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Posted by Niall O'Kelly

Self-Sabotage by Self Importance

10 Jan 2022

One of the more positive things to come out of the various lockdowns for me, is a newfound love of podcasts. There are so many exceptional podcasts that if you pick a topic that you are interested in, you should have an endless supply to listen to.

My favorite series is the “High Performance Podcast” by sports broadcaster Jake Humphrey and leading organisational psychologist Damian Hughes. In their own words, the Podcast brings you an intimate glimpse into the lives of high-achieving, world-class performers who have all excelled in their field with first-hand experiences and lessons to share.

They ask their guests some excellent questions such as:

  • What is high performance?
  • Is legacy important to you?
  • What are 3 non-negotiable behaviors for you and people around you must follow?

You hear how the guests made success of themselves in their chosen field, lessons they have learnt along the way and what the psychological driving performances that fuel them. There are some crossovers in behaviors, drivers and motivation like humility, honesty, hard work, self-respect and respect for colleagues and competitors. Something that intrigued me is that you will never hear self-promotion, over inflated egos or people exaggerating their sense of self in the form of the title of what they do or how they do what they do.

I am 10 years working in recruitment, but I don’t think I will ever fully understand it. That is probably not the best thing to admit to from somebody who owns their own recruitment business but how can you fully understand something that is reliant so many variables. There are certain variables that can be controlled but ultimately it is a personal decision to take a job offer or not. This is what fascinates me about the industry, as no two days are the same and if you don’t learn something about yourself or the people you are working with then you have missed something.

Social media has its pros and cons but something that I have noticed on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn in recently, is an increase in people’s self-importance about what they do professionally. You have people with very creative job titles for regular or mainstream jobs. Titles such as “business leader”, “sales expert”, “I help companies scale” “career changer”,  “life changer” or “dream fillers” are some of the titles that I have encountered recently. These sorts of self-given titles say more about people’s opinion of themselves than what they do or the industry they work in. This is scary in the recruitment space when a person’s view of other people’s careers is more about them than the candidates/companies they are representing.  It makes me question how people with such a high opinion of themselves put their own egos above their clients and the candidates that have entrusted them to further develop their careers.

If you were looking  to hire and you came across people with these titles, would you consider them or are they self-sabotaging their next career move with their own self-importance?


Career/Life/Professional Coaches – Friends or Foes

There are more career coaches, life coaches, professional coaches etc. than ever before. While there are some excellent people in this field, please make sure you have done your research as there has been a significant increase in people recently that are being very badly advised. It is worth researching the person you are being “coached” by and asking yourself tough questions before parting with your hard-earned cash:

  • Has this person achieved anything or done anything of note in their own career?
  • Do they have the life experience to go with academia?
  • Have they earned the right to advise you on your career?
  • Are they qualified enough in terms of professional qualifications or academic track record?
  • Do they have the right level of experience or seniority for you?
  • Are their intentions genuine?
  • Do they have your best interests in mind?


I am in no way trying to knock people for setting up a business or implying that people are intentionally giving people the wrong advice. It is an area that I have a huge interest in but personally I want someone that has been there, done that and has the success or failure to give proper advice.

Professional Coaches  are excellent at identifying what you are looking for from your career but sometimes where they fall down is making the dream a reality. I am not in the business of crushing peoples dreams but is sending someone on a wild goose chase morally correct or not? From personal experience, I have had positive and negative experiences with them but have taken something from the meetings. The ones that I and people I know have found the most useful had practical and real-life experience in the area or sector you currently work in or looking to move to. They have earned the right to say that you may need to start at the bottom to work your way up or you may need to upskill yourself and/or take a drop in salary to make the coveted move.

In general, the right career/professional coach can be invaluable but the wrong one can bring you down a path where the gap between expectations and reality in unattainable.

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