3 ways to unstick your career
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
coaching clients usually come to me because
they are stuck in some critical way. They stuck in confusion, suffering from analysis paralysis,
fearful, overwhelmed, not living up to their potential or just plain sick and
tired of their unsatisfying lives and careers.
Helping people get unstuck is what I do every day — and what I’ve done in my own life as well (read my personal story
on overcoming intractable "stuckness”). When we’re mired in
chronic negative thinking and behaviors that keep us small and helpless, there are three powerful ways to get unstuck
The top three ways to release
yourself from the doldrums and get moving again are:
1. Reconnecting to your unique brand of creativity. Thousands of
professionals today are overwhelmed by the work and family responsibilities on
their plates. Juggling what’s important seems virtually impossible. To
cope with extreme demands of work and home, they've moved away from any form of
creativity that is not tied to accomplishing and achieving. But when
you’re stuck, you need completely new ways to see your life and your
challenges, and you can’t get to those new ways if you’re locked up tight in a
"duties and responsibilities” box with a lid that won’t budge.
One way through your
challenges is to take a step back, to reengage in a creative endeavor that
lights you up, energizes and restores you and allows some distance and
disengagement from having to "make it happen” and from the "achievement”
scorecard you use to measure your success.You need a break, and the most
productive form of a break is to tap into your creativity in a way that brings
Related: "Listen up: Or pay the career penalty"
Think back to when you were a kid — what creative activity did you
simply love to engage in, that would make hours fly like seconds? My creative outlet is singing and performing, and I’m just not as
happy without music in my life. To satisfy my love of music, I’m in a local
performance choir that rehearses weekly and performs several concerts a year,
and I perform and record with my husband, jazz percussionist Arthur Lipner when I can.
I’ve realized that I am able to bring my highest self to music and
to the folks who share music with me, because I do it for pure joy and for no
other reason. My ego isn’t attached or involved. And that helps me
tap into more joy in my other arenas (work, family, etc.).
Others find joy
in painting, drumming, writing a novel, origami and the
list goes on.You might say, "Oh come on, Kathy, who has time for
creativity?” My response is this: You’d better make the time, because it’s
through your own brand of creativity that you’ll be able to regain access to
your vast internal resources and wisdom, hear your heart and your intuition,
and ultimately find your own way again.
What was your favorite creative outlet
as a child that would enliven you again?
2. Behaving in totally uncharacteristic ways. Did you ever see the
movie "Yes Man” — the funny romantic flick starring Jim Carrey? It’s about
a guy, Carl, who’s stuck in his sad, unfulfilled life and decides after a
series of catalyzing events that he’ll say "Yes!” to every opportunity, request
or invitation that presents itself thereafter. Through this new positive lens,
his life is totally transformed and he discovers in himself a more expansive,
positive, capable and successful individual than ever before.
I love this idea, and it
supports the notion that it is pure insanity to continue to do what you’ve
always done, expecting a different outcome (thanks, Einstein). Try something
100-percent new, completely different from what the "typical” you would
normally do or choose and commit to continually doing what is uncharacteristic
of you. Say "Yes!” to what you would have said "No way” before. Your life will feel fresh again and you’ll see yourself in a
new light. You’ll discover just how versatile, courageous, powerful and unique you truly are.
What exciting, positive step or action
can you do this week and next that would make folks say, "Wow, I didn't expect
her to do that!”
3. Disengaging from the one outcome you are desperate for. Finally, bring to mind
the one specific outcome that you've attached desperately to — that one
promotion or new business deal or professional identity or plum project that
you think you must have to live a happy, successful life. How is it going for
you, to be so emotionally attached to this one outcome or experience? Not
so well, I’d guess. Usually, this type of desperate need or attachment
leads to suffering, fear and anxiety and pulls you away from the desired goal
instead of towards it.
An over-attachment of this kind limits your
ability to see yourself and your life as expansive and flexible as it truly is.
And it tricks you into thinking that joy and success can only be experienced
through one form or one way. It’s a myth to believe you must be or do only one
thing to be happy.You’re much more than you think you are. (Download
my free Career Path Self-Assessment to discover who
you really are.)
Is there one outcome you’re holding on to desperately, that’s bringing
you misery in the longing for it? Let it go.
Becoming unstuck and moving forward is
entirely in your hands. Don’t sit and wait for the outside world to
change.It’s time to be and do something radically different now, to get
moving. Are you ready to say, "Yes!”?
Kathy Caprino is a nationally recognized women’s
career and leadership coach and speaker dedicated to the advancement of women
in business. Author of Breakdown, Breakthrough, Caprino is a contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post and AARP. Follow her on Twitter at @kathycaprino.
Kathy's original post on this topic, visit her Forbes Leadership blog "Career Bliss."
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