Feeling stuck not knowing what you should be doing with your career? Feel like you have to figure it all out before you make a move? You are in what I term a “Career Confusion Funk”. Here are some ideas that may challenge what you believe, but will help you move out of your slump.
Be OK with Confusion
Be willing to sit in the not knowing. Let’s get super real: we really don’t know what’s going on in this life and how it’s going to unfold. If we want to get miserable, let’s focus on trying to control everything. If we want to get cheerful, let’s focus on accepting the chaos and confusion. Get cozy with your confusion. See it as your friend. Keep coming back to that.
Move Beyond Having to Find the “Perfect Career”
If we think we have to figure it all out before we take a step we will never move. Your ego wants to tell you that you can’t do anything until you know the exact direction you are heading. Not true. Most great careers aren’t crafted in the mind. They evolve and grow just like we do. If you are in ‘analysis paralysis’, there is probably something bigger at stake. A great career is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t fix everything. Give it the right weight and perspective. Don’t over think.
Take the Next Right Step
Have you ever driven in the fog? It’s kind of scary; you can only see a few feet in front of you but you must keep moving or you’ll create a bigger problem like a massive car crash. What’s the best way to drive in the fog? Get super present and keep driving. Focus on the path that you can see – the one that’s right in front of you. Applying this logic to your career, ask yourself what it is that interests you. What activities do you enjoy? Keep heading in the general direction of where you are going. Look at what’s ahead of you right now- not where it’s leading.
Trust It’s Being Handled
Here’s the big thing that is missing for you right now: Trust. Yep, that’s it. Things have a way of working themselves out. Your career is no different. Make ‘trust’ your motor right now. It will keep you moving. Here’s how to nurture your trust motor: actively remind yourself you are already on the road to doing that thing you can’t figure out. Even periods of inactivity or rest are all part of the process. This is a journey- give up the need to understand how it’s all unfolding. Your mantra right now: “I’m on my way”.
Spend Time Having Fun
If there is a hobby or activity you have been wanting to do- do it! I encourage my clients to make a list of the things that they can and want to do now and then do them. These don’t need to be work-related. Spend sometime with what Martha Beck terms, your “Essential Self”- that part of you that was alive in childhood and is dying to get out. To connect with this side of you, you can call an old friend, take the tap dancing class you’ve been talking about, write a poem-whatever it is that animates YOU. Take the time to nurture your creativity and desires. Keep moving in that. You’ll have fun, feel more connected and begin to truly enjoy what is unfolding. Opening back up to your essential self will help you find clarity for your career direction. It works.
Do Great Work Now
Whatever line of work you are in right now, do it to the best of your ability. The temptation to complain and slack can be great when we are in a state of confusion, but putting our focus on the task that is right in front of us and doing it well increases our confidence, gets us into “flow” and allows us to end each day with a feeling of satisfaction – that we did something good the day.
Hire a Career Professional to Help You Sort It Through
Career coaches and counselors have many tools at their disposal to help you wade through the confusion. Many of us need to process things externally. Sometimes just having another person along with you on the journey is all you need. However, having a professional who knows how to guide you through career discovery and exploration as well as a job search can be immensely helpful. If you are being laid off, check with your HR department to see if you have any free career services support during your transition. If you graduated from a college or university, visit the career services department to see if services are offered to alumni.