Negative “unconscious patterns,” that cause us to think, feel, act, and react in certain ways, may keep us feeling stuck in life and career.
Why? Because when we approach things negatively, we often create negative results.
Negative thinking, if left unchecked, can breed fear, anxiety, stress, depression, frustration, low self-esteem, and a whole bunch of emotions that will leave us feeling stuck in life and career.
Take, for instance, a friend of mine who’s also a brilliant engineer. Let’s call her Faye.
Table of Contents
- The Case with Faye the Engineer
- Top 11 Reasons Why You’re Feeling Stuck In Life and Career
- The 9 Things You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
- 16 Things You Can Do to Stop Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
- Feeling Stuck in Life and Career: What to Do After Getting Unstuck
The Case with Faye the Engineer
Faye is a smart woman who can calculate large numbers in her head like it’s nothing. She’s a whiz when it comes to spreadsheets. She could even break down even the most complex equations as if they were just single-digit fractions!
That’s the thing with Faye, she’s so brilliant with numbers and everything else about engineering that it’s easy to assume that in the next 10 years, she’d be able to rise to the top of management and become the successful career woman she’s supposed to be.
Except that didn’t happen.
In fact, when I met her again for the first time in ten years, I just realized that she had been working in the same company with the same entry-level position she had ever since she started working fifteen years ago!
And I thought to myself: where could have things gone wrong? Certainly, it’s not about her skills and experience! Like I said, she’s brilliant at her job, and she has at least 15 years of experience up on her sleeve to prove it!
Company management, maybe? That could be a factor because let’s face it: not all the higher-ups would be willing to give her the promotion she well deserves.
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But I had a chance to speak with Faye…and things began to unfold.
Sure, it was the same old Faye, who’s the same brilliant woman as she has always been. But when she began sharing with me her frustrations with her job and her feeling stuck in her career and life in general, I noticed a few things, particularly in the way she talks about herself…
“I’m not good enough”
“I can’t compete with others because they’re far more intelligent than I am…”
“I don’t deserve a promotion”
That made me realize something. She’s probably stuck in the past decade because her own thoughts are holding her back!
I know what you’re thinking…
Maybe she acts like that because she’s already feeling hopeless… and yes, you’re probably right about that. But have you ever thought about what difference it could make if she would think differently?
You see, despite her being great at what she does, all these years she had been doubting her skills, abilities, and everything about herself. And it’s not just doubt: she has a bad habit of telling herself that she’s stupid and won’t amount to anything.
And this is when I realized that Faye could have ended up in a much different situation had she stopped the self-sabotage and focused on the right things instead.
Think about it: who would believe in your capacity if you, yourself, are having a hard time believing in — yourself?
Not very convincing right? Now, let me ask you a question:
Are you a Faye, too? Have you been feeling stuck in life and career for so long that it feels easier to throw in the towel and just let life take its course?
If so, then don’t worry. You’re in the right place. Because in today’s post, we’re going to take about that feeling of being stuck in life and career, specifically:
- The Top Reasons Why You’re Feeling Stuck In Life and Career
- 9 Things You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
- 16 Things You Can Do to Stop Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
- What to Do After Getting Unstuck
Top 11 Reasons Why You’re Feeling Stuck In Life and Career
There are plenty of reasons why people feel stuck in their life and career. Some of them may have been feeling unfulfilled, not knowing what they want next, or being dissatisfied with their current job.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some common causes of stagnation.
1. Your current situation is no longer suitable for you.
Stagnation happens when you’ve reached a certain level of success, only to find yourself unable to move forward.
It could be because you’re bored with your job, or you’re unhappy with where you are. Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling stagnant, it’s time to change something.
For over 15 years, she’s been working in an entry-level position despite her becoming more skilled and experienced at what she does. Her needs have significantly grown over the years, too. And yet, she’s earning the same salary for the last decade. Obviously, something has to change so she can grow as well.
