As we approach the New Year, many people are looking to form new habits and fresh perspectives, as well as develop new possibilities for themselves. During this process, they may also notice areas of their lives that seem stagnant or stuck.
January is a great time to ride the wave of fresh perspective, in order to get the wheels in motion. If you are feeling stuck in your career or contemplating whether or not to make a big change, here are 5 helpful steps for getting your wheels out of the proverbial career snow bank.
STEP I / Values Check
As obvious as it may seem, many people forget to acknowledge what’s most important to them when they find themselves feeling stuck. A great place to start freeing yourself up is to check-in with your own values by making a list of what makes you most happy in the areas of: 1) career & profession, 2) family & friendships, 3) health & fitness, and 4) spirituality.
Highlight the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves, and then rate how successful you feel about the current performance of each value on a scale of 1 – 10. Pay particular attention to the must-haves that you rated low, and take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate all of the values that you rated high. Ask yourself what’s stopping your must-haves from getting rated at a 9 or a 10. Be honest with yourself – getting unstuck requires a genuine self-awareness.
STEP II / Goal Alignment
Take a contemplative look at your list of values and ask yourself what you really want out of life – at this very moment and beyond. Devise a list of S.M.A.R.T. goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and time-bound that correlate directly with your values and are fueled by passion. You can gut check your passion levels for each goal by noticing any sensations that arise in your body, when you state the goal out load.
For instance, if the goal makes you feel good in your heart or gut, then it is aligned with your passions. If it only makes sense to your analytical brain and doesn’t get you excited, then you may want to write a new goal. Make sure all of your goals are stated in an affirmative manner because the mind doesn’t understand negations. In other words, always state what you DO want, versus what you DON’T want. Affirmative goals connect directly with values, while stating what you don’t want actually derails you from pursuing your passions and fulfilling your goals.
STEP III / Situation Assessment
Spend some time assessing what aspects of your current work situation have the possibility to drive your goals and make a list of them. Also take note of the things that seem to bother you at work, and ask yourself what role you can personally play to convert each problem into a potential goal driver for yourself. Notice how empowered or disempowered you feel when you think about how you can leverage your job to achieve your life’s goals. Could your current job be a perfect means to a larger purpose? Or, is it possible that you could create better goal alignment by simply shifting your focus?
STEP IV / Course Correction
If you feel powerful and purposeful about your current job’s ability to support your goals, then you may just need to approach it with a different filter. Make a list of the things that you can personally do to improve your work situation and rate each item on a scale of 1 – 10, in terms of how committed you are to put forth the effort. Circle anything you rated above 7.
If the majority of your list is circled, then stay where you are and get excited by the idea that your current work situation is purposely supporting your passions, goals and core values! It’s just up to you make the necessary adjustments that will make you feel truly good about your day-to-day.
If you feel disempowered and disengaged by the idea of shifting your perspective to make changes in your current work situation, then it’s probably time to move onto a new job that is more supportive of everything you want and value out of life. Remember that a lot of possibility and opportunities always lie beyond fear. Give yourself the space to try something new and recreate yourself. As Lao Tzu said, "when I let go of who I am, I become who I might be."
STEP V / Thought Transformation
Your thoughts are the most powerful tool you have to create the life you desire. Do whatever you can to exercise that brain of yours and create self-supportive thoughts that affirm your goals. Know that if your goals truly align with your core values, then there is no reason to doubt your ability to achieve them. When you are true to your highest purpose, your higher self will do everything it can to support you to achieve whatever you want. All you have to do is believe in yourself! The most fool proof way to create genuine belief in yourself is to regularly recite a statement in your mind that assumes you’ve already achieved an end goal. For instance, “I AM successful” or “I AM the Director.” When your thoughts clearly steer your goals, they generate positive feelings that lead to productive actions and outcomes.