Cultivating This One Thing Will Snap You Out Of A Career Rut
The bad news: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
In the context of your career, that means blindly going through the motions of your professional world. And unfortunately, unconsciously repeating what you’ve already done often means you’re not intentionally growing or developing.
Said another way, you’re in a career rut.
If you find yourself stuck, there’s good news; an antidote exists called self-awareness. Here are six ways cultivating it can help snap you out of a career rut:
1. It enables you to see (and acknowledge) that you’re in one
Though it seems obvious, many people don’t realize when they’re in a rut, career-wise. They busy themselves being busy, ignoring the red flags of their discontent, or using their fear to avoid confronting their reality. But the first step in solving a problem is identifying it as a problem. Self-awareness will help you recognize when you’re feeling unmotivated, frustrated because you don’t have an answer or resource that might help you progress or seem to lack a clear direction.
2. It’s a catalyst for self-care
When you feel stuck, it’s easy to beat yourself up or ignore your needs, which are counterproductive to your progress. However, research shows that self-care drives success, so let your newfound awareness help get you into the habit of treating yourself the supportive way you would a treasured friend or colleague. This means being kind and caring toward yourself rather than harshly self-critical.
Your self-awareness ensures that you’re nourishing your body with proper rest, relaxation, nutrition, and movement. Additionally, it enriches your mind with educational and uplifting podcasts, books, TED talks, articles, and videos. Finally, it recharges your spirit through meditation, prayer, and reflection, by spending time in nature, and by visiting with friends and loved ones.
3. It changes your mindset
When you’re in a rut, it’s tempting to wallow in your misery. But when you tap into your awareness, you’ll realize that staying in a negative headspace won’t help you move forward — instead, your mindset shifts to one of positivity and possibility. You’ll remove the shackles of what is to consider what could be. You’ll engage your curiosity to reflect and ask yourself “What if?” questions, allowing you to envision what the career of your future unstuck self might look like, even if it varies from your current professional scenario.
4. It provides greater clarity around what you want (and don’t want)
Getting out of a career rut requires clarity and begins with your ability to answer a simple question: “What do I want?”
Though simple, that question isn’t easy for most to answer. Some wrestle with insecurities and fears about coming to grips with their true desires; others have never pushed the pause button on their busy lives to give themselves space to do so. If you’re in the middle of a career rut, now is the time to use your awareness to answer that question honestly—even if the answer is different from what you thought it might (or should) be. Equally as valuable is what your awareness tells you you don’t (or no longer) want. Clarity is about focus, so use your awareness to drill down and get specific.
5. It makes asking for help easier
If you’re stuck, staying inside your head is a recipe for disaster, but awareness can help you break through the fog. Once you know what you want, reach out to ask for help. A trusted friend or mentor can also offer words of encouragement in a supportive and non-judgmental voice. Do your best to listen to the advice given, understanding that it might include an unfamiliar path. Rather than resist it, remain in an adaptable mindset to up your odds of moving past your current plateau.
6. It helps you take action
Stagnation thrives in the comfort zone; it’s where career ruts are born. But cultivating self-awareness helps you acknowledge your situation, be self-supportive, create a positive mindset, have clarity on what you want, and have the courage to ask for help to get there. Collectively, these awareness-driven things also help you do the one surefire thing to get you out of a career rut: take action.
Getting unstuck is about pushing yourself to take risks and reaping the rewards. At work, showcase your expertise by being proactive in asking for challenging assignments, offer to lead a new business pitch, or volunteer to train new hires. Outside the office, bolster your professional development by taking ongoing educational classes, joining industry boards and committees, and connecting with those who inspire you professionally. The key to getting unstuck is taking action, and action begets more action.
If you want things you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done; cultivating your self-awareness can help.