “I am an efficient and capable person and I always deliver on my promises.”

3. The People Who Got Promoted Are More Intelligent/Charismatic/Technical/Hardworking Than Me

There is a tiny voice inside you that says you’re not enough. You’re not worth it. It’s too late for you. Or it’s too early for you. That you are too young/junior/outspoken/introverted/shy to be promoted. That those who were promoted are more intelligent/charismatic/technical/hardworking or any other reason that you can make up. This is what you’re thinking: That person who got promoted recently has amazing technical skills and is such a great team player who was always helping others. How about you? You, on the other hand, are just an average Joe or Jane. You’re not special, so no wonder you’re not getting a promotion.

Did you know that you don’t need to be special to be promoted? You just need to perform really well in your role, contribute to the organization’s success, and display good behavior.

Replace this limiting belief with: “I deserve to be promoted because I have made an impactful contribution to the organization.”

4. I Don’t Want a Promotion Because I Am Not a Greedy Person

You associate wanting anything in life with being greedy, whether it’s a promotion, money, or even relationships. Maybe you have even had some bad experiences with those who are selfish and greedy, and some of those folks happen to have the position that you’re aiming for.

Being selfish or greedy has nothing to do with one’s role. Chances are, they have always been selfish or greedy. Besides, you’re your own person, and just because someone is selfish or greedy doesn’t mean you will be too.

Replace this limiting belief with: “Being promoted to the next level will enable me to add more value to the organization.”

5. Getting a Promotion Isn’t That Important — It’s Just a Promotion

This limiting belief about getting a promotion suggests that you don’t value your work and your abilities. Getting a promotion means that you’re performing above and beyond your role and responsibilities. By not taking a promotion seriously, you are also undermining the work you do — and that is the reason why you haven’t gotten recognized for your work. It’s like a catch-22.

Replace this limiting belief with: “Getting a promotion means I am being recognized for my work, and it’s important to me because I strive for excellence.”

6. I Am Going to Fail When I Get Promoted Because I Don’t Know How to Do Everything That the Next Level Requires

This limiting belief is very common and also quite relatable for high achievers and women. Funnily enough, I belong to both categories. The underlying reason for this limiting belief is a fixed mindset. Having a fixed mindset means you think a person’s qualities and attributes are fixed and cannot be changed or developed.

But we all know for a fact that nobody was born with all the skills and knowledge that they would need in their life. Similarly, while you don’t know everything that the next level requires, you can learn and develop the necessary skills and attributes.

Replace this limiting belief with: “My ability to learn and grow is limitless.”

Conquer Your Limiting Beliefs

While promotions are not the only way you can be recognized for great work and it’s not healthy to feel bitter about not getting a promotion, you should also not think that they are out of reach for you.
You can achieve anything in life, and getting a promotion is no different. But you first have to address your limiting beliefs and conquer them. Don’t be your own worst enemy in achieving your goals.
As famous American entrepreneur Henry Ford once said:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”