Are you a statistician or data scientist looking to excel in your career and make an impact in the healthcare industry?

Today’s episode is inspired by a German podcast that delved into five key reasons for career failure and I fine-tuned this to fit statisticians.  As professionals working with complex projects and tight deadlines, it’s important that we recognize these pitfalls before they cause irreparable damage to our success.

Join us as we explore each of these five potential hazards, discuss why they have such potential for harm, and learn from engaging expert advice on how best to prevent or overcome them:
  1. Perfectionism can lead to career failure due to a fear of judgement, or low self-esteem.
  2. Procrastination can be caused by an unclear next step, or a task taking too long.
  3. Being too busy often leads to stress and an inability to invest in personal development.
  4. Fear of failure or rejection can prevent exposure and impede career progression.
  5. Missing inspiration or passion reduces motivation and the ability to influence others.

By recognizing these five reasons for career failure – perfectionism, procrastination, being too busy, fear of failure or rejection, and lack of inspiration or passion – you will be better equipped to tackle them head-on and achieve your goals. Remember, a successful career is not just about hard work; it’s also about self-awareness, personal growth, and a willingness to take risks. Share this link with your friends and colleagues who can learn from this!

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5 reasons for career failure

[00:00:00] Alexander: You are listening to The Effective Statistician podcast, the weekly podcast with Alexander Schacht and Benjamin Piske. Designed to help you reach your potential lead great science and serve patients without becoming overwhelmed by work. And in order to achieve this, you need to overcome a couple of hurdles and five barriers to success are the topics for this episode. So stay tuned.

I got the inspiration for this podcast from a German podcast that I recently listened to, and it talks about these five topics and I fine tune them. And let’s say put some a little bit more into context for you as a statistician, data scientist in the healthcare industry.

The first roadblock for success is Perfectionism. And you probably have learned about this as he tried to tweak something up to a point where, says very limited additional, let’s say, return on investment. Yeah. Mostly everything is right, but since there is this additional review rounds and there’s this additional kind of check and additional kind of looking into it, is there something else we can improve? And if that is something that is just your deliverable, very often the reason for not shipping, but trying to improve and improve is a fear of judgment or disapproval from others. Of course, yeah. If you present, let’s say a poster, if you submit a paper, if you go to a conference and do a presentation, you will be judged. Or at least you think you will be judged. Interestingly, very often, people more think about themselves than about you. And I truly believe, if I would like to get anything perfect, this podcast would have never started. You need to feel okay with, trying things out. Having it less than perfect. Very often, good enough is good enough. Then ship it, get it out there, jump over your fear of kind of not getting it perfect.

Have you already heard about the Effective Statistician Academy? In this academy, I provide a variety of different training courses that will help you become better as a leader, as a statistician in general, be more productive and be more knowledgeable. This academy is built around four factors. Leadership, innovation, knowledge, and excellence. And I’m pretty sure it that’s something for you in it. Most of these are trainings that are delivered, only virtually, and so they’re very easy and very affordable, so check them out. I’m producing this podcast in association with PSI. A community dedicated to leading and promoting use of statistics within the healthcare industry for the benefit of patients. Join PSI today, to further develop your statistical capabilities with access to the ever-growing video and demand content library, free registration to all PSI webinars and much, much more. Are you coming to the PSI conference in June in London? I am going there. So let’s meet up there. It will be a great event. You can learn more about this event and all the other PSI stuff at

Other reasons for, perfectionism are poor self-esteem, or something like imposter syndrome. Like you’re feeling not, you’re not good enough or you’re not worthy enough, or something like this. Or maybe also this kind of need for being completely in control of things and that everything is really moving super smoothly. That will rarely happen. There’s one other reason. Maybe you are tying your self worth very much to your achievements. That you think if there’s a critique on your deliverable, your paper, your presentation, your code whatsoever, that this is a judgment on you rather than on the work product. And of course, if you are always trying to be perfect, you’ll never get anything done. And for most of what we do, it does not need to be perfect. And I’m not sure that says even such thing like Perfect. Yeah. Very often you need to make a judgment call. You need to say, okay, is that good enough? Did I do my due diligence? Did I do the important checks and then get it outside the hole? Yeah. That way you can move on to the next important project that is not tackled just because you are still working on this slide set or whatsoever. Perfectionism is also a root cause for the next road block.

