Listen to the Episode
Feeling stuck in your career? Unsure of how to move forward and get unstuck? In this episode of the Career Strategy Podcast, we explore three powerful questions that can help you navigate your current situation and create a plan for the future. We take you through a step-by-step process to gain clarity and identify what might be holding you back.
By reflecting on where you are now and what you truly want to achieve, you can start to uncover the areas in your career that need attention. Our practical advice encourages you to think about the skills you’re currently using and growing, as well as the ones that may need more development. We highlight the importance of aligning your future goals with your current actions, offering valuable insights to guide you on your journey.
So, if you’re ready to break free from the feeling of being stuck and take charge of your career, this episode is a must-listen. Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to dive into these powerful questions that will help you get unstuck, gain clarity, and create a strategic plan for your future. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to unlock your potential and propel your career forward.
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Discussion Questions About The Episode
- Reflect on your current career situation: What aspects of your job do you enjoy and find fulfilling? What skills are you using and developing? What do you dislike about your current company, boss, or team?
- Visualize your future career: Where do you see yourself in the future? What job title or role do you aspire to have? What skills and experience do you want to acquire? How do you want to feel in your future career?
- Identify the obstacles: What is currently preventing you from reaching your desired future career? Is it a lack of certain skills, education, or certifications? Are there specific experiences or opportunities that you need to pursue? What other factors might be holding you back?
- Explore possible strategies: Based on your reflection, brainstorm potential actions and strategies to overcome the obstacles you identified. How can you start acquiring the necessary skills or experience? Are there opportunities within your current company or industry that you can explore? Can you seek out additional education or training?
- Seek support and accountability: Who can you reach out to for guidance and support as you work towards getting unstuck in your career? Consider mentors, coaches, or supportive colleagues who can provide insights, advice, and encouragement along the way. How can you hold yourself accountable for taking action and making progress towards your career goals?
Episode Notes & Links
Sarah Doody [00:00:00]: Do you feel stuck in your career? Maybe you’re bored or you feel like your skills have plateaued or, heck, maybe your salary has plateaued. Do you see maybe current or former colleagues getting promoted or doing work that you wish you were doing? If so, these might be signs that you are stuck in your career. And I’m guessing the question you have is, how do I get unstuck? And today, I wanna give you 3 questions that you can ponder to help you get unstuck in your career. And honestly, these questions can really help you analyze and understand many situations in your work or your life where you might feel stuck. So grab a piece of paper right now because you’re going to want to take notes on this one today. I’m Sarah Doody, host of the Career Strategy Podcast. Many professionals are seeking more impact, flexibility, growth, and let’s face it, getting paid what they’re worth. Hurt.
Sarah Doody [00:01:09]: But how do you unlock this in your career? It starts with strategy. I’m taking you behind the scenes of what’s working for my career coaching clients, you’ll hear strategies and actionable, yet sometimes against the grain, advice for how you can be the CEO of your career you’re stop dreading Mondays. Ready to level up your career? Let’s get after it. So when it comes to being stuck, many people know they are stuck, but they don’t know how to get unstuck. Right? And I’m guessing that might be where you are at today. And part of the reason why people are stuck is because they have a lot of ideas of how they could get unstuck because they Google things, they ask chat GPT for advice or people for advice. They get overwhelmed with options, and they don’t know how to prioritize all of these paths and ideas and things that they could do. Basically, they’re stuck in this sea of solutions, really.
Sarah Doody [00:02:16]: But when you’re trying to get unstuck, it can be helpful to step back from all of these possible solutions and instead zoom out and remind yourself of your longer term goals. Oftentimes, in, you know, the panic to get unstuck and get out of situations that we don’t like, it’s easy to forget about the future. So that’s what we’re gonna do today. We’re gonna look towards the future to help you create an action plan for how you can get unstuck that will serve you now and in the long term. For example, maybe you’re looking for a new job, and your focus is solely on getting hired. Deep down, though, you might have a desire to be a manager one day, let’s say, 2 years from now. It would be really strategic to try and get hired somewhere now that would give you opportunities to grow these management skills and get more experience so that 2 years from now, you have undoubtedly those skills and qualifications. But this will not happen if you don’t zoom out to identify these longer term goals.
