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These Mindsets Are Keeping You Stunted In The Workplace

Workin' Girl

When it comes to success, sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. And nowhere does this ring truer than in the workplace.


With factors like impostor syndrome and self-doubt coming into play, it's easy to feel insecure about our roles in the companies we work for. As a result, we sometimes choose stagnation and making ourselves small as a means to feel safe and secure; not realizing that growth is right outside our comfort zones.

What we believe becomes our realities, and while you're busy allowing yourself to be led by limiting beliefs, your growth and your career will remain squarely in neutral. Subconsciously limiting your potential hinders your progress. Your boss's recognition? Your promotion? They are on the other side of a toxic mindset. Here are a few mindsets keeping you stunted in the workplace and affirming mindsets to replace them with.

“But I'm doing this already.”

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I can't tell you how many times I've rolled my eyes in the past because a manager's sense of urgency somehow became my emergency. The kicker would be that I felt like it was an urgent task that gave me deja vu vibes. In one way or another, the document that he/she asked for, the assignment that needed doing, or the report that needed filing was something I had done a week or so ago and I was too prideful to oblige. It'd get done, but with a whole lot of neck-rolling, teeth smacking, and side-eyeing and under-the-breath vent sessions -- on the low, of course.

Energy is everything and even though things would get done in the end, how I went about it was negative AF. So it'd be a wonder when that energy would return to me tenfold. Whether it be the rightfully passive aggressive nature of my then-employer, being overlooked for an opportunity or an unexpected layoff during a company merger. Suffice to say, the lesson is that having a can-do attitude (even when tasks feel redundant) is the difference between securing the next-level bag and staying at a plateau.

Replace it with: "I'm ready, competent and fully capable. I'll get on that right away."

“Well, this is how I usually/always do things.”

Playing it safe is the most slept-on way to stunt your growth. Be it your personal life or your work life, relying too heavily on old ways instead of rising to the occasion of taking on new challenges is counterproductive. Maybe you have to take on a new task that wasn't initially in your job description. Maybe your boss wants you to switch up the way you tackle filing or reports. Maybe she/he wants you to approach your cold calls in a seemingly new and improved way.

You could protest that it's not the way you've typically done things. You could even say that the way you've been doing things has worked so well, so why change them now? But, you would be wrong. What you might not even realize is that your negative mindset is working against you. You know what they say, the devil's in the details and if you want to succeed in life and in your career, view change as an opportunity to adapt and level up instead of as a hindrance.

Replace it with: "I welcome the growth potential of a new challenge."

“I don’t deserve to be here.”

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Sometimes it's not even a matter of feeling above doing day-to-day operational tasks, and instead is all about feeling inadequate in your position overall. A lot of us in the workplace channel this through minimizing ourselves within our performance, not speaking up during meetings, feeling an impending sense of doom that people will realize you don't know what the fuck you're doing.

You're there but you're not there and instead of owning the fact that you've rightfully aced your interview, got the job, and/or earned the promotion, you're left feeling like it's all a facade and you're a fraud. The latter is commonly known as impostor syndrome, something that an estimated 70 percent of Americans have reported experiencing.

In a 2018 interview with NBC News, psychologist Dr. Renee Carr attributed the phenomenon to individuals feeling "psychologically uncomfortable with acknowledging their role in their success" and that the discomfort is rooted in "pressures — from self or others — to achieve great success."

Minimizing yourself and diminishing your accomplishments to feelings of luck versus achievement is all too common in the workplace. Instead of asking "why me?" to your blessings, ask the Universe, "why not me?" Do your best to stop negative self-talk in their tracks and substitute feelings of undeservedness with worthiness.

Replace it with: "I am worthy and have earned my place here."

“I can’t.”

Lowkey, this goes hand-in-hand with the previous negative mindset. You can't? Why can't you? Oftentimes, when change comes up in our lives, the default response is to resist versus submit. And resistance doesn't just look like saying "no", most of the time resistance rears its ugly head in the form of self-defeat. You're assigned a new caseload or a new project and you doubt yourself from the jump by saying to yourself you can't because new challenges mean potentially leaving the secure space you've created in your comfort zone.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed because of tasks I haven't yet checked off my to-do list coupled by emails that seem to want my attention ASAP and then topped off by my boss needing me to put a last minute rundown of our analytics together, I want to succumb to "I can't" and throw in the towel. But I remember that I am a boss by playing my favorite track from The Carters', "NICE". The hook "I can do anything" is the ultimate mood and just the mantra needed to remind you of the fact that you're only as limited as your fear.

Replace it with: "I can do anything I put my mind to."

So, what do you say? Ready to kick some ass and take names by adopting these new mindsets?

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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