And that is Procrastination. However, procrastination has lots of different factors that drive towards it. And I am also procrastinating certain things all the time, especially the things that I don’t like doing because I, let’s say I don’t have some mental energy to do it. And for these things, it’s really important to do them when you have such mental energy, let’s say early in the morning. Yeah. Or whenever your mental energy is big. Then move these things forward, then it’s much easier to tackle these. So to eat the frog, so to say. A couple of other reasons in terms of procrastination is typical one is your next task is not clearly defined. What is exactly the next steps that you need to do?

For example, you wanna dunno, write a paper. What exactly is the next step? You don’t write a paper, you maybe do first research on a specific topic of this data, of this paper. Or maybe you first, want to talk to someone or maybe you first look into some literature research, some, half an hour Googling through all the literature around it, or maybe you wanna decide on what is the topic. There are lots of first, next steps, and being clear about what is the next step is really important. The other reason for procrastination is very often that this next step is just too big. It takes too much time. Maybe it takes, don’t know, an hour or two hours or even more. Yeah, because you need to look through lots of documents or through a very long document. Then it’s easy to push that out because it doesn’t fit into your calendar. Then it’s important to break these big steps down into, or break them up into smaller steps, something that is digestible, something like maybe a 15 minute task. Another reason for procrastination might be that you are actually unclear about what does good look like? What does success here? What do you really wanna achieve here? What’s in it for you? Are you clear about what your supervisors, your stakeholders really expect from you here? Maybe you first need to figure that out. Another reason for procrastination is constant distraction. And yes, that is so easy in our world. That’s get another chat that is coming in. That’s get another email. There’s get another meeting that I could go to or another training opportunity, internal training opportunities that I could go to. When I was working for big pharma company there were so many internal training opportunities from all these different internal working groups. And of course you could spend lots of time on that. And of course there was always a new email that was coming in and there was a new kind of posting not just the, company, internal social media, but also, all the other social medias.

Yeah, I can get very easily distracted by LinkedIn. I know that. And if I really need to get something done, I need to put my smartphone away. Cut, shut down all everything on my computer, just that I can focus on this one really important thing. Another reason for procrastination might be a lack of mental energy that is if you don’t like something but also generally if you don’t have a lot of energy. Then it’s really hard to get anything done. Then it’s really hard to get going, and then you just go for the pass of least resistance and sad is really bad. That is procrastination, and another reason for procrastination is actually also the next big block.

The next big blockade that you can have. And that’s procrastination is one, problem around it, but there’s many other problems and that is being busy. When did you last tell to someone you’re busy? You’re stressed? You are running behind. You are overwhelmed. When you are feeling like that and when you are feeling like that over a very long period, that can actually lead to a career crash if you are constantly busy. It is likely that you’re spending a lot of time on unimportant stuff. Of course, you have heard about superior to principle. 80% of what you do leads to 20% of the outcome, and 20% of what you do leads to 80% of your development of your next step. You have probably seen that if you go for promotion or if you’re in an interview of all the stuff that you have done, of all the projects you have worked on, there’s very often just very few things that stand out so much that they move the needle.

Do you know what all these unimportant things are? Do you really need to do them? Can you delegate them? Can you automate them? Yeah. I’ve talked probably earlier in this podcast about these different filters that you need to do for all the different tasks. So first is, do you need to do it at all? Can you automate it? Can you delegate it? And only if these don’t work, then you can do it yourself. Being busy also very often leads to failing to invest in yourself in your personal development. And of course, you have a lot of kind of training on the job, but you also need external impulses. You need external input. You need to read. You need to listen to podcasts like this one. You need to go to conferences. You need to invest in external training so that you learn something that is not coming just from your company, from your organization. Because looking beyond your organization status where you get a lot of bigger learnings.

