Becoming unstuck

Path through woods with sunlight

Do you ever feel stuck? In a meeting? With a project? In a relationship? With your career? When facing a big life changing decision or uncertain change? Not a nice feeling, is it? It can be very debilitating. The good news is that feeling ‘stuck’ is common, normal and easy to address once you know how. 

I find that when I’m feeling stuck and not taking action, there’s always a good reason. It’s just a question of working out what the reason is. And asking a question is a good way to pinpoint the reason. Try this for yourself now. 

Think of something/somewhere where you feel stuck. Got one? Now, ask yourself What’s the block?Listen to whatever pops into your head or heart. Now, ask yourself Who or what would help shift the block?Next, ask yourself; What’s the first step forward and when will I take it?Clearer now? See a way forward or at least a chink of light? That was a little taster of how coaching works. 

All our clients are feeling stuck in some way. They are going through a major transition, decision point or transformation and come to us because they are fed up of being stuck and are ready and willing to move forward, fast and easily.  We just help them with the able bit. What I most love about career coaching is that I help people to help themselves. To unstick themselves, in their own way and at their own pace. I’m simply an energising catalyst for their change and growth. I don’t give them a solution, they uncover it for themselves, which is empowering. I’m like a pair of swimming armbands, needed for a short while. 

What are the causes of feeling stuck?

Stuckness has many causes. A big one in our busy world is overwhelm and having too much to do and not enough time.  Feeling stressed and tired makes this even worse because you become less resourceful to find a way forward, a vicious circle.  

Career Ladder

Another common cause is when part of you wants to do one thing and another part wants to do something else, like an inner tug of war. The result? Feeling stuck and inaction. This is caused by conflicting values (what is important to you), something we explore in coaching. 

Another one is unconscious self-sabotage. You know those little voices in your head? You’re not going mad, they are normal! They are called ‘Gremlins’ and can tie you in knots and cause your stuckness ! 

‘If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.’ Denis Waitley

Gremlins are the unhelpful voices of your limiting beliefs, e.g. I’m not intelligent enough, I’m not creative enough, I don’t deserve it, I’m too old, I don’t know how etc.. We all have them, they just need to be identified and then managed. 

Other causes can be summarised by the ‘don’t knows’. Think of problems or challenges that you or your organisation is facing which feel stuck currently, and reflect on which ‘don’t know’ is causing the bottleneck. 

  • Don’t know how– uncertain re capability or knowledge or lacking skill, actual or perceived 
  • Don’t know why– unclear purpose, vision, outcome or motivation, misalignment with values or beliefs  
  • Don’t know who– unclear role or responsibility 
  • Don’t know what– unclear objective, task, action or brief  
  • Don’t know when/where– need for planning, prioritisation  

All of these ‘don’t knows’ can be shifted and transformed and create a breakthrough.   

12 simple tips to help address stuckness 

Here are some different solutions to help you when things feel stuck. 

  1. Do tasks oneat a time and clear away everything else from your desk and mind 
  2. Write tasks very clearly and specifically so you are left in no doubt about what you need to do
  3. Keeping your final outcome in mind, identify the first step. Don’t worry about the 9thor 10thstep until you’ve taken the first 
  4. Create a 1 page plan for projects
  5. Segment tasks to make them feel clearer and help you prioritise
  6. Have a ‘stuckness audit’ with yourself, for a project or your organisation to identify the ‘don’t knows’ 
  7. Identify the consequences of not addressing the stuckness and the benefits of taking action 
  8. Check in with yourself regularly and make time to ask yourself a self-reflective question 
  9. Get a coach or mentor to help you to see the ‘wood for the trees’. If you are standing in the middle of the trees, it is understandably hard to see the path out into the clearing.   
  10. Speak the truth. Express what you see, feel or hear when you notice stuckness. Simply articulating it can help shift it
  11. Acknowledge that stuckness and inaction is okay sometimes and it isn’t normal or realistic to have growth spurts all the time, otherwise it would be Spring all year round! 
  12. Think of someone who you admire. Look at the problem through their eyes. What would they do? 

‘They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.’ Andy Warhol

Rachel Brushfield

Rachel Brushfield is The Talent Liberator and founder of Energise – The Talent Liberation company, established 1997 and based in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. 

Rachel is an experienced career strategist and coach with a marketing background who helps professionals and executives to achieve an uplifting breakthrough at major career crossroads. Career fulfilment and portfolio careers are specialisms. Rachel is co-founder of the network PWHub for senior women employed in Oxfordshire companies. 

In uncertain times and for a future-proof career, you need to have a career plan A, B and C. Do you? 

Energise events

Energise Career workshop 9.30-5pm Thursday 11 July 2019 Charlbury, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Please e mail Rachel for details.

