If you are reading this article, it is likely you would like to see yourself somewhere different than you are today. Perhaps you have always dreamed of going back to school or going for that big promotion. Or, perhaps you have been out of the work world for a period of time, and would like to get back into it. In fact, you would love to take that next step, "If only ..."
Throughout my career and in my career coaching practice, I have encountered many people seeking guidance in how to reach the career goals they strive towards. There have been times in my life when I have pondered the same questions. What I have realized is the common thread we all share in every situation when it comes to getting from point A to point B: ourselves. Below are some basic considerations worth thinking about if you are feeling stuck in a rut or stalled in your career.
In order to be your best, you have to be uncomfortable.
You owe it to yourself to take a chance on you. If you are becoming complacent with your current situation, you risk losing sight of the bigger picture and how you can improve. If you truly want to grow as a professional, you can't get too comfortable with where you are at. In other words, if you are not challenging yourself, nothing is going to change. Sticking inside of your comfort zone does nothing more than give you a false sense of security. Each time you choose not to step outside of it, you will certainly shield yourself from rejection, failure or making a mistake. However, you will also isolate yourself from the opportunities that surround you. Consider this: nobody has ever achieved true success by staying inside the false safety of their comfort zones. If you are not challenging yourself, you won't grow.
Focus on how to make it work.
Too often, we allow our adult minds to sabotage any chance of success the moment we are presented with a challenge. When we are faced with a new way of doing something, a shift in responsibilities or an unexpected obstacle, our minds immediately race to think of all the reasons why it won't work. We start to overthink the challenge and what can go wrong. As a result, we freeze and remain stuck in that moment of shock, disappointment, fear and self-pity. Imagine what would happen if you challenged yourself only to focus on how to make it work the next time you are presented with an obstacle. You would gain the vision to see beyond the moment and consider the possibilities of how to make it work for you. You would surely see what others couldn't. The success you have been seeking would begin to come because you would be opening yourself up to experience it.
Ask for what you want.
In my career, I have seen a lot of damage resulting from professionals who don't know how to ask for what they want, or who convince themselves it is not OK to do so. Each time you hold back from asking for what you want, you risk eventually resenting somebody, which leads to a lot of internal and external conflict. Successful people are good at advocating for themselves because they know it isn't anyone else's responsibility to do it for them. To do this well, you first need to understand the difference between asking and demanding. Stating what you want is an effort to communicate clearly, so you and the other person can find a way to be content with the outcome. Demanding is insisting that the other person gives you what you want, without regard for the impact on them.
As you consider what steps to take next, think about how you might be holding yourself back. If you are serious about finally seeing the success you deserve, you need to determine what is most important: protecting yourself from possible failures, or opening yourself up to the endless possibilities of professional and personal satisfaction.
Today's the day to take control over your career. It's time to take that first step towards success.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, professional development and executive coaching for more than 13 years. She brings leadership experience from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.changeagentsee.com.