We don't intend to sabotage our careers but sometimes, without meaning to, we do. Here's how not to.

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No one sets out to fail at a job or a career. But sometimes, without meaning to, we end up doing just that. Take a moment to consider if you are guilty of any of these all-too-common career killers.

Setting your sights too low. If you tell yourself you could never become an upper manager, or own your own business, or whatever that thing is you secretly yearn to do, then you never will. Ignore the naysayers and people who tell you not to “get your hopes up.” Aim high. Learn from your mistakes. Each time you succeed — and you will — set a new goal.

Making money your top priority. Of course money is important. You can never completely factor it out of any career equation. But just as you’ve always heard, money can’t buy happiness. Working at a job you hate or feel indifferent toward is a recipe for mediocrity and is, ultimately, soul destroying.

Working at a job you’re not passionate about. Just as you shouldn’t make money your main priority, nor should you “settle” for a line of work that you find deeply boring or meaningless. While all jobs involve aspects that you won’t enjoy, and you should not expect to be thrilled every moment of every day, if your job is all drudgery and no satisfaction you will never achieve a level above just getting by. You will never realize your full potential.

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Focusing on the downside. Sure, some careers (air traffic controller, accountant) seem to demand a mindset of “if something can go wrong, it will go wrong,” but in general a consistently negative attitude makes you a hard person to be around. It’s bad for your own mental health, too, and can set you on the road to setting your sights too low (see No. 1). A “can-do” attitude spreads its energy and passion to every part of your life, including your life at work.

Thinking you have to go it alone. The great American myth of the lone hero, the solitary cowboy on the range, endures. But the fact is that no one really succeeds on his or her own. Teamwork and collaboration have always been the keys to success, and this is even truer in today’s global economy.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.