Sarah Doody [00:03:26]: So here are the 3 questions you can ask yourself to get unstuck in your career or, like I said, in many other areas of your life. And it might be helpful to hit pause and get that piece of paper if you didn’t already. You’re gonna wanna take that piece of paper and divide it into 3 columns, and you’ll see why in a moment. Okay. So hopefully, on your piece of paper, you’re ready to go. At the left, I want you to write down the 1st question, where am I now? To help you dig a little deeper into this specific question related to your career, here are some things you can think about concerning where am I now. What am I doing? Right? What is my job? What skills do I use every day? What do I actually like doing? What do I not like doing in my job? What do I like and dislike about my current company, boss, team, and feel free to get as granular as you want. If you don’t like that your company doesn’t have certain benefits, or that you have to come into the office 3 days a week, those are things that you should write down because they are a reflection of your current reality.
Sarah Doody [00:04:39]: So what do I like and dislike about my current company, boss, or team? You can take that further if you want. Alright, what skills or experience am I growing right now? What skills or experience have maybe reached a plateau or do you feel like are falling behind because your current situation doesn’t afford you the opportunity to utilize those skills. Okay, next question is, how am I feeling? Are you excited every day? Do you dread every day? Do you live for the weekends? Are you optimistic on a Monday morning or you’re just counting the hours until Friday on a Monday morning? Also, what thoughts keep running through your mind? There may be repetitive thoughts that just keep spinning around like, I wish I could get out of here, but I don’t know how to do it or I’m really being underutilized in this role, pay attention to those kind of narratives because those can be clues to help you understand what’s going on in your current reality right now. So these questions are gonna give you insights to help you do a quick audit of your current reality, your current state so you can get to the root of what is going on in your career right now. Now the 2nd question I want to ask, this is going to go with the far right of your piece of paper. So not the middle, the far right. The second question is, where do I want to be? So we just talked about your current reality. Now I want you to think about your future.
Sarah Doody [00:06:17]: You’ll see why in a moment. We’re doing these in a really specific order. But I want you to think about where do you wanna be in the future. And it’s really up to you to decide how far into the future you want to go. If 2 years feels like too much, feel free to go 1 year. Maybe you wanna say 5 years. Whatever feels right to you is what you need to do right now. So there are questions that we use for the last step that may help you out concerning where you wanna be in the future.
Sarah Doody [00:06:50]: So think about what do you want to be doing. Maybe as specific as a job title or company you want to work at, or that you wanna be a manager, that you wanna be using specific skills. What do you wanna be feeling? Right? Think about what you just wrote down for how you feel right now. What shifts do you wanna maybe see in the future? What do you wanna be thinking? Right? What kind of thoughts that you might be experiencing right now? How do you hope those change in the future? And then, of course, what skills or experience do you want to have acquired and or what do you wanna be putting into practice developing in your job every week, every day, every month, etcetera. Right? What do you wanna be honing in terms of your craft, your skills, etcetera. And again, feel free to get as specific as you want. This is for your eyes only, or if you share it with someone, even better. Think about the future version of you and your career, and feel free again to hit pause, do some brainstorming.
Sarah Doody [00:07:59]: Think about the contrast of what you put in column 1 and what you put over at the right of your piece of paper. Okay. Now for the 3rd question, this is going to go in the middle of the paper, and the question I want you to write down is, what is stopping me? So now that you’ve thought about where you are right now, where you wanna be in the future, your current reality and your future reality, you have to start thinking about what is stopping you. What is standing in your way from going from the left of the piece of paper to the right of your piece of paper. So in the middle column, you could think of things such as what skills are stopping me. I don’t have these skills, or I haven’t developed these skills enough. What maybe education or certifications could be beneficial to help me get from where I am to where I wanna be? What experience do you need? Do you need more management variance experience in different industries working on different types of products, getting certifications. I don’t know.
