Many of us reach a point in our careers where we feel disengaged & frustrated, and we don’t feel able to move forward. Something is holding us back.

Yet we’re often not as stuck as we believe. I examine below 8 things that might be holding you back, and most importantly, some ideas on how to overcome them.

8 things that might be holding you back

Time

Most of us are juggling about as much as we can handle in the present and sometimes too much. We can just about make it through the day, doing what we need to. But that leaves little time to do anything else.

Try to create some time and space just for you.  Some simple ideas include:

  • going for a lunchtime walk
  • spending 30 minutes a week to consider your development
  • dedicating half a day a month to focus on you and your needs
  • getting up half an hour early to give yourself some space

Energy

Energy levels can certainly be a challenge. What seemed easy when we were young, catches up on us as we get older. What’s more, it’s easy to get caught up on the caffeine & sugar rollercoaster to get through the day. This can understandably leave us with limited energy to think about anything other than the here and now, let anything more significant.

There are a few simple steps the majority of us could take here. These are not original, and we probably already know them, but not all of us adhere to them!

Steps include adopting regular sleep patterns, eating well, keeping hydrated and taking regular exercise. These will not only help you to optimise your energy levels now, but will also give you a fighting chance for the future. Check out my blog on energy for more ideas.

Lack of compelling goal

Many people may feel stuck because they don’t know where they’re aiming. This is partly understandable given the time & energy constraints, already mentioned. However, those with compelling goals seem to overcome these constraints and find unparalleled stamina and drive.

Having a compelling goal can also make it easier to identify or validate the next steps required to forge your path.

If you have a goal, great! Is it compelling enough? What are you doing to bring it to reality? What more could you do to secure or accelerate it?

If you don’t yet have a goal, don’t worry. Trying asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is it that I really want? – A simple exercise I love is writing “One thing that I really want out of life is…” down the left-hand side of a piece of paper 10-12 times and then filling it in.
  • Or maybe ask yourself, “What am I determined to achieve?”

If you’re still struggling to come up with your compelling goals – get in touch for a chat.

Confidence & imposter syndrome

Many of us lack confidence in our own abilities, often in spite of evident signs of success. This is a symptom of Imposter Syndrome.

Through my work on Imposter Syndrome over the past year, I’ve discovered that it’s surprisingly common with over 6 in 10 UK workers experiencing it within in their work.

I encourage my coaching clients to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Which of your successes are you not taking ownership of?
  • Which of your beliefs about success are holding you back?
  • Which of your strengths are you overlooking?

Fear

Many people stay rooted to where they are from fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection. It can feel nice and safe in our comfort zones, so why risk stepping out of here into less comfortable territory? Yet often, that is exactly where the magic happens!

When we are operating within our comfort zones, things are typically easy (for us) and there is low effort required, hence the “comfort”. It can feel safe, familiar and good – at least initially.

Outside the comfort zone is the stretch zone. This could be learning something new, adopting a new behaviour or trying a new experience. Being in the stretch zone is not always comfortable (although it isn’t necessarily uncomfortable), but it shouldn’t be painful either.

Benefits if we do venture out:

  • Our comfort zones grow in size and we grow as individuals
  • We are more open to new and different experiences
  • Just imagine what we could discover about ourselves if we venture out every once in a while!

Here are a few tips if you’re considering stepping out and ultimately stretching your comfort zone:

  • Preparation – time & occasion permitting
  • Act ‘as if’ you can already do something
  • Try not to over analyse things, just go with it
  • Look to see what transferrable skills or experiences could help you
  • Practice small stretches over time to help you feel more agile and ready for when any bigger opportunities present themselves

Investment to date

By the time we reach a certain point in our careers we will have invested considerable time and effort. This could be in the form of study, hours worked, overtime, money, and sometimes blood, sweat and tears! Surely, we’d be foolish to sacrifice this, to put this all aside and to have to start again from the bottom of the ladder.

But what if your experience to date did count for something? What if the skills that you’ve built up were transferrable?

Whether transitioning to a new role, a new organisation, a new career or even setting up on your own. My clients often find that their skills and experience count for much more than they initially thought and can actually constitute a great USP that others don’t have.

Financials

Many people feel stuck for financial reasons. They’ve got commitments in terms of mortgages, bills, credit etc. that need to be paid. The most obvious way to do that seems to be via a regular salary. And the safest way to do that is by staying put – even if they’re not happy.

What if you could actually earn more afterwards, from making a change? This could come from a promotion or moving to a different organisation. Taking a risk is often compensated by financial reward.

But earning a salary is not the only way of making a living. As I’ve learned from many of my entrepreneurial and self-employed peers, multiple revenue streams are often the way forward. From property to different services and various goods in between, most of them have more than one income solution in order to pay their monthly bills.

Friends and family

Our friends and family can truly be our greatest supporters, but they may also be the ones holding us back from what we’re truly capable of.

If we voice that we’re not happy or unfulfilled, they may not understand. Surely, we must be, we’ve attained a certain level of success so far – often through blood, sweat and tears – sometimes against all odds. Sometimes, we’ve had to make sacrifices to get where we are – and don’t they know it! – either having been directly impacted or observing it at close quarters.

So why aren’t friends & family always as supportive as they could be? Maybe they are jealous, of what you’ve already achieved and what you still might become. Maybe they fear for their own position, their own status, their own security. And this is completely understandable. Change can be uncertain, but so can standing still.

Ultimately, you may just need to be honest with them, however hard this might be. It’s better to give them some warning of any potential change rather than a big surprise. Ultimately if you’re planning to be working for the long term, doing something that you enjoy will be much more sustainable and rewarding.

 

Wrap-up

Many of us reach a point in our careers where we feel disengaged and frustrated, and we don’t feel able to move forward. Something is holding us back.

Yet we’re often not as stuck as we believe. I’ve outlined 8 things that might be holding you back. Do you recognise any of these? What could you do to address them?

If you’d like to discuss any of this with someone, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

 

Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.