5 Massive Mistakes Keeping You Stuck

I’ve coached hundreds of talented, accomplished professionals who’ve reached a point in their career where they feel lost, off track or stuck.

Sometime it’s a job they don’t enjoy and aren’t challenged by anymore.

Sometimes it’s work that has taken over their lives.

Occasionally they are in toxic work environments, draining them of their energy, clarity and confidence.

And there’s always the nagging feeling that won’t go away….”I should be doing something more with my life and career.”

Most have tried to make a change at one point or another, only to end up confused, frustrated and overwhelmed. They haven’t been able to find their path to satisfaction and balance. And they’re asking “Is this all there is?” or “How did I end up here?”

If you can relate please know you are not alone. It’s a really common mid-career ‘crisis’. And, it’s solvable.

Yes, there are some very real challenges in making a mid-career change.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Today’s job market is a tough one. The economy is tight and it’s clearly an employer’s game.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>If you’re mid-career, it’s likely been at least 5 years (and probably more like 15 years) since you’ve actively been in the job market. Times have changed since you last looked for work, wrote a resume or sat in an interview.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Then there’s your busy life. You’ve already got a full plate. Trying to pile a major career change on top of everything else worsens the overload. Balancing it all can feel really overwhelming.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>And of course, you’ve got a lot at stake. You’ve got a good salary, benefits, vacation and perks. You may have status or prestige, or developed a good reputation in your field or industry. Having so much at stake triggers fear of the unknown. You wonder what you’d have to give up in order to get a job you really enjoy and feel good about.

Certainly, these are very real challenges and with the right strategy you can overcome them.

But, it’s not these realities that are most likely to derail your career change. The most dangerous obstacle are the completely avoidable mistakes and misconceptions almost everyone makes when trying to change career direction.

Are you making any of these 5 Avoidable Mistakes?

  1. Making too many assumptions.

If you stay stuck in your head worrying about the ‘What If’s,’ you are making too many assumptions.

What if I ….

…can’t get a job in this economy…have to take a pay cut…am overqualified…am under qualified….too old…. Not as good as the competition….. have to go back to school… fail

These are nothing but stories you tell yourself. You don’t know if any of it is true. These are just fears, masked as facts you’ve bought into. And they stop you in your tracks

2. <!–[endif]–>Not Looking Out for Number 1.

If making a career change is a top priority for you, act like it. Stop trying to squeeze it in between everything else. Stop waiting for life to ‘get less busy’. It won’t.

It’s not selfish to want to enjoy your work and life. It’s not selfish to want to do work that brings out your best. It’s not selfish to want to have more balance in your life. Put this at the top of your list, not the bottom.

3. <!–[endif]–>Putting up with too much ____________.

You fill in the blank. You know what you’re putting up with. Maybe it’s the complaining co-worker, the unappreciative boss or friend, too many commitments, or the unbearable workload.

By tolerating you drain your energy, cloud your thinking and lower your self-confidence.

You need energy. You need clear thinking. You need to be confident. Or you won’t be able to make a career change. And you’ll be stuck in exactly the same place next week, next month, next year.

4. Taking the wrong actions, in the wrong order.

In this market you have to put your best foot forward. You can’t afford to throw together a quickie resume, slap it on some online sites and hope for the best.

There is a process and strategy to make a change in direction, especially at midcareer. Taking action in the wrong order will discourage you and seriously limit your success at finding work that fits.

5. Spinning your wheels, waiting for the answer to appear.

Have you read all the career books, taken all the assessments, and asked everyone you know what they think you should do? Are you waiting for that “EUREKA!” moment where it all seems clear? And are you more confused than ever?

Indecisiveness is a sure sign that you’re spinning your wheels. You are relying on others more than you are listening to yourself.

Until you are clear about who you are, what matters most to you, what strengths you possess and what makes you tick, you’ll just confuse yourself by getting more and more input from others.

This article was featured in the Carnival of Work-Life Balance at: http://www.arewebalancedyet.com/2008/04/bigfoot-lochness-monster-and-work-life.html

3 Responses to 5 Massive Mistakes Keeping You Stuck

  1. Pingback: Rob Moshe » Blog Archive » The Coaching Carnival #2

  2. Pingback: E3 Success Blog » Blog Archive » E-3 Carnival of Success Principles - March 22, 2008

  3. Shawn,

    When I read your headline from the business and entrepreneur carnival, it resonated with me.

    I find as well that too many people are busy however they aren’t productive because they don’t know the right methods to move forward.
    With the first mistake you have on your list…fear is one of the biggest reasons most people aren’t doing what they wish they were doing. And it can keep people from all sorts of things in their lives…finding the right person, getting the right job, taking up a new hobby, making new friends. And I like to think that if you just do a little bit at a time (especially when it comes to starting a business) it makes it less fearful. Start researching about the industry or job you would like to have. Attend a class or networking event to talk to others in the industry and ask questions.

    Also with example #5, I find that some of my clients come to me because they have a website and may even have products but they wonder why “no one is finding them”. I think that one of the mistakes people run into to is the simple notion that people should find them because they have a site up on the internet. Well, it takes work and time in order for others to find you. You have to “tell them” you are there by attending networking chat, social networking, forums and such.
    Also, they often think that things on the web happen fast and most of the time it doesn’t work that way…it takes time to build up a rapport with others. So many times, they get frustrated and give up.

    Very nice post Shawn—great information, simple and concise.

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