"What next? I have reached the peak of my career and I don't see any further growth? I have been handling this profile for many years and I don't find the excitement in me to do the same repetitive work? At this level, I can't change jobs quickly. What do I do? I have huge debts to pay? My health doesn't permit me to travel a lot and this is taking a toll on me. I am stressed and don't see a way forward." Does this or even some parts sound familiar? I know that a specific segment of professionals who have reached a certain stage in their career will be able to relate to what I am saying. Leaving you to reflect upon this inquiry to yourself: What did you create inside & outside of you that you are feeling this way?
Many a times, we start our career with a particular intent. Achieving what we set out for propels us to achieve more of it. We keep running, till we reach this stage of realization & awareness. We never stopped at the pit stop to recharge ourselves or reflect if the direction we are heading to is the right one or something that we really want to walk the rest of our lives. Years later we figure out that we are doing something that we never thought of. How did the twist and turn happen? How things changed and became routine, remains a mystery! Finally you reach a stage where you are shrouded by fear, helplessness, uncertainty and hopelessness. That's when you stand at the cross road of your life to chose what you want to do about this situation. This is the stage when you need to get lost to find yourself yet again. Welcome to the Stagnation Blues!
This is a premium club for all the high-achievers who flew their way through many things in life and finally landed here. These are the times when you tend to forget everything. You forget your strengths, you also forget that this is a cycle that you must face, be prepared & deal with so that you come out not only successful, but attain exponential success beyond this point.
First & foremost, acknowledge yourself for the journey that you have traveled to reach this far. What an incredible bundle of experience resides inside you! While you were busy in your craft mastery, leading others, making ends meet, supporting the needs of the professional as well as the personal world, you lost yourself. Now is the time to remind yourself of that person who was in you, when you first embarked on this journey. Then reflect on this quote by Marshall Goldsmith,"What got you here won't get you there."
After the acknowledgement, now it is time for gratitude for self & every experience that you were a part of in your life. The big question to your apparent challenge: What do you do to enable yourself to have an exponential growth beyond this stagnation? How do you progress in your career? How do you smoothly transition into something that you have been longing for but many things were getting on your way?
Here are some useful tips for you to reflect, journal & accordingly take actions :
1. Find your Ikigai. It is a Japanese tool that will help you figure out that compass/center which includes answers to questions like: what do you love? What you are good at? What you can be paid for? What the world needs? This exercise will enable you to see through what brings meaning to your career & life.
2. Do a SWOT analysis. Then write down an action step for each.
3. Look for external support to help you see your blind spots, help you leverage your strengths and lead you to exponential growth.
4. Don't let fear crumble you. Take actions despite of fear.
5. Believe in your professional strengths and upscale it if needed.
6. Ask yourselves powerful questions and set on a mission to uncover the answers.
It's time that you stop in the pit stop and take an overall look at your being to make a fresh start towards your destination. The more you put the fears under the carpet, the more you run away from acknowledging this phase; the more you will find it hard to overcome. Take your stagnating career to an exponential growth & progression before it takes its toll on you. Let yourself bloom fully. See past the shadow.
With our eyes wide open, we tend to dream. Some dreams are fulfilled and some aren’t. Today I realized a deeper insight about the truth behind unfulfilled dreams. The truth is, “I am responsible for my own failures and no one else.” All successful people have said this and proved it to themselves. Whenever I failed, I put the blame on others, other things, circumstances and many more. I just externalized it and shifted the responsibility of my failure to something else other than myself. I had sight but lacked vision for my dreams & goals. And when you truly have vision, you make it possible. It’s as simple as that. However, this realization takes time and effort from within.
Have you ever thought, what stops us from being where we want to be? Have you ever pondered deeply to reflect upon the reasons for your status quo, repeated patterns, current state of affair etc.? If not, please do. The moment you figure out the truth, everything will fall in place. Your vision, the bigger picture will take you to the place you truly want to be. If you have not achieved what you say you wanted to achieve, it’s because you really didn’t want to achieve that. Your desire for not wanting that dream was stronger than your desire to making it real. Hence you failed and you gave excuses for the failure. I did that too and I don’t shy away from that.
Let’s explore what the internal reasons for failure could be and see for yourself where you stand in this analysis.
1. Deep down you are scared that you’ll fail. The repercussions of failure bother you. You don’t want to go through this all over again.
2. You don’t want to be stirred up. You like being in comfort zone.
3. You like being sympathised for your unfulfilled dreams.
4. You fear being lonely in the path towards your goal.
5. Your commitment level doesn’t inspire you to overcome the challenges.
6. Your dreams don’t connect to your need.
7. You chose to falter your faith.
8. You fear accepting the immense power within you. Because that will take you to places that you have never explored/experienced before.
9. You like to be common and not different.
10.You don’t like to work hard & smart. Yes, truly.
11.You like to procrastinate.
12.You like to run away from yourself.
13.You like being a negative self-critic.
14.You don’t like to see the mirror within you.
15.You are happy where you are; you don’t want to be happier.
16.You have pain but that’s bearable. You enjoy that pain because that reminds you of something that is precious to you.
If you do an honest analysis of this, I am sure you will at least get to know one such reasons for your failure in anything that you set out to do. Whether you chose to share it or keep it to yourself, is your choice. You may want to be there where you are if that place is what you want to be. But, if you really want to challenge yourself and unravel your potential, then I can bet you that you won’t stay there but come out of that zone which is called self-resistance. I have chosen to step out of that. I know it is difficult, but my desire to attain what I want is stronger than anything else. So, I can rest assured that I will succeed. Will you?
Having said this, I don’t deny that external challenges aren’t there. But, all these can be overcomed only if our inner drive & passion are so strong that it takes us to where we want to be. Choosing to have a vision and not just sight, will take you to your goals. Overcoming self-resistance requires lot of self-discipline, practice and programmed activities. You must harness the courage to experience the difference; only then you will see a different YOU with all your dreams fulfilled.
Life & Organizational Development Coach