Often times when we get comfortable in a role, we put down roots—and well, get even more comfortable. We can make sense of a job that is known. It’s predictable. It’s safe. It’s autopilot amenable. Career autopilot can serve a purpose. It helps us shift priorities when life happens. When we have babies or losses. When we run marathons or tend to injuries from said marathons.
But something happens when we sleepwalk through our careers.
We wake up:
Writing the same deck for the umpteenth time with a new set of logos.
Falling down the same rabbit holes because a senior leader heard a buzzword.
Giving in to decisions that aren’t aligned with our values.
And we wonder, "How did I get here?" The answer is simple—you forgot or chose not to do these two things.
1. Focus on learning and growth
When we identify how we want to grow in our careers and then step onto the path to doing so, we boost our energy and our expertise—coming up with new clues for longer-term goals. Lucky for us, there are a multitude of ways to address our development areas that range from hundreds of dollars to free. Reignite your learning with workshops, classes, conferences, conversations, YouTube videos, Meetups, books, podcasts—and any other way you can think to possibly digest content in the coming year.
2. Network and connect without an agenda
One critical component to a thriving career is your network, otherwise known as the relationships you nurture over years. When we get comfortable in a job, we can disappear on our network. Then, when it comes time to either look for a new job or attempt to get unstuck, we must—yet again—start from zero with our people. What could have been ongoing watering and tending to the garden becomes a daunting and draining task. When you continue to make time for your contacts, colleagues and the people you meet doing weird and interesting things, you grow, you gain energy, you cultivate relationships, you help others and most importantly—you feel connected.
Exercise, clean eating and rest are essential for your physical health—just as continued learning and ongoing networking are key for your career health. When you are in the space of momentum, energy and self-awareness that flows from these two things, you can make ongoing subtle shifts in your focus, rather than waking up in a rut one day that will require a monumental shift. Make the time. Choose the things and the people that ignite you so that watering the garden feels nurturing to you, too! And then, reap the rewards of the spring bloom that shows up in the form of community, possibilities and opportunities you never expected to appear.