2. You are not in alignment with your values.
If you feel stuck in life and career, it could be because you’re not aligned with your values. Values are the foundation of who we are and what we stand for. When we align ourselves with our values, we become happier, healthier, and more successful.
To figure out what your values are, ask yourself these questions: What does success look like to me? What do I enjoy doing? How do I spend my free time? What do I believe in?
Once you know what your values are, you can begin to incorporate them into your everyday life. For example, if you value physical health and fitness, then you might choose to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and sleep enough over a lot of things. If you do things that are aligned with your values long enough, you’ll probably be able to live a happier and much more fulfilled life.
3. You’re feeling overwhelmed by too many things at once
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re juggling too many things at once.
When you’re working on multiple projects simultaneously, for example, you might end up spending all your time trying to juggle instead of focusing on any one project. And if you’re working on a single project, you might find yourself distracted by everything else around you. And yes, this alone can leave you feeling stuck in life and career.
4. You often compare yourself with others
It’s natural to compare ourselves to our peers when looking for inspiration or motivation. But too much comparison can also lead to feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.
When you compare yourself to others, you’re focusing on the negative aspects of your own personality instead of the positives. And if you focus on the negatives, you’ll always come up short. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of people are left feeling stuck in life and career.
5. You’re working on the wrong goals.
I know, you’ve heard this before. But if you’re still struggling to find motivation in your work, then you’re probably focusing on the wrong things.
Maybe you’re too busy working on other people’s goals that you have no idea what yours are. Or maybe you just don’t have any clear vision of where you want to go. If so, then it might be time for a change. Try to focus on your own career path and life goals instead.
6. You don’t have enough support from other people around you
It’s no secret that having a supportive network of family and friends can make all the difference when it comes to success.
When you’re feeling stuck in life and career, you can always reach out to those who care about you and ask them for help. You might even consider asking some of your colleagues for advice. They may have faced similar challenges themselves and can offer valuable insights into how they overcame their problems.
7. You lack clarity about what you want out of life
Stagnation is often caused by a lack of clarity about what you want. It’s important to know what you want because if you don’t, then you won’t know whether you’re moving towards something or away from something. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.
8. You keep getting caught up in negative emotions
It’s important to understand that feelings aren’t facts. They’re just thoughts, and they don’t always reflect reality. So when you start to feel bad, ask yourself if the emotion is valid.
If it is, then try to identify the cause. Once you’ve identified the source, you can work towards changing it.
9. You’re a perfectionist.
Perfectionism is a huge roadblock to success. If you think you’re never going to succeed because you’re always striving for perfection, you’re probably right.
But there are ways to overcome perfectionism without giving up on your dreams. For example, you could set realistic goals for yourself. Then, as soon as you achieve them, move on to the next goal. By doing this, you can enjoy the process of reaching your goals without worrying about being perfect.
10. Uncertainty scares you.
When you’re too scared of uncertainty and failure, you’re going into every situation with a mindset of defeat. And when you go into situations with that mindset, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
So how do you overcome the fear of failure? First, you must accept that you’re going to fail sometimes. Then you need to learn from your failures so you don’t repeat them again.
Second, you need to understand that the only thing holding you back from achieving success is your own mind. So start changing your thoughts. Change your beliefs. Change your mindset.
And finally, you need to set goals and work towards them. Remember, if you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll never get anywhere.
11. You were hardwired to think that you’re not good enough.
We all have our own unique set of beliefs and values. These are things we believe to be true, and ultimately, they shape how we live our lives.
Unfortunately, some of us are unfortunate enough to be hardwired with negative thoughts at a very young age.
In fact, I discovered that Faye, the brilliant engineer we talked about at the beginning of this post, was somehow conditioned to think that she was stupid. Apparently, this happened when she was still a kid, at 5 years old, when a teacher scolded her for not following directions. She was told she was stupid in front of the whole class, and since then, that same old voice had been pestering her for decades — until she finally believed it.
