It happens: you’re working really hard, everything is going well, or so you thought, and then it happens—you end up smack-dab in the middle of career stalemate. The same moves you’ve been using no longer are helping you win. You aren’t progressing and it’s not due to lack of effort. So what’s wrong? Your current path may or may not be aligned with your current purpose. When you’re stuck in a sort of “career mid-life crisis,” or for some of us younger BOSSes, “career quarter-life crisis,” how do you get out of it? By finding purpose in our everyday behavior, we can better determine if our current state fits into our greater puzzle.
Here are ways to jumpstart your “purpose check:”
“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” — K.T. Jong
When you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything at all. In the middle of our hustle and bustle, it can become very difficult to see our situation clearly. Being busy can blur our vision. We can do ourselves a disservice if we don’t take the time to slow down or even stop what we’re currently doing long enough to think about it. How can you hear your heart when your life is causing too much noise? Peace, clarity, and vision come from quieting all the noise and listening.
Trust the Process of Exploration
"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." —Christopher Columbus
Getting lost can be key in finding yourself. As women, we can spend years searching for our true selves and when it comes to our careers, it’s no different. Searching for your purpose through exploration never equates to failure when you’re looking for the right reason. No matter how long it may take, be courageous enough to try new things to see what you like. Take a class, unofficially (or sometimes officially) be an intern, study a new trade, because through those new experiences, you learn, grow, and add to your game.
“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.”
― Pearl S. Buck
If at any point in your career, you just don’t know where to turn, the perfect next action is always to help someone. All of us, in some way, have the ability to positively impact the lives of others. It is our duty, our responsibility, to put good into the world. Through that service, you can discover passions that you never knew existed. Integrate that passion and new-found interest into what you do every day.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein
Just as the market and external environmental factors change, so does your need to reevaluate all that you have going on. Things that may have previously been beneficial, may no longer be working in your favor and that may be a sign to not just change approach, but to actually switch course. For years, you may have thought that you wanted to own a certain business or maybe you were studying to be a lawyer, but who says you can’t change your game? In no way is this the 9th inning and you always have time to do something new.
Focus on What Feels Good
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ― Steve Jobs
Most people spend at least 10 hours per day working at or travelling to and from their career—many of us spend way more. Wouldn't it be great to spend that much of your life on something that feels good to you? Deciding to ignore what others think you should be doing and focusing on what makes you happy, is best career decision you can ever make.
"I am not afraid; I was born to do this." —Joan of Arc
With every move and in every circumstance, be confident. The worse thing that we can do as career women is to be afraid to take the advantage of the opportunities that we know are meant for us. Understanding that you are capable of doing great things, there’s nothing to fear. You have a strength inside you that makes you unstoppable so go girl! You’ve got this!