5 Easy Steps to Get a Stalled Career Moving Again
We all have commitments: life, family and work typically take center stage for busy professional women. But as they do, career goals may get put on the back burner — or even forgotten about all together. The next thing you know, your career has a life of its own and it’s carrying you away from your intended direction.
So what happened? How did your career get so off-course? When did you turn your time, on a daily basis, over to something that’s not as exciting as it once was?
If you feel that you’ve lost charge of your career, then you’re long overdo for a refresher course in career management. But take heart. It’s a simple as these five tips that will put you back in the driver’s seat, steering your career in right direction:
1. Dream Big. Reflect on your childhood dreams. What did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse, a firefighter, a lawyer? Even if you’ve hit your target, there’s always some tweaking to do. You might find switching your industry or employer, or rewriting your current job description will draw you closer to a job that’s an ideal fit for you, and allow you to regain control of your intended career path.
On the other hand, dreaming big doesn’t always require big changes; perhaps spearheading a project that aligns with your lofty career visions, or simply volunteering in your wished-for field can fill the void and open new doors. Change isn’t easy, but when you remember your hopes and dreams, you’ll be more motivated to realize them.
And remember, daydreaming isn’t just for kids. It’s what drives people to success, however As long as you’re not letting go of your professional longings, you’ll feel fulfilled and in control of this area of your life.
2. Plan Wisely. Take a few minutes now to think about where your career is heading. Are you on track? Are you happy? If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, then you need to think about your next steps, including where you want to go from here, and how you’re going to get there. Why? Because planning wisely isn’t a waste of time; rather, it’s a written agreement you make with yourself to commit to your career goals.
The same can be said if you feel that your current career path is not fulfilling: planning can help you get back on course, since leaving your career to chance isn’t going to fulfill you in the long run, and it certainly won’t lead you closer to your goals. A plan is the start of something greater. It may evolve along the way, but it’s the first step in taking charge of your long-term professional goals.
3. Sync Up. Every career should leverage your strengths and provide you with exciting challenges, along with apt rewards. It should also align with your passions. In fact, you’ll find that your best work comes when you have all of these areas in sync: strengths, challenges, passions and rewards.
It’s not difficult to make the necessary career adjustments to do so, and it’s not unheard of to change careers midstream to better accommodate your gifts. So work with your coach to clearly define these areas and identify gaps in your current role. Then establish and enact a plan for syncing up your current career with your talents and needs.
4. Enlist Others. Working with a coach, a mentor, “mastermind group” or career-minded colleagues will help you get inspired and stay focused when it comes to taking charge of your career. When you’re able to bounce ideas off of others or gather inspiration and advice, you’ll feel more energized about your future. Working alongside others will also help you cultivate the number one career skill: communication, since excelling at delivering your elevator speech and negotiating your worth all comes from practicing the art of communication. The end result: by enlisting others to help you succeed, you not only gain cheerleaders, advisors, and accountability partners, but powerful connections that open new doors.
5. Avoid Over-Committing. If you feel that you need to invest tons of time in something that’s daunting, you’re less likely to commit. The same can be said for your career.
So if you over-commit to polishing your career portfolio, networking or investing hours of time on professional development, you just might burn out quickly. Solution: don’t make a big commitment. Instead, block off at least fifteen to thirty minutes once every two weeks or so to invest in your career. Use this time to update your resumé, catch up with a mentor over coffee, or read articles related to your profession. With this disciplined but easy-does-it approach, your efforts will grow exponentially.8