What's The #1 Thing That Holds Professionals Back & How Can They Fix It?

Young professional finds career success

As a professional, you might not know just how much potential you have in your career. There are many factors that can impact your career success, but one of the most significant ones is underestimating our own skills and abilities.

What's holding us back from achieving success in our careers? And how can we fix it?

Here's some advice from executives who've learned what it takes to succeed at a high level.

​Amy Hinderer, Business Management & Operations Executive

Woman works on her career to find success


One's belief system is the key to whether professionals will succeed or lag behind their peers. But wait, what is a belief? A belief is a feeling of certainty or conviction about what something means. One's belief system has been unconsciously formed based on their interactions and associations experienced, whether it was in childhood, education, relationships, or at work. These experiences are etched into one's mind and often a challenge to change because it anchored the feeling of a pleasure or a pain it caused.

So I ask, are your beliefs holding you back? Odds are the answer is yes. Let's dive in and show some common examples of limiting beliefs that may resonate with you and how you can change them.

Belief: I do not have the skills or talent required. – Life requires humans to continue learning and progress. Taking risks and getting outside one's comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable. Take a moment now and map out the areas you want to improve. Establish and commit to your goals, measure the results, and modify as needed. Remember this, you will never know what you are truly capable of unless you try.

Belief: I can do this on my own. – How many of you know someone who is so certain they are the only ones that can perform the work required? Leaders often hold onto too much. It's hard for them to let it go. This is an opportune time for the person to challenge their belief system. They can choose to view the delegation as a way of providing another individual with a developmental opportunity and perhaps even become a mentor in the process.

Belief: Successful people are simply just lucky. – Successful people do share some common traits, but it certainly is not luck. It is about being persistent, committed, resilient, and passionate. Think about Stephen King, Vera Wang, J.K. Rowling, or Colonel Sanders. These individuals could have quit when things got bad, yet they continued and persevered to become legends in their fields. We have the power to shift our beliefs to ones that empower us to be our best.

Belief: I have to wait for the right time. – We can always give ourselves the excuse, "It's not the right time," to jump into whatever it is that we want to do. Do not let the fear of failure keep you on the sidelines. If you never start, you will never succeed.

As Tony Robbins has said, "The only thing that keeps you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself."

Amy Hinderer is a business management & operations executive with 18+ years of experience in global enterprise and start-up businesses. She has managed teams ranging in size from 10 up through ~35K supporting revenues between $2M - $9B.

​Dr. Jan Urbahn, Automotive & Shared Mobility Executive

Young professionals looking to be successful in their careers


My observation is that the leading cause for professionals not moving forward with their career is the discontinuation of learning. Two major trends have been developing over the past 20-30 years: We have moved to a society dominated by information, and innovation cycles keep accelerating. It is estimated that the entire amount of innovation of the 20th century was packed into the first 20 years of the 21st century, and the next innovation cycle might be even faster. In order to move forward in an accelerating environment, continued learning is highly important. These following strategies might help you learn new things.

Take an Online Course

There are plenty of online courses available covering any possible professional topic. I've made good experience with and, and there are plenty of other platforms available with many free courses. In addition, many universities are offering some of their courses for free online. Furthermore, websites like offer great daily challenges to keep the mind moving.

Culture Scan

Do a regular culture scan, at least once every three months. For example, I like to go to a bookstore which has a wide variety of print magazines. Take 15 minutes to scan the shelves. Reading the headlines on the covers will give you a good overview of current trends and developments in your field of work and in the broader economy. If you can't find a physical bookstore nearby, websites from Barnes & Noble and have a selection of current magazines to browse through.

Read Something Unfamiliar

Consider reading something about a topic that is completely outside of your area of expertise. You may purchase a magazine you have never read before or consider going to your local library and getting a book about something new. Reading about unfamiliar topics will cause your brain to create new synapses, which eventually will bring you to new insights and ideas. For example, I remember buying a magazine about knitting, which is not an activity I have ever engaged in. The magazine was full of fascinating patterns to knit, encoded in a specific language. The coding format triggered new ideas I could later implement in a project.

Dr. Jan Urbahn is an automotive executive with 20+ years of experience in product development, safety engineering, and operations in automotive and shared mobility business. He helped launch 3 new businesses with up to 1,500 shared cars in fleet size. His most recent leadership position is within the shared mobility space, where he helped develop a new EV battery and guided the coronavirus response.

We hope this advice helps you realize your potential. Stop holding yourself back in your career! You're more capable than you think you are.

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