Career crossroads

Major career crossroads occur at the following times: redundancy or the option on voluntary redundancy or early retirement; a ‘landmark’ birthday, especially 30, 40 and 50; planning to or having children; working in ‘young’ industries such as advertising and the acting profession; a bereavement or end of a relationship and your boss leaving.

With some industries disappearing altogether, others shrinking as jobs go abroad or technology replaces human labour, it is better to be on the front foot and plan your next career move than on the back foot and have change forced upon you. In any company, there will be a proportion of people sitting in jobs that they hate, waiting to be made redundant.

‘To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly’

Henri Bergson

I often find that people who resist necessary change which will help them to grow either get made redundant or they become ill, with their body ‘going on strike’ expressing their inner resistance physically.

Which of the reasons below for being at a career crossroads can you identify with, either from the past or at present?

  • Company acquisition/merger/restructures leading to redundancy or a change in culture
  • Your career progression is blocked
  • You want to set up your own business
  • You like self employment, but your business model isn’t working for you e.g. turnover gained vs. effort and hours put in and stress
  • You seek a lifestyle change e.g. move to the country or less stressful job
  • Self employment isn’t what you thought it would be and you want to return to full time employment
  • You seek more financial security rather than having unpredictable income so that you can get a mortgage
  • Having children means that you want part time/flexible hours instead of full time work
  • Becoming a new mother has made you reassess your priorities and your old job just doesn’t fit you any more
  • Post maternity leave; you return to work, but things have moved on and you are not sure of your role or that your new role is you
  • New responsibility and promotions are being given to other people and youngsters are snapping at your heels on the way up, so you are unsure of what the future holds for you with your current employer
  • You are seeking more meaning and purpose in your work
  • You feel bored, unstimulated or undervalued
  • You realise that you chose your career for your parents or teachers and not for yourself
  • You’ve evolved as a person and your career just doesn’t feel right any more
  • Your company is relocating and you don’t want to move and uproot yourself/your family
  • You’d like to take a career break and go travelling, but are afraid of how this might affect your long term career prospects
  • As you move up the ladder, you do less and less of the things that you enjoy and more tasks that you don’t like, e.g. managing people or marketing your business to get clients, instead of the work you love

Standing at a career crossroads can feel quite daunting – change is unpredictable and fear natural and common. You worry about making the wrong decision, leaving something that is safe and secure and regretting it and making a mistake. The longer you have been in a career or company and the more that security and stability are important to you, the more daunting change can feel.

It is vital to plan and research your career move thoroughly to minimise the risk and ensure that what you move to is better than what you have moved from.

‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it’ Alan Kay

Many people find it very hard marketing themselves because they are so close to themselves that they can’t see what they have to offer, and are not sure how to promote their skills and experience to prospective employers.

Investing time in increasing your self-awareness and knowledge so you know yourself inside out, is time well spent. Researching the market to identify what makes you different and how you can help businesses address key problems and challenges is essential.

Enlisting the help of a career coach through your career transition helps the journey to be easier, Thinking through what’s important to you, what motivates you, how you want your career to fit your life and any pros, cons and time and financial implications of decisions and choices is key. This will increase your clarity and focus.

Creating a clear goal, step-by-step plan with simple actions that you can easily take each week as you create the change, minimise the pain and maximise the gain of career change.

Self-belief and confidence is infectious and if you are clear, you will come across authentically and with conviction which will increase the likelihood of success.

10 simple tips to help you at a career crossroads

Here are 10 simple tips to help you next time you are at a career crossroads.

  1. Be clear that you’re not just bored with other aspects of your life and are focusing your frustration on your work. Things can get better at work, especially if you make them happen and change your perception.
  2. Speak with someone who has successfully made a career transition recently and ask their advice
  3. Write a list of your contacts and keep in touch with them to help them as well as to help yourself
  4. Know your achievements and skills inside out
  5. Plan time regularly in your diary to create your career change
  6. Try before you buy – think about how you can try out your planned new career before making the leap
  7. Ensure that you have a good support system in place to help you through the change e.g. a savings cushion, someone to champion you and help you through any knockbacks along the way
  8. Research thoroughly using the web, LinkedIn, your industry associations etc.
  9. Remember that you always have choice and there is never only one right road at the crossroads
  10. Buy self-help career change books – there are more and more available as career change escalates or get a career coach to help you through the practicality and emotions of your career transition

Standing at a career crossroads can be scary and exciting at the same time. What’s your next step?

