How to Overcome the Assumptions That Are Hurting Your Career

Businessman facing obstacle

You remember the old adage: “When you Assume, you make an Ass out of U and Me!” Nothing could be truer, especially when it comes to planning your future. But although we know (in theory) that assumptions are dangerous, we don’t always recognize when we’re assuming.

Too many people today are working from a place of fear instead of fun, and from a place of apprehension instead of action, because they assume they know what will happen if they make a change.

“If I leave my job, I’ll never find another one.” “If I start my own business in this economy, I’ll crash and burn in a year.” These aren’t facts: they’re assumptions. And we all know what happens when you assume.

Assumptions keep you stuck in apprehension, and “apprehension” is just a pretty word for fear—a way to dress the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  When our minds are constantly spitting out reasons why we can’t do this or that, we start to feel trapped, like a cat up a tree. Our “fight or flight” response is triggered, and our bodies react accordingly. For some, the constant stress of “I can’t” manifests as physical illness; for others, depression or anxiety. I’ve personally experienced this as an ever-present pit in my stomach, a black hole of trepidation that sucked all my energy down into it, until I could barely get out of bed in the morning.

If this sounds like you, please know that you’re not alone, nor do you have to go through it alone. You can do something about it. Of course, any physical or emotional symptoms should be treated by the appropriate medical professional—but if you’re pretty sure that “cat up a tree” feeling is what’s bringing you down, action on your own behalf is the only cure.

One of my clients, who owns her own business, recently called me in a panic because she was afraid she wouldn’t have any work over the winter. Yes, her business is what you might call “seasonal”—but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to be pursued. When I suggested some of these avenues to her, she balked. Her fear had its claws dug in so deeply that she didn’t realize there were any solutions to her problem. Her assumptions had taken control.

Think of your beautiful friend from high school, the one who always insisted she was ugly. No matter how many people told her it wasn’t true, she was terrified that it was. So she continued to operate from her (obviously incorrect) assumptions, and stayed miserable when she could have been happy.

When you’re deeply involved with your assumptions, it’s almost like joining a cult. Suddenly, there is no room for outside opinions, suggestions, or influences. You know what’s what, and you don’t want to hear anything else. If you’re stuck in that place, try to crack the door a few inches. Allow for the possibility that your assumptions might not be correct. Do your research. Talk to people who’ve been there.  Make your decisions based on the facts, instead of letting fear step in and run the show.


Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit today or for more information email me.

As a certified professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader, Dawn helps sales, marketing, advertising and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their career so they’ll love their life!

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