But would have things gone a little differently, if her teacher encouraged her instead of calling her stupid?
If you’re like Faye, who grew up believing that you’re not good at something, you’re going to find it difficult to improve. After all, it’s difficult to change something, especially when it’s already rooted to your very core. But it’s never too late to make some changes.
Later, we’ll discuss how you can go about the changes so you can stop feeling stuck in life and career.
But first, let’s discuss…
The 9 Things You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
Stuck in a rut? It can feel like there’s no escape when you find yourself stuck in a career (or life in general).
You may not always be able to control the current circumstances, but there are still things you can do to improve your current position. Here, we will explore nine common mistakes a lot of us do when we feel stuck:
1. Beating yourself up
We all feel stuck sometimes. Whether it’s due to “bad luck”, poor choices, or just plain laziness, we all feel like we could have done better. It’s easy to beat ourselves up over our failures, but if you really want to change your life for the better, you need to stop beating yourself up and learn from your mistakes instead.
2. Focusing on the negative
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you feel stuck in life and your career. It’s natural to look back at past mistakes and failures and wonder whether you could have done anything differently. However, if you spend too much time dwelling on these negative thoughts, you might miss opportunities to move forward.
3. Blaming others
Sometimes we feel stuck in life and career because we blame other people for our problems. It’s easy to become frustrated when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, but if you really look within yourself, you’ll probably realize that you’re the biggest obstacle standing between you and success.
Instead of focusing on external factors, try working on improving yourself and your skills. Who knows what kind of solutions you’ll come up with!
4. Doubting your capacity
One of the biggest challenges that many people face in life is doubting their own ability to succeed. It seems like everyone else has everything figured out, while we’re still struggling to figure out how to pay our bills or save money. We feel like failures when we fail to achieve goals, and we doubt ourselves when we fall short of expectations.
It’s easy to get caught up in these negative thoughts and feelings, especially if you’re feeling stuck in your career or personal life. But instead of feeling discouraged, try thinking positively about your situation. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can and that you deserve success just as much as anyone else.
5. Sharing your struggles with others who aren’t supportive
When you feel stuck in life or career, it’s tempting to share your frustrations with friends and family members. After all, they’re probably going through similar experiences as well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually end well. When you share your struggles with someone who isn’t supportive, they may not understand why you feel so down, and they may even make things worse.
6. Neglecting your own needs
Feeling stuck? The main reason could be that you aren’t taking enough breaks from work, or you’re spending too much time working instead of enjoying your free time. Whatever the case, if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it’s best to prioritize your own needs and put others aside even if it’s just for a moment.
Taking time off from work can actually lead to greater productivity and creativity later on. In fact, studies have shown that workers who take time off every few weeks experience higher levels of motivation and satisfaction. So whether you’re planning a vacation or taking a break from work for a couple of days, make sure to take advantage of these benefits!
7. Not taking action
Many times we feel stuck in life and career because we’re afraid to take action. We fear failure, rejection, and not knowing what will happen next. And yet, many of us often imagine how our lives would be different if we took risks, tried new things, and failed. But we never get to actually try anything.
We end up spending years in our careers without ever really making a difference. And then we wonder why we aren’t happy or successful. Sooner or later, we’ll realize that the only thing holding us back from living the life we deserve is inaction.
The best way to overcome this problem address those fears head-on. Take small actions each day that move you towards your goals.
8. Waiting for someone else to take care of things for you
Sometimes, we feel stuck in life and career because we’re waiting for someone else to take action for us. Many of us wait for our boss to iron things out for us, or we wait for a promotion or raise from our manager. But it doesn’t always go as we intend to. As a result, we end up achieving nothing while others move forward.
And yes, this alone can lead to frustration and disappointment, especially if you’re trying to accomplish big goals. The best way to avoid feeling stuck in life and career is to take control and accountability for everything that falls into your locus of control.
