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Top 3 Reasons You May Be Blocking Your Next Opportunity

Posted By Henry R Montoya, ALPFA Chicago Chapter, Friday, January 15, 2016
Updated: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Although the idea of a New Year offers all of us an extra incentive to pursue long overdue goals or reach for new ones, it takes more than a change in a calendar year to reach them. If you are like many, you’ve probably started January with great momentum! But what happens when your excitement fades in February?

It’s a topic that affects us all, and ALPFA Chicago is committed to exploring fresh ways to keep you engaged so you can stay true to your course. We start this article off by introducing a list of limiting mindsets and behaviors that we should all pay attention to if we aspire to achieve the next level of success in 2016. 

And it doesn’t stop there. We solicited the advice and opinion of a well-known Chicago leader and ALPFA supporter, César A. Lostaunau, Strategy and Operations Manager of Allstate Insurance Company.


Let’s take a look at some potential road blocks that may prevent us from seeing the miles of opportunity that surrounds us all. 

1. You tell Yourself "No" More, than "Yes". 

You see an important networking event that sparks your interest but instead you rationalize why you can’t go. You attend a round table meeting with your corporate leaders but you don’t speak up to get noticed. You meet a potential mentor who's credentials you admire, but never follow up again in fear of what to say or how to reach out. If any of these scenarios sound remotely familiar, only one word is holding you back "No". But what happens if you start telling yourself YES?

César shares, “I never realized the importance of networking until I started attending conferences where I heard speakers talk about its benefits. I was very shy early in my career so it was not easy for me to approach strangers, and I didn’t really know what to talk about. I grew my confidence after a conference panelist recommended reading a book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. After reading that book and watching others network at conferences so flawlessly, I grew my confidence. Chris Mathews said it best, “It’s not what you know, or even who you know. It’s who you get to know.” That’s the lesson I wish I knew earlier in my career. " 

2. Daily Routines have Narrowed your Vision

You are a master at your daily routine. You know precisely the minute that you must walk out of your house to avoid a traffic pile up on the Kennedy. You’ve even figured out what time you have to place your mobile Starbucks order so you can skip the line just a few doors down from your job. As healthy as routines are in the role of creating a certain level of predictability in our lives, so too can they have an opposite effect. Routines can often create havens to avoid embracing something new. These driving behaviors can sometimes limit the vantage point in which we see the world, ourselves and our next opportunity, big or small. 

César recounts how his life may have been different had he overcome fear of the unknown, “I never pushed myself to get an internship during college, and as a result never did.” 

If the thought of changing your routine (e.g., waking up earlier to exercise, taking an online course on the weekends to stay current in your industry, or meeting someone new) seems daunting or scary, it may be time to change it up just a bit. 
And be sure to take César’s advice, “It does not really take a lot of money to network nowadays.  With LinkedIn, there is no excuse to network with no transportation, finances, professional clothing, etc.”

3. You Avoid the Pain of Past Disappointment 

Maybe you tried really hard to get that promotion but instead your co-worker got it. Perhaps, you thought you would pass the test with flying colors, only to realize you have to retake it. Maybe you had a really embarrassing moment at a networking event and promised yourself you would never attend another one. I once read a great quote by an unknown author and it always stood with me, “Once we learn the lesson that pain is teaching us, the pain goes away. 

César recalls, During my early career, my self-confidence led me to believe I could get any job anywhere.  Reality set in after many rejections. It’s certainly made me more humble.” 

Yet, despite the rejection Cesar experienced then, he has now been able to build an influential reputation as the Employee Resource Group leader at Allstate “I have the chance to participate in meetings with senior executives. Many of these leaders did not know me personally. With my personal visibility strategy plan in place, I have a larger and more powerful network at Allstate that brings tremendous value to me.

Last Thoughts

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to identify potential road blocks to your success, and learn tactics to counter them, ALPFA Chicago leaders would like to extend an immediate opportunity to exercise what you’ve learned. 

Say “YES” to your next opportunity. Click HERE to register for our first event of the year:

Executive Coaching – Unlocking Your Potential
7:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
February 3, 2016
BMO Harris

115 S LaSalle St 
Chicago, Illinois
Register Here

 Contributed by
   Linda E. Alberty, ALPFA Chicago Member and President of Cultivate Excellence Consulting
   César A. Lostaunau, Strategy and Operations Manager of Allstate Insurance Company.


Tags:  Coaching  Executive  Leadership  Mentors  Motivation 

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Ben Rodriguez says...
Posted Friday, January 15, 2016
Great Article and call to action. I'm looking forward to the event.
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