3 Ways to Control Your ‘Locus of Control’ to Meet Your Career Goals
Whether or not you’re in control of your ‘locus of control’ can mean a lot when it comes to achieving your career goals and achieving life satisfaction in general.
What is ‘locus of control’? It is a personality theory originally developed by Rotter (1954) which states that a person’s place or locus, mental notion, or perception of control is either ‘located’ outside their control or inside their control. The terms external locus of control and internal locus of control were coined to denote these meanings.
Do you feel as though you are in control of your life and your career goals? In other words, do you feel that you can influence the results and outcomes of your life? Are you able to manifest those things in your career and lifestyle that are important to you?
If a person with an external locus of control fails to receive a promotion at work and they blame it on their insensitive boss or too stiff of competition, then they are unlikely to perceive themselves as having a sense of agency and personal power to act on and to control their environment. As a result, their efforts are minimal and their actions to steer their career strategically and proactively are limited.
Likewise, if this same person has an internal locus of control they are unlikely to make such excuses for themselves, and instead they will take 100% responsibility for their situation by strategically problem-solving ways in which they can increase their chances for a promotion in the future, either at their current company or elsewhere.
Do you think you have an internal or external locus of control when it comes to your own life and your career goals?
Just remember, for every single circumstance that you cannot control, there are at least 100 or even an infinite number of other circumstances that you can control.
While there will be events that occur in our lives that set us back in our careers or lives in general, we can still make choices to control our attitudes, choices, actions and so forth. So, instead of focusing on the things that stand in between you and your career goals, decide today that you will focus on your own personal sense of agency, and that you will take action in areas that you can easily move forward with.
Here are three ways to take control of your ‘locus of control’ and to adopt an internal locus of control.
1. Have a vision, purpose and meaning to your life. This means setting goals and intentions for what you want in your life, and creating your own motivation to ensure that you can follow through with your dreams regardless of what barriers you run into. Try my goal setting and motivation program by clicking here.
2. While you might not be able to control a particular situation or circumstance in its entirety, what small pieces might you be able to influence? Dr. Nick Hall in his program called Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life, suggests that taking some little small action is better than none at all, even if your efforts result in no concrete or visible change.
Pull out a sheet and paper, and brainstorm 10 different ways that you can exert some form of influence or control over your environment or situation, today. What haven’t you tried yet? What might work even if you believe it won’t work? What paths are open for you to run forward in? In what areas are you not being held back from achieving your career goals? Can you take a small step there?
3. Talk to someone who can encourage you and help you adopt a new perspective. Whether it’s a friend, family member, counsellor, coach or consultant, you might need someone who can challenge your belief or way of viewing your situation.
Sometimes by adjusting the lenses through which we perceive our lack of control we can find new meanings and new ways of acting on our career path, which in turn can help us build some momentum. Read more about how to overcome your limiting beliefs here.