Rachel Brushfield is The Talent Liberator and founder of Energise – The Talent Liberation company, established 1997 and based in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. Rachel is an experienced career strategist and coach with a marketing background who helps professionals and executives to achieve an uplifting breakthrough at major career crossroads. Career fulfilment and portfolio careers are specialisms. Rachel is co-founder of the network PWHub for senior women employed in Oxfordshire companies.

Energise events

Energise ‘Mindful career planning for success and fulfillment’ event 6-8pm Wednesday 5 June 2019 at the Jam Factory, central Oxford.

Book now, limited availability.

Energise Career workshops Monday 17 June and Thursday 11 July 2019 Charlbury, Oxfordshire. Please e mail Rachel for details. Early bird tickets end Friday 31 May.

Get Tickets Here

Next PWHub event Wednesday 12 June ‘Find your hidden creative genius’ the Jam Factory, central Oxford. Early bird tickets end Friday 31 May.

Get Tickets Here

Your next move in your career

If you are planning your staffing requirements or your next move in your career, Avatar Recruitment Consultancy would be delighted to support you!

Does your CV need an overhaul? Many of the CV’s I see have to be tailored to the role. Putting the effort into getting your CV right is just as important as the interview as this is your selling tool to get to that opportunity!

So many I speak to feel that one CV fits all. Yes there is a lot of conflicting advice out there and the old rule of two pages is challenging if you have a mature CV, however there are ways of getting round this:

  • Look at the font size you use, could you make it smaller?
  • Just like your CV needs a personal profile, so do your past employers. Underneath the name of the company, add 2-3 lines of the nature of the industry, turnover and the countries covered.
  • Next add your major duties in 3-4 lines
  • Add your achievements in 3-4 lines.
  • Don’t add your whole career to the CV, just the last 10 years and prior to that only add in job titles, dates and the company name if you feel it is a selling point?

This whole process cuts down too much embellishment and is clear and concise! I should know I read thousands of CV’s during the course of the year and always look for key words to jump out at me. Just like a website and advertising have key words, so should your CV!

If you are seeking new staff this year, take a look at the cream of who we are trying to help and if your teams needs some new input, or your staff use the New Year as an opportunity to move on, we can assist you?

If you feel need any assistance finding the perfect role for you then please call us on 01295 724570!

In other news…

Michelle Morgan Employment Law Solicitor who has recently returned to work after starting her family provides her expert advice in employment law:

What happens if I lose my baby during my pregnancy?

All the legal consequences of childbirth apply when a child is born (at any stage of the pregnancy). Since a miscarriage or still birth in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy is not classed as “childbirth” by the medical profession, you would have no special rights to leave or pay under the maternity legislation. Any absence on medical grounds would be treated in the same way as usual sickness. In the event of a stillbirth after 24 weeks, your maternity leave and pay will start the day after the birth (if it has not already started).

What happens if my baby is born premature?

Your maternity leave would start the day after the date of birth and the usual provisions outlined above would apply.

What if I am dismissed during my maternity leave, do I still receive my SMP?

Yes. Your leave would come to an end but if you are entitled to SMP you will continue to receive this for the remainder of your SMP period.

I think I have been dismissed because of my pregnancy or maternity, do I have a claim?

If you are dismissed where the only (or principal) reason for your dismissal is related to your pregnancy or maternity leave, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

I have been told that I am at risk of redundancy, am I to be treated differently?

You must be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available. In essence, you will be treated more favourably than other potentially redundant employees. If there are no suitable alternative vacancies, then you can be made redundant during or after maternity leave. However, there must be a fair selection process when deciding which employees will be made redundant. If you are made redundant whilst on maternity leave, and if you qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay, you will continue to receive it for the full 39 weeks.

I want to return back to work on different hours/days, can I?

Flexible working can include working part time, working school hours, working flexitime, home working, job sharing, shift working, staggering hours and compressing hours (where you work your total number of agreed hours over a shorter period).

Although you have the right to ask to work flexibly, your employer doesn’t have to agree to it. However, they must give your request serious consideration and have a good business reason if they decide not to agree.

You can make one request to work flexibly each year. This must be in writing. You should say how you think the change in your working pattern will affect your employer’s business and how this might work in practice.

Your employer must also follow a standard procedure for considering your request. This includes having a meeting with you. If your employer wants to turn down your request for flexible working, they must give their reasons in writing. You have the right to appeal if your request is turned down. You must do this in writing, within 14 days of getting your employer’s decision. You should give your reasons for appealing and make sure your appeal is dated.

Am I allowed time off work to breastfeed?

There is no statutory right to time off work for breastfeeding.

I’ve just returned back to work after a period of maternity leave and I am pregnant again. What are my rights?

Your rights are the same as outlined above.

I work part-time. Are my maternity rights different?

No, your maternity rights are the same as those of a full-time worker.

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