Whether you work the counter at a fast food restaurant, or lead a company of 50,000 people, everyone finds themselves in a professional rut at one point or another. The important thing is how quickly you’re able to get yourself out of that rut. Here are a handful of techniques for surviving and thriving.
1. Brainstorm The Problem
It all starts with diagnosing the problem. What’s holding you back? It could be an obvious cause, or you may have to do some extra digging around. Get really honest with yourself, and don’t hold anything back.
Instead of just saying, “I don’t like my job,” hone in on what it is that you don’t like about your job. Maybe your job is unfulfilling, or perhaps you don’t get paid enough. Could it be that the hours interfere with your social life and leave you feeling unmotivated? The more specific you get, the better you’ll be able to address the underlying cause and find relief.
2. Connect With A Consultant Or Advisor
Being in a rut is often the result of misunderstanding a particular business responsibility or not being prepared enough to handle a task. If you find that you’re in a rut because of a lack of preparation, then you may need some outside help.
Whether it’s accounting, advertising, writing, design, customer service, or anything in between, there are consultants who specialize in the area(s) that you’re struggling to get past. Find the right one and don’t be surprised if your rut becomes a thing of the past.
3. Take Action
Once you (or you and your consultant) figure out what the problem is, you can shift your attention towards actionable steps that allow you to climb out and regain the momentum that you previously enjoyed. You will likely have to step out of your comfort zone and do something that feels painful, awkward, or forced, but once you begin to see progress, you’ll realize that it’s easier to move forward than sit still.
4. Plan A Getaway
It’s very easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re stuck in the day-to-day monotony of running a business, and without this overarching view, you may become discouraged and frustrated. A little mini retreat or getaway may be in store.
“Take a day or two to refocus,” therapist Melody Wilding suggests. “You don’t have to travel anywhere; simply dedicate intentional time to exploring your purpose. You can do this by asking yourself big questions like, ‘What would I be doing if money wasn’t a problem?’ or ‘When do I feel most alive?’”
5. Set Attainable Goals
As humans, we naturally become overwhelmed when we feel like we’ve gone off track. We see how much work needs to be invested in order to get back on track, and we figure it’s easier to just lie in the ditch; solving this requires you set small, attainable goals.
“Be mindful that we tend to exaggerate our abilities or wrongly attribute failure to circumstances beyond our control,” author Peg Streep says. “Be ruthlessly realistic about how your talents match up with the goal you set. If your goal seems unreachable, pull back and master mental contrasting.”
Mental Contrasting Is The Answer
You may be wondering what mental contrasting (the term used by Peg Streep) is. Well, it’s merely a psychological practice that requires you to contemplate your ideal future, while simultaneously thinking about the various short-term factors that stand in the way of you getting there. While this practice may sound silly on the surface, it actually works remarkably well; it essentially tells you what’s preventing you from moving forward. You may be surprised to see what’s standing in the way.
Featured photo credit: Gratisography via pexels.com
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