Believe it or not, it’s common for ambitious people to fall into professional ruts at times. Perhaps this even seems more common among ambitious people, because they often have such a well-developed sense of where they want to be in life and feel the pain more strongly when circumstances apparently conspire to keep them from realising their full potential.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur running your own company or are diligently climbing up the corporate ladder, you’re likely to find that, sooner or later, you seem to be stagnating in your professional life.
If you notice that happening, you will, of course, want to find ways of getting out of the rut, moving forward, and taking your career to the next level. Here are a few suggestions for achieving that.
Pause, take stock and reorient yourself in terms of your future goals and your current trajectory
Awareness is extremely impossible for anyone who wants to be the master of their own professional destiny. You need to be able to see with a clear eye where you’ve been, where you’re heading, and what you’re doing in the here and now that impacts your trajectory.
Likely, if you’ve been on a particular professional path for a while and have noticed yourself stagnating, your plans and routines need an update. Perhaps your initial goal served you well when you first set it, but now it needs to be drilled down and specified in greater detail.
Or maybe you need a new goal altogether in order to capitalise on your experience and the developing nature of your ambitions.
Maybe it’s time to write a book to distil the information you’ve been blogging about for years? Or maybe it’s time to retrain.
Go back to school and advance your education
Sometimes, you may find that, despite your experience, certain professional doors are closed to you by virtue of the fact that you don’t have the right academic credentials for advancement in a given industry.
More often, you may find that there are just certain gaps in your understanding of the technical aspects of your career, or the nuances of your field, that hold you back and prevent you from realising your full potential.
In these sorts of cases, going back to school and advancing your education can be an excellent career-resuscitating remedy, whether you end up pursuing an online MBA program in business intelligence, or get a degree as an industrial psychologist.
Maintain an ongoing principle of always “looking for a better job”, or looking for the next opportunity
The famous cartoonist and author Scott Adams writes, in his part-autobiography, part-success-guide, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, that a particular system he was taught by a friendly CEO changed his professional life for the better.
The system in question? Don’t view “doing your job” as your job. View “finding a better job” as your job.
By maintaining a principle of always looking for a better job, and being alert and watchful for the next big opportunity, you dramatically reduce your risk of falling into a slump, and make it much more likely that you’ll be able to escape from any slump you do find yourself in, far more rapidly and easily than you would otherwise.