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We all face obstacles in our jobs and careers. Some of those obstacles can be paralyzing. They lock some of us into a lifetime of frustration, lack of satisfaction, or just plain misery.

Think about the last time you felt frustrated by your job. What was that obstacle that most prevented you from moving forward?

There is little doubt that the most overlooked answer to that question may also be the toughest to challenge for most of us.

That answer is “ourselves.”

Yep. Although somewhere in our collective psyche we American workers have excused ourselves by believing that fellow employees, supervisors, or company policies are to blame, we would be better served by asking ourselves how we could better handle the obstacles that inevitably arise.

Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for the next stumbling block you may encounter.

Trust your instincts.

Most of our early learning is geared around absorbing how others have accomplished major and minor triumphs. But there comes a time when you realize no one taught you the solution to a problem and that you have the freedom to create your own solution. This can be a watershed moment if you believe in yourself. If you don’t, you’re simply depending on someone else to show you the way.

Be brave enough to tackle any challenge.

Turning your back on a challenge that will haunt you over and over. Do it too many times and you’ll fine your career flat-lined. No amount of schooling or training prepares you for everything you may face. The real value of education is to use it to figure out what you don’t know and then where to get the resources you need to meet the challenge.

Ask for help if you need it.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing something, or how successful you have been. Sooner or later, you’re going to run up against an obstacle that seems overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance. Nearly everyone has a colleague, a family member or a mentor that can prove invaluable. The most important thing to remember is that others are flattered when you seek out their guidance or advice. They will want to help and it makes you look smarter just for having asked.

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.

You’ve probably heard that a thousand times, and it may seem like a trite platitude. Yet, the reason you have heard it so often is that it makes perfect sense. The longer you are in a particular job or career, you know that making mistakes seems like the one thing you don’t want to do. Smart employers realize that every one of their best employees have made mistakes and they see the value of that. Just remember that when you solve a problem, everyone will remember the solution and not the mistakes you made on that path.

Be candid with those around you at work.

When you don’t know something, don’t hide that. Be open. You’d be surprised how a simple act like that wins respect, fans and followers.

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