Get Out of a Career Rut

By: Vinay Kumar

If you’re feeling stuck in your current job, these seven steps will help you move forward and find success.

At one point or another, many people hit a wall. What once energized them has lost its charm. Excitement is replaced by boredom. For some, the corner office has lost its appeal. Yet others come to the realization that they have been living someone else's dream, not their own.

In every case, these people want to do something different. Yet, when asked what specifically they want to do, they are at a complete loss. They are stuck.

If you need to get unstuck, it becomes important to go within and turn your sights to identifying your inherent natural gifts. That is your anchor. It never changes; it is fixed throughout your life. Here's a seven-step process to get you started.

The benefits of executive sabbaticals

"I'd like to take six months off."

Coming from a CEO, those words can strike fear into the heart of a board—not to mention association staff. But a new study argues that executive sabbaticals benefit organizations.

In the report, "Creative Disruption: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building and Leadership Development in the Nonprofit Sector," executives who had taken sabbaticals reported the following:

  • 85 percent shared a greater amount of decision making with managers.
  • 60 percent found their boards of directors to be more effective.
  • 83 percent felt that managers in the organization had become more skilled in their positions.

Step 1: Identify six situations when you accomplished something and you really enjoyed the process—three prior to your college graduation and three after you entered the workforce, post-college. They must be those incidents that were deeply satisfying to you personally. Examples could be anything from "increased invoice processing rate by 35 percent" or "coached and increased winning rate for youth baseball team."

Step 2: For each incident, consider in great detail how you went about accomplishing what you did. What specifically did you do? Who were you with? What was the environment? Were you working with numbers, words, concepts, ideas? This is not something to be rushed through; let it all percolate and rise up from within.

Step 3: Identify what was satisfying to you for each of the six successes.

Step 4: Read what you came up with in steps one through three several times. Look for patterns and central themes. The more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.

Step 5: Share your findings with others who know you well. They can often easily see your gifts when you can't. They also can add valuable insights to your thinking process.

Step 6: Once you know your gifts, accept them. Since our gifts are so integral to us, we often can't see them. When we do, we don't see them as particularly special. This is not true. You are unique, with a unique combination of strengths. To move forward, you must accept your gifts.

Step 7: Begin to apply your gifts to your work and life in general. From the application of your gifts, your purpose-driven career will emerge. Your view of the market and opportunities available to you will expand. More importantly, this alignment of your inner purpose with your outer purpose will provide you with not just financial success, but greater happiness as well. In the end, isn't that what each of us ultimately truly desires?

Wishing you the very best on your journey!

Vinay Kumar is senior director with Marketing General, Alexandria, Virginia. He blogs at Email: [email protected]