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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

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

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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.

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More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

Reference

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Lucy Gower

Founder at Lucidity. Coach, trainer and consultant as well as a best-selling author and international speaker.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

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How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 9 to 5 job or you work in shifts; is it a satisfactory job?

Ain’t you tired of the monotony or should I ask:

Did you ever feel like quitting your unfulfilling job or changing your unfulfilling career?

Realizing your materialistic needs is important but do you love your means to earn bread?

Too many questions… I’m sure you want to answer none.

But don’t worry, most people are on the same leaky boat!

Wondering what’s wrong?

As a teenager, you dream; you aspire. You are exuberant enough to chase those crazy dreams.

But as you grow older, the zeal seems to fade away. That drop-down in intensity level sets a foundation for a compromise.

You don’t persist with even one dream.

What’s worse, you give different names to your choice to back out. You blame people and situations as per your convenience.

Alas! those vivid dreams lose to your sub-conscious mind.

But before you get disheartened, here’s an interesting fact:

The real Col. Sanders was an entrepreneur who didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40, didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62, and didn’t become an icon until after he sold his company at 75.[1]

So yes, though it’s tough to quit your tiring job; it’s easier than you think.

And when you have realized your existing job is not leading to happiness, it’s time to change!

Desperate for super easy solutions?

Here’s a list of 19 simple actionable steps to quit your unfulfilling job and follow your aspiring career:

1. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

One big reason you are compromising today is your repulsion to challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don’t want to raise the bar.

You move on subconsciously making emotional adjustments and self-harming sacrifices.

Not anymore; it’s time to challenge it!

The clock is ticking and you need to flow with time. That is how you welcome the new. It is one of the major steps in breaking the monotony of an unsatisfactory job.

Not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone still? Read this article: Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

2. Get Rid of the Memories from Your Existing Job

Most of the times, it is your past which doesn’t allow you to liberate yourself in the present. Your memories from the current job are dominant over your memories you want to create.

Come on! You are stronger than you think. You need to detach yourself from those sweet-sour memories. Only then, you could take a big leap towards self-realization.

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Here’s the deal:

A beautiful future awaits you where every moment is so blissful you’ll not recall the past to trigger a memory.

Learn how to let go of the past: 7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

3. Listen to Your Gut

The problem is everyone has access to the locker of your right-wrong beliefs, but not you. You listen to everyone and lose your conscious decision.

Why don’t you back yourself?

If you don’t love what you are doing and you want to quit your unfulfilling job, QUIT.

Why do you restrict yourself?

Only you have the answers to your uncertainties. Stop seeking answers from others. Ask yourself receptively. You’ll unlock all the mysteries about yourself.

Here’s some advice for you: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

4. Get Excited to Fail

Sounds silly? It’s not:

Success is an elusive mask covering many lifeless faces of failures.

In case you don’t know, if Thomas Edison hadn’t failed, he might not have become America’s most well-known and prolific innovator.[2] And there are even more examples like this: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

The pursuit of your dream career is full of struggles and failures. And unless you are ready to fail many times, you are ineligible to succeed.

Only if you settle with your current job which is unsatisfying will you be a real failure. The excitement to fail on the other side is unmatched. Worth a shot!

5. Disallow Social Environment to Control You

If there were no cameras, every soul would tell an interesting story.[3]

I’m sorry but your social environment is bullying you. You have become a puppet to people.

People define your journeys and destinations, and you are losing big time.

Wake up call!

Cut the chord with your social environment which is not only polluting your personal but also your professional environment: Managing Your Social Network Addiction

6. Do Not over Analyze, Execute

Intelligent people are particularly prone to the overthinking that can cause analysis paralysis and lead to a failure to make decisions or take action.[4]

Yes, you are intelligent but you need to be smarter! Never allow your intelligence to become a hindrance in quitting your unfulfilling job.

Thinking and planning are important aspects of a visionary, but never allow overthinking to take a toll on the execution.

Take small steps rather than thinking about giant leaps. Divide your goal into small targets; make sure you achieve them.

Here’s how: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

7. Make Your Family a Part of Your Dream

If you are fortunate enough to live with your family, you owe responsibilities towards them. After all, they are your father, mother, siblings, life-partner.

Maybe your dream career is something they haven’t heard about, but relax. Don’t expect magic overnight!

Be courageous enough to make them understand why you want to quit your unsatisfactory job.

You may fail big time but don’t lose hope. This is the absolute test of your endurance.

When you convince them, you don’t have to search for a support system in your failures. And a few applauds from them in your small wins keep you up and running.

8. Spend Time with Like-Minded People

To challenge the now and dive into the new, I’m afraid you’ll not find many people standing by your side.

But that’s fine!

Keep a close watch on people with whom you spend your precious time.

What you need to ask yourself:

Are these people your motivators or the ones who constantly try to put you down?

When you get an answer, trust it and go with the flow. You may lose people but you’ll discover yourself.

