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What if you really did know your right career?

What if you really did know your right career?

Your right career may be for you the one that earns you the most personal satisfaction or the most money or contributes most to others. You need to decide on the balance between different pay-offs of the work that you do and that choice is completely yours. This piece focuses on the decision to do work that you are passionate about, whether in the end that becomes the whole of your life, or needs to be balanced by doing other work that meets other practical needs.

I spent a long time searching for the ‘right’ thing to do with my life and all the time what I really wanted to do was staring me in the face. I even read ‘do what you love’ type self-help books that told me it was probably staring me in the face and continued to completely ignore it.

It was just too obvious that I would become a life coach. The ego part of me also thought that life coaching sounded a bit cheesy, so I had to get over that as well so I could wind up doing this work I love.

I left teaching as I was constantly moving with my husband’s career and was looking to find what my new ‘perfect’ career would be. I studied for a second degree in Art History and Creative Writing and also did courses in photography, floristry and interior design. All of these were a lot of fun and I know I was really lucky to be able to invest the time and money in them. The bridge between hobby course and new career seemed huge and I had no idea how to bridge it.

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It took a long time to admit to myself that my right career was coaching. It took even longer to realise that the bridge to making that happen was not going to be something that would come easily. I was looking for a simple leap into making my passion my career and the leap wasn’t a simple one for me.

You know those water obstacle shows where someone always falls short of making the leap and plunges into the deep water below? That was me in the ‘finding your right career water obstacle show.’ (not sure it’s ratings are that high, maybe you haven’t heard of it?)

Sure, you will read loads of internet marketing about how certain people will make the leap to your new passion filled career easy and simple and if there really are people who are making this work quickly and easily then a whole load of good luck to them.

I’ve invested a lot more time and money into making this passion work and the more I learn the more I see that it is about consistently turning up as yourself in all this and claiming what you want, even when it isn’t an easy path. Making the leap to a career you are passionate about is deciding to climb the mountain, it isn’t climbing it. That comes after.

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The idea of this journey to your right career or a thriving coaching practice as being like climbing a mountain came from my own coach mentor, Sas Petherick.

So if you are brave and some might say fool-hardy enough to do, you know, what you really want to do with your life, here are six steps to help you get there. They won’t get you all of the way there, but they are a start. Look upon them as trail snacks on your forthcoming mountain journey.

1. Admitting what you really want in life.

Is there a passion you have been ignoring because it is just too obvious? Have you been blocking it because the ego part of you does not fully approve of your idea? What do you talk about that lights you up? What kind of books are you always reading? What magazines do you always pick up? Passion leads clues. Imagine that you have become a detective of your own life and you are looking for where your passion lies. Make notes, keep files, be onto yourself.

2. Owning your talents.

So you have the passion, but now that sneaky little voice inside you is saying ‘well sure that sounds great, but you’re not really as good at balloon modelling / diving / historical research of the Tudor period as you think you are’. Part of this is the ego that is trying to keep you safe. You are only in the exploratory phases of what your true life’s work is going to be. You don’t have to have the ‘right’ answer.

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3. Not expecting the complete picture of your future to form straight away.

This is where it gets messy. You try a new direction and you fail or you have to find a way of mixing your life passion with your day job and that gets messy. You think thoughts like ‘maybe I’m wasting my time,’ or ‘this is never going to work.’

4. Allowing the messiness of transition.

This is where allowing comes in. Allow yourself not to know, not to have it all together, not to know all the steps, not to have a brilliant answer to the cocktail party question ‘So what do you do?’

5. Finding support for your dreams.

On your mountain trail to your new passion filled career it’s great to have a mountain guide. Find one you resonate with and you trust. Ask for referrals. Talk to a variety of guides / mentors / coaches and find out who you click with. Clicking with a guide, mentor or coach is more important than being impressed by how fancy their website is or whether they guest post on Life Hack.

6. Tortoise steps, not hare leaps. (from coaching tool created by Dr Martha Beck)

If your next step seems to great, break it down. If the step after that one seems too great, break it down again. Find the step that does not bring up all the resistance that stops you from doing anything. You’ll never know for sure that you couldn’t find work in what you truly love unless you make the first step of truly listening to what you really want, by stopping to ignore what is obvious.

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Attribution: Some of the ideas in this piece have been influenced by and relate to my understanding of the book ‘Finding Your Own North Star,’ by Martha Beck. (Piatkus, 2003) This is a great book to have alongside you if you are trying to climb this particular mountain, the summit of which is having work that you are passionate about.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

1. Make Time for You

If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

4. Work on Your Personal Brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

5. Be Accountable

Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

8. Learn to Embrace Failure

Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

9. Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

10. Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

Final Thoughts

You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

Reference

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