Get Your Career Unstuck and
Move Forward Again
I’ve been stuck. There! It feels so good to acknowledge my “stuckness.”
It started a few months ago when I was overwhelmed all at once with a lot on my plate: a broken foot, managing the care of an elderly parent, the pandemic we all share, and a lot of other personal and business responsibilities. When I looked up from it all, I realized that while most of my core work got done, as it always does, there were some areas that were stuck. Specifically, my regular blog writing seemed to be stuck and I could not come up with a single topic to write about that made sense.
So, I chose to write about the stuckness!
Do you feel stuck right now in your career, or maybe it’s in a segment of your career? I’ve had these times of stuckness in my corporate life before. It might have been the disappointment of a project that went wrong, that had me delaying working on, say, performance evaluations. Or, like now, I found myself lacking creativity…nothing new was coming to the surface and I chose to ignore that. That’s key…you can find yourself stuck and choose to ignore it for a while, until key events or other triggers bring it to the fore.
The pandemic was a trigger for many of my clients to pause and really think about where they were at in their careers. They looked at the stuckness of the pandemic (we were all trapped in that) and sought to take control over what they could. I’ve had clients decide to get a new job, decide to stay working remotely, decide to change careers, decide to take a sabbatical, and even decide to retire, all very recently. That’s great because in these cases, they definitely were finding new ways to pivot and not find themselves in stuck.
But, for some of us, it may take a different trigger to look at those areas where we may be stuck. Consider this blog post your trigger!!
There are some similarities between procrastination and stuckness. Procrastination is about putting things off, never getting to them; sometimes it’s also about perfection…being so afraid that what you create won’t meet yours or others’ high standards, and so you don’t act.
Stuckness can be an outcome of procrastination, but it can also be a feeling of just not being sure what next step to take. It’s that feeling of, well, being stuck…no solutions, no creativity, no progress.
Do you feel stuck in your current career? Or are there areas where you are at a stopping point? Follow these recommendations to move forward from stuckness:
- Acknowledge some stuckness in your career. Maybe you were working toward a promotion but in frustration, find yourself stuck. Start with looking at where you are at. Stuck is a feeling of being stalled out, of being in a place you would like to move forward from, but can’t seem to find the time or energy, for some reason.
- Suspend judgement over the stuckness. That’s important. You want to keep this a judgement free zone, otherwise, the inner critic will begin to weigh in on the situation and send you down an even more stuck path.
- Explore the stuck state. What is keeping you stuck? As I wrote this piece, I realized that I had a lot going on other than my writing, and so it was important to acknowledge that and understand with compassion what I have been through recently. If you’re in a busy over extended season, it may be hard to, say, work on parts of your career (promotion, changing careers, changing jobs, etc.). Be OK with that state, for now because you can…
- Appreciate that stuckness is always temporary and doesn’t need to be a forever state. You’ve been in a flow state before and you will again.
- Work to engage a good friend, partner, or trusted coach to help you see what is keeping you stuck and what the reason might be. Get the knots untangled by others’ perspectives.
- Find the smallest action you can take to get unstuck. Maybe it’s to reach out to two new contacts on LinkedIn if you’re trying to build your network. Maybe it’s researching ways to update your resume if you are thinking about a new job.
- Rewrite your To Do List. Stop trying to do everything. Look at prioritizing your top 5 items. Just focus on what’s most important. Sometimes large To Do lists can be overwhelming and lead to stuckness.
- Focus on your vision for your career. Spend a little time considering your short and long-term vision and write this down. This exercise is guaranteed to help you feel like you are moving forward.
- Consider your mindset. It’s important to have that feeling of empowerment. Feeling empowered can help you to look at the alternatives of what is blocking you and how to imagine creating solutions for the future.
You CAN move forward from stuckness. Chances are that you have done it before, and you will do it again. Invest the time to uncover the sources of stuck and use some of these recommendations to move forward.
Do you feel stuck? Spend quality time looking at these recommendations and determine the sources and solutions. Happy unstuckness.
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- Five Ways to Deal With a Bad Boss in Your Career: Part 2 of 3 - May 28, 2022