9. Prioritize Inner Happiness over Monetary Happiness

Possibly, there’s a big fat cheque between your unsatisfactory job and your aspiration. The choice is difficult!

You’ll agree money is not everything but the first thing to be happy. But if your job is not reviving and is killing your happiness, what are you waiting for?

Maybe your dream career isn’t as materialistically rich as your current job, but assuredly, it’ll make you spiritually content.

You have found out what will make you happy, so just go out there and get it: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

10. Learn to Say No

‘No’ is just a two-letter word, ever measured its intensity?

It is loud enough to make you a warrior. However, we don’t use it often.

Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything isn’t going to make up for that.[5]

Learn this art to quit your unfulfilling job! Not only with others but use it often with yourself. Any denial or a small sacrifice for your own good is a gateway to self-love. It boosts your self-esteem to disallow the negative influences to entice you. You find reasons to listen to yourself.

Leo Babauta has some suggestions on this: The Gentle Art of Saying No

11. Accompany Yourself in Your Alone Time

You encounter many moments in your daily life when there is no one around. What do you do in that alone time?

Either you retreat to the past or you drive to the future. What you don’t realize is your present requires an introspection.

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This ignorance is making you incomplete. Neither you are self-aware nor there is a clarity in your thought process.

The secret is when you spend alone time with yourself, your dream becomes your mission, and the inroads make way for beautiful roads. Your journey doesn’t need a navigator. And your questions have answers.

Use your alone time to do some self reflection: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

12. Feel Fortunate for the Blessing

When most of us are fighting for the necessities of survival; you discovered your dream.

Where most of the people don’t get solitude time, you know what makes you blissful.

Yes… you are fortunate! How could you dump this wonderful opportunity?

There are many people who might replace you in your unfulfilling job. But make sure no one replaces you in the work you do the best.

13. Never Lie to Yourself

Confidence is imperative but if there is no transparency in your thought process, only confidence is a big disaster.

Self-acceptance is supreme in pursuance of your dream career.

You need to acknowledge your current standing and future goals.

You need to be brutally honest to yourself. Only then, there’s a clarity in your thought process.

Don’t blindly run towards your dream’s realization; walk on your aspiration-driven path consciously.

14. Become an Inspiration for Others

Amidst your uncertainties, someone is closely watching your actions and reactions.

Maybe your close friend or your younger sibling, there’s someone relating to you. They are curious about your next move.

But what do they seek from you? They silently urge you to take one brave move to open the floodgate.

Only you can break the shackles of their boring monotony. Because when you execute, they feel happy and liberated like you.

You become their unsung hero!

15. Realize Your Current Job Is Saturating You

Your current job is unsatisfactory. It cannot get worse. It is tiring and boring, it doesn’t release serotonin anymore.

And you know it!

You even know your exploration begins only when you quit your current job. What else can motivate?

Always remember:

You may do well in your existing job but you will create wonders on the other side. Go all in!

16. Segregate Your Dream into a Passionate Movement

You have a dream career in mind. But to follow it, you are not resilient to do what it takes to reach there.

You lose hope quickly!

Look:

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Neither dreaming is enough nor quitting your existing job is easy.

Only your passionate will is powerful enough to withstand the test of time. Let that fire burn inside you until your dream coincides with reality.

17. Pen down the Possible Positives

It’s super easy! But you are probably wondering:

How could such a small step be beneficial in quitting my unsatisfactory job?

Yes, it’s a small step but immensely powerful.

When you list down how quitting your unfulfilling job is a boon, trusting your decision becomes easier.

Any apprehensions at any point flush out when you recall those jotted positives of leading a dream career.

18. Break the Rules

There is no thumb rule or a particular mantra for success. It’s good to have idols. There’s no harm in following them. But what’s wrong is you compare your journey with them.

What you don’t realize is that you may share the same goal but the approach has to be different.

Never kill your originality trying to become like them.

Define your own journey. Never set a rule or a predefined path for success. Break-free!

19. Presume the Worst-Case Situation

Try to question yourself:

What will happen if you quit your unfulfilling job to lead to your dream career?

Is it your financial stability or an emotional dependency you are losing on? Whatever it is, imagining the worst-case scenario enables you to loosen up.

It provokes a nothing-to-lose attitude where there is no fear of anyone and anything. You move forward wholeheartedly with authority and devotion.

Your self-motivation is at cloud nine; you don’t fear the consequences anymore.

I hope any of these actionable techniques revive the feel you were about to lose.

Final Thoughts

You are a blessed soul who knows a couple of things more than most of the people:

Your current job is unfulfilling, and that you have a career-oriented dream.

But knowing about these isn’t enough!

Set yourself free as an individual and dive into the competition where your only competitor is you.

Life is too short to regret! Now when you have tasted the feeling of your chips being down, you deserve the magical feel to be on the other side of the table.

Always remember:

You are wrong only till the time you are struggling. But if you keep moving and taking those hard punches, one day you’ll realize your dream. With you, people realize everything about you were (and are) right!

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Featured photo credit: Leonardo Yip via unsplash.com

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Reference

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