In other words, don’t just entrust your life or career to other people. Instead, take responsibility for yourself and your future. If you want to achieve something great, start by doing what you can do today.
Remember, no one else has your best interests at heart, but you. So if you want to achieve big things in life, stop waiting for others to act first. Take charge and build your own path. Be a leader of your own destiny.
9. Giving up
One of the biggest mistakes people make when feeling stuck in life and career is giving up. After all, it’s easy to just throw in the towel and just let things happen.
But if you look closely, you’ll notice that many successful people had similar situations to yours. At some point in their lives, they felt hopeless but took action anyway. Successful people didn’t give up; they kept going until they achieved their goals.
So don’t let your current situation discourage you from following your dreams. Instead, focus on what you can control, and try to learn from your failures.
It’s true that you can’t change everything overnight, but if you persevere, you can eventually reach your goal. That’s why it’s so important to stay positive and focused on the future instead of dwelling on the past. Don’t lose hope, and don’t ever quit trying.
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16 Things You Can Do to Stop Feeling Stuck in Life and Career
Are you feeling stuck in your life and career? Maybe you’ve been working in the same job for years and feel like you’re not learning anything new. Or maybe you’re just bored with your current situation.
If so, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and do something exciting! In this article, I’ll share with you 17 simple things you can do to stop feeling stuck in your career and life.
1. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with someone who supports you
One of the most important things you can do when feeling stuck in life and career is to share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences with someone you trust.
When you feel stuck, it’s hard to move forward because you’re afraid of making mistakes. But sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who understands gives you the courage to take risks and try new things.
This is especially true when you’re struggling with a tough decision or trying to figure out where to go next. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others helps you gain perspective and makes you feel better about yourself.
Remember, sharing isn’t just about talking about problems. It’s about finding solutions together. And once you’ve found them, you’ll be able to move forward.
2. Try to form better habits.
Habits are critical to success. They’re the things we do every day that almost become automatic to us.
But sometimes, we get stuck with bad habits, and they’re often hard to break. So what can you do instead?
Replace bad habits with new and better ones. When you have good habits, they become easier to maintain over time. And eventually, you’ll find yourself doing more than you ever thought possible.
3. Take that vacation you’ve been putting off for months.
If you’re feeling stuck in life and career, take that vacation you’ve been planning for months.
Vacations are great because they give us a break from our daily routine. They help us relax, recharge, and rejuvenate.
But vacations don’t just benefit us physically. Vacations also give us mental breaks we need for better mental health.
So whether you’re looking forward to a long weekend away or a weeklong trip overseas, consider taking a vacation to help you stop feeling stuck in life and career.
4. Establish a habit of gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful force for change, and it can change the way you think and feel. It even helps you see opportunities instead of obstacles.
More importantly, it helps cultivate an attitude of appreciation, which leads to a surge of positive emotions like joy and hope.
In other words, gratitude can help you overcome any challenges you face by helping you stay motivated and focused.
5. Focus on things that you are passionate about.
If you’re feeling stuck in life and career, it may be because you’re focusing too much on the wrong things.
Instead, focus on things that you are truly passionate about. This will help you feel happier and more fulfilled.
6. Take a break from social media
Social media is great when used correctly. But when you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or bored, it can be a huge distraction and time-waster.
The solution? Take a break from social media. Turn off your phone and computer. Go outside and walk around. Get some fresh air. Stretch. Take a nap. Or just go for a drive.
Doing these things will help you recharge and refocus. And when you come back to work, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes next.
7. Try to look at your situation from different perspectives
When we’re stuck in life or career, it’s hard to see things from any perspective other than our own. We tend to focus only on the problems and challenges in front of us and ignore the positive aspects of our lives.
But when we try to view our situations from different perspectives, we see things a little differently. Perhaps, you’ll be able to find a solution that you’ve never even considered before.
