Reframing Career Myths that Shape us or hold us hostage ~ Myth #1 – there is one best suited career for you, don’t deviate from it

Career Myths Busting session - 05 January 2019
05 Jan 2019 – Tessa’s Story – career coaching session to identify multiple career paths and reframe career limiting beliefs


One of the biggest challenges my coachees and I come up against in achieving career goals, or even life wellbeing goals, it’s the self-limiting beliefs or “messages in their head” that they have, which are also the lenses, scripts or templates for decision-making and acting that they carry and use. The type of coaching I therefore have had to practice is deep transformational coaching, where I accompany the coachees and equip them with self-coaching tools and resources to deal with the underlying or invisible causes of their limitations as part of enabling them to thrive and move forward with strength and positive beliefs about their capability to achieve their career or life goals. One such myth or false belief that many either hold onto or are held hostage by is the myth that – there is one best suited career for you, and once on that path, don’t deviate from it, but keep advancing and building in that track up to the highest level. To support Clients with reframing this belief, we go on a journey of self-discovery that is linked to career decision-making. Below I offer you a Multiple Career Pathways Identification Self-Coaching Guide that you could adopt and adapt.

🌟Multiple Career Pathways Identification Self-Coaching Guide –

  1. Define your life purpose – what you see as the reason you exist and your contribution to others, society, your organisation etc and align your career decisions and actions to this
  2. Identify your passion/s – what energises you and what you could probably do without being paid and still be super happy doing it
  3. Identify your inert abilities – your gifts, what you are able to do naturally, the things that come easiest to you. Combine this with the next step to see what you now have to offer an employer if going for paid employment or to offer to clients is starting your own business and being self-employed.
  4. Map your knowledge, skills and experiencewhat knowledge do you have from academic qualifications, work and life experiences and what skills are you strong in, of which you use a lot (both technical hard skills and soft skills).
  5. Map multiple career pathwaysusing the information above, identify as many career pathways that may be open to you. You many need to do some career research. Do not limit your thinking with lenses such as, “but I have never held a job like that before”. Your target is to identify at least 3 or more strong career pathways that reflect your knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences that you have, but also resonate with your life purpose and your passion.
  6. Assess and decide on optionsassess each pathway against the following three aspects that are critical in career decision-making. Who values my identified pathway e.g. great facilitator or experienced engineer? Who here should be: a sector or an industry; a specific organisation or company (even your current one); community and society at large. Here you are checking on the economic and social value of your career options. Who would be willing to pay for my identified pathway as a service e.g. great singer or experienced analyst? Here you are checking again on the economic value of your career options. How would I feel if I were to do this every day, even without pay? Here you are checking on self-satisfaction, motivation and self-actualisation value of your pathway. All these are critical for career success.
  7. Reflect on what you have learnt or realised at the end of your career self-coaching session, you should remain with at least 3 options open to you.

In so doing, hopefully this helps you to realise that you have always had multiple options, which you can take up now and reframe the myth/false belief that you can only or you are only able to pursue one career.

🔅🔅🔅Please note that there are various career assessment tools that you can use.

While there are of course varied contextual differences in the framing and experiencing of this career myth, I invite you to work through your own experience of this myth, if you need to, using the example of my coachee and my own experiences as a Zimbabwean.

🌟 Zimbabwean Experience of the Career Myth – there is one best suited career for you, don’t deviate from it

Many of my Zimbabwean coachees and I have bought deeply into this myth. It is tied to how we were raised and told what is a valued career path and what is not. Also how you should grow in a career path – the only way being up and not lateral or sideways into other branches or options to have multiple career pathways. The career myth is therefore deep-seated and produces equally deeply rooted feeling of inadequacy, not belonging, low self-esteem, limited self-worth, imposter syndrome, dissatisfaction etc, which have a huge influence on career decisions and actions. I believe, it is one career myth that has single-handedly limited the talent in my country. This is due to families who advise and push their children into mainstream career paths that they believe are high paying, prestigious, easy to get a job options such as lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc and discourage them any other alternative careers as first options such as artists, designers, beauticians, farming, helping professions like therapists etc. With the deep economic crisis this is of course changing, but it largely remains the firm belief of most parents and even the coachees I work with, that mainstream careers are better and more secure.