Sarah Doody [00:09:03]: If you wanna be a manager someday, for example, and you have zero management experience, then that might be one of things in the middle that is stopping you. Right? If you’re searching for a job too, maybe what’s stopping you are things like your resume is outdated and you’re not ready to apply for jobs, or you need to brush up on your interview skills, or you need to do some networking and build relationships with people at companies where you wanna get hired, feel free to get as specific as that as well depending on your current situation, if you’re not searching for jobs that might not apply to you. Alright. Now this is where the magic kinda happens. After you’ve made this list of the things that are stopping you, I want you to read back through it and ask yourself, which of these things are truly within your control and which are not within your control, and put a star beside the things that are within your control. Because, for example, if one of the things that you think is stopping you is the current economy, or companies aren’t hiring people like me, then that is not something that you can control, and so you would not put a star beside something like that because you can’t control it. But for the things on your list that you can control such as my resume needs to be updated, put a star beside that because you can control that. And this is very important because it it is going to help you get laser focused on only spending your time and energy on things that are within your control.
Sarah Doody [00:10:43]: It’s very easy to think about and complain about and fret about things that are not within your control, but that is only a distraction of really achieving progress in the things that you can control. So this is gonna help your what’s stopping me list in the middle, get shorter, you have no power over these things, so it’s completely wasted time and energy to worry or think about these things. If you’re still with me, you have now done a very quick little research project on you. And I’m sure, there are alarm bells going off, you are starting to think about things differently. And the next step now is to really look at the things in the what’s stopping me column and look at everything to the right of that in the where do I wanna be in the future column, and start to build a timeline to help you focus and prioritize on the things you need to do in the middle column to help you with your longer term goals over at the right. So essentially, your what’s stopping me column or the things within your control will become your professional development or to do list. And it’s important to remember, you can’t do everything at once. You can’t build every skill at once.
Sarah Doody [00:12:19]: You can’t learn every software at once or get every degree at once. So how do you prioritize it? You look at the column of where I wanna be in the future to help you prioritize your professional to do list in the middle. And as you begin to look at this and schedule and prioritize different skills you wanna grow or courses you wanna take, certifications, etcetera, it is going to be a lot easier to make professional progress. And I really encourage you to try and choose 2 or 3 things to focus on each quarter so you don’t get overwhelmed. So in that middle column of what’s stopping me when you realize, okay. I need to do x, y, and z, try and focus on only 2 or 3 of those things. And then for every month in that quarter, you can get more granular and say, okay. I said I wanna develop my skills as a researcher.
Sarah Doody [00:13:19]: Okay. So for this month of August, here is what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to take this course. I’m gonna read this book. I’m going to attend this research conference, for example. That’s how you start to actually take action. And when you break down your big goals of, say, getting better at research, you have to get to that more granular level and schedule it out on your monthly agenda. But if you try and do 6 things in that middle column all in 1 quarter, you’re going to get overwhelmed.
Sarah Doody [00:13:55]: Okay. I really wish I could see your piece of paper because I’m honestly very curious to see what it looks like. And, actually, feel free to tag me on social media and show me. I would love to see it. Okay. So to recap, the 3 questions to get unstuck. Where am I now? What’s my current reality? Number 2, where do I wanna be? What is my future reality? And number 3, in the middle of your paper, what is stopping me? What is preventing me from getting from the left of the piece of paper, your current reality, to the right side of the piece of paper, your desired future reality. Thanks for listening to the Career Strategy Podcast.
Sarah Doody [00:14:38]: Make sure to follow me, Sarah Doody, on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn. If anything in today’s episode resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Tag me on social media or send me a DM. And lastly, if you found this episode helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it with a friend or give us a quick rating buy or review on Apple Podcasts.