8. Rest and recharge
Too much stress is bad for our health, and it’s bad for business. Stress makes us feel stuck and prevents us from achieving our goals. So when we’re stressed out, we tend to procrastinate, avoid tasks, and put off making decisions.
When we’re stressed, our body produces cortisol, which causes us to crave comfort foods and unhealthy habits. This leads to weight gain, poor sleep, and fatigue, which is why it’s important to rest and recharge.
You don’t have to do anything fancy, though. Just make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, and spend time with family and friends.
9. Reassess your goals
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details that we forget what we really want.
We lose sight of our long-term goals and priorities. And we end up doing things that aren’t aligned with our values.
So if you’re feeling stuck in your career or life, reassess your goals. What does success mean to you? How do you define happiness?
And then, set new goals based on those answers. You might decide to change careers, move somewhere else, or even start your own business.
10. A mindset shift, perhaps?
Sometimes we need to completely rethink how we approach our jobs and our lives. If you’re feeling stuck in one area, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your whole approach.
Maybe it’s time to switch gears and try something totally new. It could be as simple as changing your job title. Or moving into a new industry entirely.
Or maybe it’s time to give yourself permission to pursue your dreams. After all, who knows where they might lead?
Remember: change doesn’t happen overnight. But if you keep trying new approaches, you’ll eventually find the ones that stick.
11. Challenge yourself every day
The best thing about being human is that we are always learning. We grow and develop over time.
This means that no matter where we are now, there’s always room for improvement. There’s always more to know, more to understand, and more to experience.
So next time you’re feeling stuck, take some time to think about what you’d like to achieve. Then use these tips to help you break free.
12. Surround yourself with positive people
One of the biggest reasons we feel stuck is because we surround ourselves with negative people.
They drain our energy. They tell us what we can’t do, instead of encouraging us to dream big. Some of them even force us to compare ourselves to others. All these could result in us feeling bad about ourselves.
Conversely, when we surround ourselves with positive people, we feel better about ourselves. We start thinking bigger, dreaming bigger, and believing in ourselves.
So next time someone tries to discourage you, remember that you deserve to be happy. Don’t let anyone get to you and steal your joy. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who will support you.
13. Revisit your old hobbies
When was the last time you took a step back from your work and thought about what you love to do?
What were you passionate about before you started working? Did you ever consider going back to school or taking an online course? Or, do you love to paint but never have time to practice?
Whatever it is that brings you joy, revisit it. Maybe it’s something you’ve been meaning to get around to. Or maybe it’s something you’ve forgotten about altogether. Either way, it’s worth revisiting.
Because even if you don’t end up pursuing those passions again, at least you’ll have learned something new. You’ll have gained valuable knowledge about yourself. And you might have fun while doing so.
14. Enjoy the outdoors more
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of life and forget to enjoy the little things. But if you want to feel happier and more fulfilled, you need to make time for activities outside of work and home.
Whether you choose to spend your free time hiking, camping, fishing, or just relaxing, spending time outdoors helps you relax and recharge. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people and build relationships.
15. Be in service to others
If you’re feeling stuck in life and career, consider volunteering at a local charity or nonprofit organization. Volunteering helps you learn valuable skills, build relationships, and gain confidence.
Volunteering also gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It makes you feel like you’re making a difference in the world. And when you volunteer, you’ll be helping others in need.
That’s why volunteering is one of the most effective ways to stop feeling stuck in life and work.
16. Ask for help
If you’re feeling stuck in life and career, it’s never a bad idea to ask for professional help because here’s the thing: there are many reasons why we feel stuck. Some of us have been taught to hide our feelings, others may be afraid to admit weakness, and some just don’t know where to turn.
Whatever the reason, there are professionals who specialize in helping people overcome problems and achieve goals. They can help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you specific strategies to move forward.
Whether you need help with personal issues, career growth, relationship challenges, or any other problem, seek out a professional counselor or coach. These experts can help you identify the root cause of your problem and develop a plan to solve it.