The other reason for this continued belief despite many examples to the contrary, is that socially, if you do not make it into the mainstream options, you are shamed and sometimes viewed as a failure, as not having met the mark. I personally experienced it with my first degree. I made it to the University of Zimbabwe, but to do a general Bachelor of Arts Degree. To some of my relatives, this meant my path until death was to be a School Teacher like my mother and nothing else. There are many stories of experiences like mine. This career myth is further reinforced by an education system that promotes and values mainstream subject choices in High School and University, which until now was also reflected in the patterns of employment opportunities. Added to this are the very limited to non-existent professional and well-developed career services, so many fumble in the dark and it is really hard for Zimbabweans generally to break out of this mould. What ends up happening is that many pursue a career path up to the highest level they can as a strategy for them to at some point, if they are brave and lucky, to pursue what they are passionate about, what is aligned to who they are and the inert abilities they have and what is also valued enough for them to make a living from it. Many invest lots of money, time and energy to see results, which sometimes do not bear fruit.

There are many people trying to address these challenges in various ways. This post shares how can we address it using career coaching and a self-coaching model. Below is an example of the work I did with Tessa (her chosen pseudonym), a coachee last month.

🌟 Tessa’s Career Transition Story – identifying multiple career paths and reframing limiting career beliefs

First week of this year, I started working with Tessa whose life story, which reflects all the above Zimbabwe-specific issues, had led her to become a Teacher, and more recently she was conferred a doctoral degree in Education. According to Tessa, if she had received career advice, she would have chosen a different path at university early on, but she has had to make the best of the path she was on. Before coming to me, Tessa was convinced that after such a career journey, the pinnacle was to be a lecturer only, which she has been pursuing with laser focus. Her career challenge is that for a few years now she has been trying to get good academic jobs but is struggling to break into that space. Tessa sought out a career coach because she was wondering if there was anything else she could do to expand her career options.

The goal of the career coaching sessions we had was to help her identify multiple career paths, aligned to who she is and what she has and to reframe any beliefs she had that had locked her into believing only one career path was open to her, as well as any fear she had about trying anything else afresh. We focused on practically identifying multiple career pathways that were aligned to who she is – her life vision, purpose, values, passion, knowledge, skills and abilities. The mapping also considered what is valued in the sectors she would fit in and in society, as well as what she could be paid for, either as an employee or as a business owner, or a combination of both. We managed to identify 6 strong career pathways open to her. She still has a journey ahead of her, but we both wanted to share with you her positive experience, feedback and evidence that you can indeed find other career pathways and reframe self-limiting beliefs. Below is one of her passions, talent and possible career pathway…setting up a baking business.

The first image above the blog title (red chalkboard) is a visual of the process I took the coachee through during the career coaching session, which is your Multiple Career Pathways Identification Self-Coaching Guide above. KS in the chalkboard means – Knowledge and Skills.

The second image below (the yummy scones and text), is visual evidence and the feedback from the coachee sent two weeks after the career coaching session.

RESULTS OF Career Myths Busting session - two weeks later
20 Jan 2019 – feedback from coachee Tessa after exploring one career pathway (a baking business) in line with her passion and inert abilities. This was sent two weeks after the career coaching session.


I hope you found this post, the example and the offered Multiple Career Pathways Identification Self-Coaching Guide useful. There are many more career myths that we either hold onto or are held hostage by. They limit our ability to thrive. In the reference link given, there are 13 more for you to explore. Reference:

If you need help with either exploring these specifically for your reality, and/or working through them and reframing them so that you move forward in your career goals, do not hesitate to contact me for career or life coaching using:

You are the owner of your potential,

You have the power to unlock it,

You can unleash it and thrive in your career and life.

Let’s shake things up together in 2019!


@EnnieChipembere (Twitter)

Career and Life Coach🔥


3 thoughts on “Reframing Career Myths that Shape us or hold us hostage ~ Myth #1 – there is one best suited career for you, don’t deviate from it

  1. We spend our time.. correction … we waste our lives trying to be what we think others want us to be. I like it when you say do things that come naturally to you. #ThatIsGood.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very liberating tool for versatile young people who are talented and gifted in many areas and would like to explore both of them but are constantly confined and restricted by the myth that a person should just be One thing and pursue it only laterally. This is a tool that every young student must interface with at some point in their learning journey in Zimbabwe.

    Liked by 1 person

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