Stuck in a Rut? Get Your Career or Business Back on Track.
No one likes being stuck. Whether it’s a bad relationship, a house, debt, or a job you hate the feeling of being stuck can be terribly debilitating and demoralizing. Even being stuck in traffic is occasionally often enough to make most of us want to pull our hair out.
Fortunately, most of the time, the situation we feel stuck in is temporary, such as being put in charge of a meeting you don’t really want to be in, getting stuck with a financial report you would much rather not write or addressing a co‑worker’s latest gripe when you would prefer to be left out of it. These situations are just a part of everyday life, irritating but minor. But there are situations in which whatever you feel stuck in actually holds you back from living the life you truly want to live. Nowhere can this be more debilitating than in a career that seems to be going nowhere, or where the work environment is toxic, stressful and unsatisfying.
The whole concept of being stuck implies that there is nothing that can be done about it. Or that the alternative they so desire is too far out of reach so they give up. It is exactly this belief – that nothing can be done – that prevents so many of many people from being able to move forward in life. In the course of our jobs at the Corporate Alchemists, we frequently come across people at this stage of despair in their careers. We have had the privilege of helping them to navigate the challenges they face, and each time we often start by having them think of an alternative scenario: What if they could do something about it? What would doing something about it look like and how would they go about it? As part of the coaching support we provide, we get them to look at why people often tend to feel stuck in the first place.
Why do you feel stuck?
Notice I used the word “feel.” The vast majority of the time, “stuck” is a feeling and not a reality. So why do you feel that way? The first thing to do is acknowledge the hard truth that whatever situation you feel stuck in, you are the one who got yourself there to begin with.
Chances are you have a dozen or more reasons to explain why you are stuck, but it generally comes down to one thing: fear. In other words, most of us are afraid to make a change because we fear what may happen. You could fail. You could make the situation worse. You could jeopardize your future and job security. You might anger or alienate your family, friends or colleagues. And the worst fear of all: You could lose everything.
It is important to recognize and confront these fears because they are your excuses for staying in a career rut. Then, once you know what they are, you need to be willing to throw them out the door.
How do I move out of the rut I’m stuck in?
Start by discovering your value.
The first thing you want to do is look within yourself. If you have been mired in a situation for quite a while, you have probably been carrying around feelings of depression, disappointment, helplessness, and sometimes bitterness. Over time, this can take a toll on your self-belief and lead to a lack of motivation and inspiration. Nothing destroys innovation and creativity like a lack of motivation and inspiration. You need to free yourself of that mindset by focusing on what makes you valuable and unique, what you are you good at, what you enjoy, and what you believe in. In other words, who are you and what do you have to offer? What kind of life were you meant to have? What were you meant to do? What is your ideal path? It’s about discovering your life purpose.
You life’s purpose is what will get you up early in the morning and force you to stay up late at night. It’s something that you’re passionate about, and something you will fight for despite the obstacles you might face. Knowing your value and purpose will empower and motivate you to take the next step.
Find out what is holding you back.
Having looked within, the next thing to do is gain clarity about your circumstances and the behaviors that are paralyzing you. Ask yourself:
- What specifically am I doing?
- Who am I doing it for?
- Why am I doing this?
- What fears or feelings are keeping me stuck?
You might find out that you are stuck for all the wrong reasons. You could be stuck because you are doing something for someone else who does not know or care you are doing it. You might even find that there are no valid reasons. In that case, then just stop doing those things.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you are in a career that you find uninspiring. What you really want to do is something completely different, for instance start your own business making something you really like. Okay, so why are you in your existing career? Maybe it is because it gives you the salary you feel you need. Maybe it makes someone else happy, or maybe it’s just something you fell into you and don’t know how to change course.
At this point you can ask yourself if the reason you are stuck is still valid and whether you truly want to make a change. It is helpful at this point to go back to the answers you found in the first step.
Create a Plan of Action
Now you are ready to create a plan to get yourself out of your current predicament and start moving forward towards the life you want. Don’t hesitate.
Make a list of all the things you need to do, prioritize it and get going on it. Start every day by asking yourself, “What one small step could I take today that would help me get unstuck?” It doesn’t have to be a major step – every bid achievement starts with a little step, so don’t be afraid to start with the little things. Once you get those right, you can proceed to bigger steps and before you know it, you have made the change you need. As the saying goes “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”
At Corporate Alchemists, we have developed industry-leading best practices to help employees and business owners confront the challenges of being stuck in a career they no longer feel passionate about. We equip them with the tools they need to move forward and rediscover the meaning in life. Our coaching classes are targeted both to business owners and employees regardless of their level of expertise. If your career feels like it is stuck in a rut, get in touch with us today. We would love to help you become the best you can be.