Feeling stuck in your career? Take action!
Do you enjoy your current job?
Do you feel like you are progressing?
Do you feel satisfied and fulfilled in your professional life?
If your answer is a clear “no”, then it may be time to take that first step and explore your options. However, this can be easier said than done and at times may even feel impossible.
If you are feeling stuck and still trying to figure out why, there is most likely one of four possible reasons that is stopping you and we have summarised the crucial steps to help you overcome these challenges.
1: You don’t think you have the skills or capacity to make a career change
The first step: Change your mindset
Changing your career may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, especially if you have spent many years gaining the skills, experience and network needed to become successful in your current role. However if you are going to take on this challenge, your mindset will be absolutely crucial as it is our mindset that will ignite our success. Mindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.
Carol Dweck a Stanford University Psychologist, believes there are 2 mindsets, a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
People with a “fixed mindset” assume that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.
A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.
So if you believe you have a fixed mindset, start to focus on the things you can do as opposed to the things you can’t do. Write down all the great things you have achieved, the skills and experience you have gained, the things you would like to learn and what you would like to achieve in your next career.
2: You think it might get better with time
The first step: Accept how you feel
While changing your mindset can be powerful, it won’t eliminate the underlying problems you face. You may be thinking that if you just hold out in your role a bit longer something will shift. Perhaps you are close to receiving a raise or promotion, or a new team member is about to start that might shake things up. The truth is, successful people don’t wait for perfect conditions, they create opportunities. They draw energy and motivation from their challenges, believe they will achieve what they want, and keep on track. If we take a ‘wait and see’ approach, we can spiral down and potentially reach burnout point. Pay attention to and trust how you are feeling now.
It’s also important to consider all the factors at play, what if the job is making you feel this way and things are unlikely to change, ask yourself the following questions. Do you enjoy the actual work? Is the company culture the right fit? Are your values aligned with the companies values? Do you like the people you work with?
Be true to yourself and ask if these things are likely to change. If not take the first step.
3: You feel heavily invested in your current role
The first step: Identify what is transferrable and create a career narrative to fit your ideal career
One thing we often help our career coaching clients with is how to translate their current skills and experience to a new field. When we start exploring and writing everything down on paper, it’s easy to create links and build a career narrative that identifies our core skills and how these can be transferred to different roles or industries. While you may need some additional training or experience, a strong story can make a big impact when you are ready to start your search.
This is also a good time to reflect on exactly what is working and not working for you in your current role. Then, you can figure out if you want to make a big change or small side step as often the idea roles are within our current companies. The criteria for your ideal career might be closer to what you have now than you think and with some negotiation (additional training, more support, working from home one day a week) you might begin to gain a deeper sense of satisfaction.
4. You are afraid to make the wrong choice
The first step: Try something
Perhaps you know why you’re stuck, you’ve identified what you need to change, but fear is holding you back. If you don’t know what the perfect things is, you can’t change anything at all. This false choice can be paralysing, leaving us stalled in the middle of an intersection. However, we cannot realise our fullest potential in the intersection. So, take control! Pick a direction and get moving. Shadow someone working in a field you are considering or register for a class to see if it is a good fit. You may have to turn around at some point, but that is ok.
Also consider that you may have unknowingly already made the wrong choice. Staying in the wrong job doesn’t just affect you. If you are in a leadership position, your attitude and mindset will trickle down. If a leader is filled with stress, conflict, anxiety, and negative emotions, it spreads like a virus. On the other hand a positive leader can be a source of motivation, encouragement that make teams thrive and excel in what they do. So taking care of yourself will translate to happier, more productive teams as well.
What is one thing you can do this week to help you take the first step? If you are still unsure, take this free quiz to help you identify your key strengths and possibly ideal career!