Are you stuck in a rut at work?
Perhaps your creative energy is zapped, your motivation is lacking, or you see little hope for moving up. If your career seems to have hit a plateau and you find yourself in a mid-year rut, don’t give up! There are strategies you can employ to pull yourself out and make upward progress toward your goals.
1 | Don’t Get Stuck by the “Sunk-cost” Fallacy
Falling for this fallacy often keeps people stuck in dead-end cycles. A sunk cost is defined as any past cost that has already been paid and cannot be recovered. This could be an investment of time, money, emotional energy or other resources. A simplified illustration would be continuing to eat after your are full because you don’t want to “waste” the meal you’ve paid for. Yet you will make yourself uncomfortable (and unhealthy) by continuing to eat. Apply this principle to decisions you are making on the job. Are you “locked in” to making something work just because you have invested so much time and energy into it? Pause to evaluate rationally whether it makes sense to invest further resources.
2 | Go Beyond Wishful Thinking
Stop wallowing in self pity and start digging out of your rut! Having a dream is good, but you need to develop a path to attain it. If the roadblocks seem impassible, you are focusing on the wrong thing. Go beyond wishful thinking and pinpoint why you are feeling stuck. Try journaling. Brainstorm ideas. Do research. Ask yourself difficult questions and be honest with the answers. What is holding you back from breaking out of your rut? What are you afraid of? What are you passionate about? What opportunities are you currently overlooking? You can start by simply asking, “What if…?” Then take the first step toward making your dream a reality.
3 | Set Attainable Goals
It’s great to paint a vision of your end goal….but don’t stop there. Big-picture plans are needful, but even more so are the intermediate steps to get there. Set realistic goals and reward yourself for smaller achievements on the path toward your ultimate dream. For example, if you are passionate about helping people but find yourself stuck in a cubicle most of the day, what are the steps you need to take to shift your career path toward a more fulfilling role? What hurdles stand in your way, and what can you do to leap over them? Realistically assess your talents and set attainable goals accordingly.
4 | Do Something Different!
We’ve all heard the quote oft-attributed to Einstein that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” You can wish all the day long for your circumstances to change, but they never will if you don’t get moving. Break up your blasé routine, beginning with small changes. Try rearranging your desk or office. Take a mid-morning walk outside to invigorate your mind. Sign up for a seminar or workshop on a topic you find interesting. Engage in a new hobby. Take a personality test to uncover hidden talents and behavioral motivators. You never know where inspiration might strike!
5 | Get Advice
As you consider new possibilities, ask people you respect for advice. Identify your most successful friends and acquaintances and invite them to share their perspective on your current position and how you might move forward. Turn to your closest friends for candor. We often have “blindspots” that friends can point out, if we are humble enough to listen. Sometimes it’s also helpful to enlist a professional. Reach out to a life or career coach. Author and entrepreneur Scott H. Young suggests employing a “weak link analysis” on yourself to overcome personal and professional plateaus.
If you feel stuck and need help progressing toward your career goals, the professional business consultants at Brink Results can help you gain momentum. NOW is the time to grab that shovel and start digging your way out of the rut! CONTACT NOW