What's your professional reality? The key to navigating challenges is to see them as they really are.

Author:Awuku-Tatum, Michelle

IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR EXECUTIVES to find themselves struggling to accept their circumstances. Some of the best leaders have had moments in their career when a reality check was needed for growth and advancement.

Avoidance or denial by choosing to focus on what they believe the reality should be-- and therefore essentially failing to address predicaments effectively--can ultimately derail an executive's career and the perception of his or her ability to lead.

For example, someone who is getting passed over at work may believe that they are better positioned to advance than they actually are. They may share false insights such as, "I am considered high potential. Surely, they must know that I am more qualified for a promotion."

Stress testing such assumptions will help you move forward. When you're stuck, ask yourself, what is your actual-- not perceived--reality? What challenges are you, your team, product, or company facing? Once you have answered these questions, you can get a grip on the core of the challenge and how to overcome it.

Take these steps to enhance your performance:

Jot down your assumptions about the current situation or predicament. Also reflect on the following questions: What do I know/believe about the role I play in this predicament...

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