Being busier of course also leads to a lot of stress. Not taking pauses. You run out of energy. I talked about this, that leads to procrastination and really needs to reduce productivity. So some research said ,When you go over a certain number for hours that you have worked, your overall productivity actually gets reduced. So the more hours you work, the less you get done.

Another failure or another kind of problem about being busy is you very easily get into this reactive mode. You are only reacting to me emails, to meetings, to announcements, to whatsoever you are not driving things. You’re driven by others. And that, of course, doesn’t help you to follow your career path, to develop your skills that you really wanna develop, to pursue the projects that you think are most important to pursue the projects that will help you develop most. So being busy is really bad, and I think it’s. Yeah, this is an epidemic in terms of that, and my perception is it’s only getting worse.

The next blockade or the next blocks that you can see in your career. And this is a really important one and really big one, and it’s also very widespread, is fear of failure, fear of rejection. On my linked and profile, I have this short sentences about fear, the reaction. Courages the decision, and if you just fall prey to fear, you will not be able to innovate. You’ll not even try to do something different, because doing something different is inherently dangerous. You could fail. You will most likely not, expose yourself in a way that you wanna present somewhere, or that you volunteer for a new project, or that you speak up in a meeting, or that you present to senior management, and that leads to a lack of exposure. You are just someone, and for higher management, you are just, France a statistician. One of the many statisticians, one of the many data scientists. They may have heard about you, but they have no clue who you are. Exposure to senior leaders is one of the biggest factors for success. Because if you have this exposure, you are on the mind of these people. And if you are on the mind of these people, you will get opportunities. You will get development opportunities, you will get interesting projects, all these kind of different things.

But if nobody thinks about you, your career doesn’t progress. You just stay where you are. Why should anybody move you, promote you, reward you, give you opportunities if they aren’t even thinking about you? Exposure is really important, and if you fear failure, if you fear rejection, you’ll not get that exposure. I heard about all these hurdles before. And this fifths hurdle was really an interesting one.

The fifth hurdle that was mentioned in this podcast episode was missing inspiration, and I would add missing passion. I’m personally very passionate about what I do. And I’ve, over the years, I engineered my job to really build in an alignment what I like, what I love, what my inspiration is, where my passion is. This podcast is, a source for inspiration for me. It’s a passion project. And I never get bored by it. I always love doing it. And if you don’t have this inspiration, this passion, I think you lack drive to actually move things forward. You also get much more easily distracted. And another aspect is, I think if you work with others, this lack of inspirations, this lack of passion will come through, and that is leads to a lack of being able to motivate, influence, lead others. Looking into you. If you don’t have a feeling of inspiration and passion, why would you work to become better? Of course, you get more salary maybe, but is that really the incentive? I think if you really have an inspiration, if you have a passion that is the best driver you can have for working on yourself for overcoming kind of fear of failure for doing the hard work to eating the frog and all the other things that I talked earlier about. I think inspiration and passion are sources where you can take courage from, and courage is what, drives out fear. Courage is your decision to do something despite you fearing it.

Many people fear talking on stage, but the courageous one do it despite the fear. I can tell you I am in the past was very fearful of talking to more senior people. Very I couldn’t really move. I put my kind of everything together, made the decision for myself, okay, you’ll do it anyway. And now it feels much easier. But you need to have this courage to say something, to speak up, to reach out. This is really important. So let’s review shortly the different roadblocks to success. First force, perfectionism, second procrastination, third being busy, failure and rejection and minute and missing inspiration and passion. So have a look into yourself. Do you see 1, 2, 3, 4, maybe even all five of these work on them. And if that means you need to make career move, probably good to do it sooner than later.

Thanks so much for listening to this show again. I think, I hope that was inspiring for you. The show was created in association with PSI. Thanks to Reine and her team at VVS who helped us the show’s background,. And by the way, they also help with the Effective Statistician Academy. Check that out, there’s a lot of things for your personal development in there, and thank you for listening. Reach your potential lead great science and serve patients. Just be an effective statistician.

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