Feeling Stuck in Life and Career: What to Do After Getting Unstuck
When you feel stuck, you get frustrated and lose hope. It’s not fun, and it’s definitely not productive.
In this post, I’ll share 7 tips on what you can do after getting unstuck so you won’t fall into the same trap again.
1. Always be on the lookout for other opportunities to help yourself grow as a person.
If you’re not willing to take risks, you’ll never have a chance to grow. That’s why you need to be open to taking risks. Risks may lead to failure, but they can also lead to success.
But here’s the good news: when you fail, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and move on.
Because here’s the thing: you can’t afford to stay where you are, and there really is no reason to feel stuck. You deserve better than that.
So go ahead, start looking for ways to improve your skills, build your network, advance your career, and have a better life.
2. Don’t skip ME time!
Remember if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll eventually feel stuck in your life and career again.
Take some ME time every day. Whether it’s a walk, a workout, reading, writing, or just relaxing, make sure you give yourself at least 30 minutes every day. Doing this will help you stay focused and motivated, and will keep you feeling fulfilled.
3. Keep growing and building your network.
If you don’t keep growing and building your network, you risk stagnating.
Networking is not just about meeting people; it’s about learning from them and helping them grow too. And remember, networking doesn’t mean only talking to people at work. It means connecting with anyone who can help you reach your goals.
You may be surprised at whom you meet through networking. You may find yourself chatting with a stranger who later becomes a friend. Or you may learn something valuable from a colleague who would otherwise never cross your path.
Networking is a great way to build relationships and stay connected. And when you’re ready to take the next step, networking is a great way to connect with people who can help you achieve your dreams.
4. Be around people who inspire, motivate and support you
Whether you’re struggling with a relationship, money, health, or anything else, you need to surround yourself with people who inspire, motivate, and support you. These people can be family members, friends, coworkers, mentors, life coaches, or anyone else who cares about you.
So, the next time you feel stuck, remember that you aren’t alone. Reach out to someone who inspires, motivates, and supports you. You just might find that you’re able to move forward from your current situation.
5. Keep challenging yourself
Being stuck is a terrible feeling. But when you’re stuck, there’s usually a reason for it. The problem may be that you’ve reached a plateau where you feel like you’re not making any progress.
To move forward, you need to take risks. You need to try new things. And you need to keep pushing yourself to reach new heights.
By taking risks, you’ll learn new skills and develop new abilities. You’ll find ways to improve your life and career. And eventually, you’ll experience massive growth and advancement.
6. Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth
One of the biggest reasons we feel stuck in our lives is because we don’t embrace failure as an opportunity for personal growth. We fear failing, making mistakes, and getting rejected. But when we fail, we learn valuable lessons and grow.
When we’re afraid of failure, we tend to avoid risk, which leads to stagnation. The only way to break out of this cycle is to be willing to take risks. And the only way to do that is to face our fears head-on and embrace them as opportunities for growth.
7. Develop your resilience
People who feel stuck in life or career often suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and fear of failure. They’re afraid to try new things because they believe they’ll fail.
If this describes you, then developing your resilience is critical to feeling better and achieving your goals. Resilience refers to our ability to bounce back after experiencing adversity.
Resilient people tend not to let small setbacks turn them down. Instead, they learn from these experiences and use them to improve themselves. This helps them develop skills and knowledge that help them achieve their goals.
To build resilience, you need to practice positive thinking and find ways to keep yourself motivated.
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In conclusion, I know that it can seem like the road ahead of you is completely blocked. But don’t let that keep you from moving forward. There are plenty of ways to break free of these patterns and move toward success.
I hope you found this guide helpful. And if you know a Faye, who’s feeling stuck in life and career and could benefit from reading this post, feel free to share this with them.
Also, a little update about Faye: she’s taking baby steps to get her life on track again by revisiting her old hobbies and improving her self-esteem. She also became more mindful of her habitual negative self-talk.
I’m excited to see how her story continues!
Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best!
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