I hear from men and women at all levels of their careers that things are OK, but they have an overall stuck feeling. They have a yearning that's not being met—whether it's creativity, meaning, collaboration, mentorship or for f$ck sake—a sane boss. Whatever it is, they do a lot of these things to deal with it:
- Complain to friends, family and dogs
- Read articles and books that tell them how they should change themselves
- Compare themselves to others who seem to have their shit together (at least on Instagram. #noimnotastalker)
While at least the first two of these approaches seem like they could be productive—without one critical element—you're digging the hole deeper.
Instead of all this ruminating, you must take action. It could be teeny, tiny or ridiculously huge. It could be directly related to your job or in my case (back in my digital marketing days), it could be so disconnected that you get the head scratching response of, "You feel stuck in your career so you're running the New York City Marathon? No comprendo, friend."
In retrospect, I didn't have any good responses (except the snarky ones) for this line of questioning, but somehow I knew it was exactly what this newbie runner needed to do to find my answers. And man, did I find what I needed in this most unlikely of places. After the marathon, I realized, "I'm not that great a runner and I ran a marathon. What can I do with the things I'm great at? And why am I not doing them right now?" This one thought, combined with the knowledge that I accomplished something I didn't think possible, gave me the courage to pursue coaching and writing—helping people live lives they once thought impossible, too!
What will you DO to step out of this funky stuck place? (Hint: it doesn't need to be a marathon! Phew.)
- You can set up conversations with those three people you've been stalking admiring on Instagram. How did they get where they are?
- You can commit to seven days of journaling, gratitude or meditation. Getting quiet sounds like non-action, but it's one of the most powerful things you can do to get in touch with your inner compass.
- You can ask five people what they think your strengths are.
- You can book a trip to somewhere you've always wanted to go.
- You can volunteer for a cause in which you care deeply, but never felt you had the time to support.
You've got options. The key to knowing if you've found the right answer is if you respond YES to any of these questions:
- Will this bring me joy?
- Is it something I'm curious about?
- Do I feel lit up inside when I think about it?
- Does it scare me (at least a little)?
Now, stop reading, thinking and thinking some more. Put down your phone. And go do something. DO SOMETHING! Right. Now. Un-stuckness is waiting for you.