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What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Your Job
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
Does your work give you joy or a headache?
When was the last time you looked forward to work? You set up your autopilot and keep going. Time passes, and you realize it does not fulfill you or bring you what you need (money, work-life balance, growth, etc.).
So, you torture yourself with doubts, regrets, and questions.
“Where am I going with my career?”
“If I hadn’t left my last job, I could have been there already.”
“I shouldn’t have taken a gap year.”
“I guess it could be worse. “
You find many things you “could have” and “should have”. But will they solve your problem of feeling stuck? Your ticket out of this poor mindset is to regain control of your future. 👇
Rule no.1 is to relax
Many leaders I have worked with complain about the same. Stress. They have so much to do and no time to work on themselves. Result? They feel stuck and frustrated.
There is always a reason why you feel stuck. Be honest with yourself. No one listens. Why do you feel this way? No reason is trivial or unimportant.
Some of the usual suspects are:
Too much to do, too much stress.
Everyone else is already promoted but you.
Money is not where you thought it would have been.
Your business pipeline is empty, and you doubt if you ever break through.
The moment you speak openly about why, you free your mind of doubts, fears, and frustration. WHY is your light at the end of the tunnel?
'Why' is better than 'I don't know' and all the pondering of the past. When you know why you feel stuck, you can finally relax.
Breathe in and out. The hard work has now been completed.
Accept your feelings and change your perspective
When you talk about feeling stuck, most people tell you to “change your perspective” and make some compromises.
Before anything else, try to accept what you feel.
It is perfectly okay to feel stuck, uninspired, and demotivated. But if you try to run away from these feelings, they will pop up soon again. Changing jobs is often not a solution. The grass is not greener.
A simple trick to accepting your feelings is to recognize and describe them. Write them down as they are.
When you feel calm, you can think about your job. Any change is difficult. But changing your perspective on a job you disliked for a while requires patience. Try these tricks to push your thoughts forward:
Stop comparing yourself to others (This friend runs his business already, this one is a director, etc.). It’s a waste of time since you’re comparing apples to oranges.
Don’t take things for granted (You are lucky, did you know that?!)
Forgive and let go (Yes, your boss is annoying, so what?)
Welcome new things (Open yourself to new opportunities.)
Think big, not small (Little details can drive you mad, but always see the big picture first)
Bonus one is to help someone with something. When there is no sense of purpose, you feel stuck. Give your energy to someone else, and you will feel better (and useful again :-)).
What you want vs. what you don’t
Part of the reflecting process is to realize what you do or don’t want anymore. You may:
Don’t want to work with this client.
Don’t want to be employed.
Don’t want to lead a team.
Instead, you may want:
Whatever it is, find the confidence to say that out loud. Some things might be achievable in your current job. But people don't know that you want them. By communicating what you want and don't want, you will be able to free your spirit from pressure.
Yes, you may want to change jobs or fields. Bravo. Why not? It should not be revenge or escape. Follow your heart. That is your light at the end of the tunnel.
Ask yourself: How will you remember this chapter of your life when you re-tell the story? Imagine yourself in the future, and tell your story. How will the narrative sound?
Design a plan
All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination. - Earl Nightingale
Plan to get unstuck.
My favorite way to do it is to grow your network and meet people who inspire you. If you want to be a leader, surround yourself with leaders. You can learn a lot from others. Talk to them.
Your plan can be simple. Catch up with others, explore internal/external opportunities, update your LinkedIn profile, take a yoga class, etc. As a start, plan something.
Then you’ll see where it takes you.
PS: Plan to attend a workshop ‘Your Next Career Move’ I run next week. A 2-h energizing workshop that will help you understand what you want. Like it did for the past participants:
🔊 "This workshop made me realize how important planning and vision in a career is. Also, I should and will reach out to potential employers or businesses to find out how I can improve my skills to fulfill my goals.." - C & PYTHON DEVELOPER
🔊 "Ivona did an excellent job putting together exercises for career reflection. I realized the job was not the problem, but the money was. As a result of this workshop, I asked for a pay raise. - DEPUTY DIRECTOR