Are you clearing hurdles you set for yourself?

Today is March 5 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “are you clearing hurdles you set for yourself?” In today's chaotic global marketplace it is imperative to remember that professional development is directly linked to personal growth. If you want to grow as a professional you will have to grow as a person. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than with one's career.

All too often people want to grow professionally but fail to achieve the personal growth required to move onto the next position. Stressing the relationship between personal growth and professional success, Robert S. Kaplan, Emeritus Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School, observed that “fulfillment doesn’t come from clearing hurdles others set for you; it comes from clearing those you set for yourself.” Instead of allowing others to set hurdles for themselves, Kaplan understood that those who reached their potential set their own goals.

Throughout his career, Kaplan realized that ambitious professionals spend a substantial amount of time thinking about strategies that will help them achieve greater levels of success. By striving for a more impressive job title, higher compensation, or increased responsibility, ambitious professionals often allow their definition of success to be influenced by family, friends, and colleagues.

Despite their achievements and high level of success, Kaplan found that many ambitious professionals lacked a true sense of professional satisfaction and fulfillment. Kaplan wrote that he met a large number of “impressive executives who expressed deep frustration with their careers. They looked back and felt that they should have achieved more or even wished that they had chosen a different career altogether.”

Michelangelo noted "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." How often do you spend thinking about the hurdles you set for yourself? If you are not setting hurdles high enough, why do you think that is?