Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation. Even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind – Leonardo da Vinci
We, humans, are wired for growth – physically, emotionally, spiritually. If we were to meet ourselves from 10 years ago, we may be astounded at the changes that have happened not just physically. For some, the changes are more pronounced than the others.
My assumption is that most of those who have experienced rapid personal, emotional and spiritual growth are people who actively reflect, gain awareness of their selves. They develop awareness about how they function, what they want in their lives and make bold moves to embrace the discomfort of the new and ambiguous.
In this article, I share my reflections on stagnation with respect to our professional lives. If you’re in a job that you enjoy, I am happy for you, however, the rest of this article might not be for you.
Regardless of the prestige associated with many corporate jobs, satisfaction levels are dipping.
If on a daily basis, you feel severely demotivated to drag yourself out of bed, you go through the daily motions of shoving something inside your mouth for breakfast or not, cram yourself into the crowded subway or drive yourself into the maddening office-hour commutes only to attend meetings that you find pointless and ineffective, only to be rated on a small set of skillsets that judges whether you ‘fit-in’ to the corporate performance standards or not. You hold on to that job only to keep up the illusion of success while you know what you’re doing is boring and doesn’t meaningfully contribute to the causes that are dear to you and the world at large.
How long will you let yourself go on like this?
Until retirement, you might say. Really? Only to live for the weekends and the handful of vacation days? How long can you ignore the hollowness growing inside of you, the impact on your happiness, health, and ability to love wholeheartedly?
One of the strongest feelings you might have is of stagnation – not growing at a pace that is complementary to your potential, without a chance to enjoy the fullness of your potential and the satisfaction of having tapped into it.
If you’re struggling with these or similar feelings and have wondered what to do to deal with those feelings, first of all, know that you’re not alone. There are mindset shifts and actions that you can consider taking, at a pace that’s comfortable for you, to transform the current situation. Below I present 3 tips in this regard.
Develop critical awareness
What is it that makes you come alive at work – even if those instances are few or far in between or have happened in a previous job or another work environment? For example: if you’re at your best working as part of a team, working in a single-contributor role might not be the best option in the long run.
What is it that you yearn to do? For example: if you love growing and developing people, and you’re currently doing a data analysis job with little or no interaction with people on a daily basis, soul-sucked wouldn’t even start to describe how you feel.
In your moments of relaxation or whenever you’ve let your thoughts wander, have you had glimpses of what you would really like to do, for a profession? Or have you secretly been jealous of the job someone holds? But in all these instances, you quickly brushed aside that desire, telling yourself it’s impractical, too late, it’s not for you, etc.? We are quick to dismiss ourselves and our desires, however the next time something like that happens ask yourself ‘Why not’ and see what comes up.
You have a choice
Just because most of your friends and colleagues may be sleepwalking to a set of rules, or following what’s called ‘the best career options’ and gunning for the corner office – you need not follow that. If you have your heart set on an alternative, which you currently think is too late to pursue, or might make you look stupid, or isn’t viable financially, pause to think beyond the doomsday theories. Ask yourself: what if I can make a prosperous career out of this, what would it take, how can I start exploring the options? Start from a place of possibilities, it will open you up to fresh opportunities that you never knew you had.
Feel a huge sense of discomfort wash over you?
I acknowledge it is a difficult feeling. In my own experience and those of my clients, I have come to know first hand that your biggest breakthrough is outside of your comfort zone. These are growth pangs, signs that you are stretching and developing yourself into new avenues. Let that not dim your spirit.
I have much more to share with you, however, for the sake of keeping it short and simple, I will close with the following parting note.
Don’t fear criticism or rejection at following heart’s desires, fear stagnation. How would you like to look back at your life 20 years down the line? What would you like to be most proud of?
Today could be the first day of a whole new chapter of your life.
Decide today what’s important for you. I’m inviting you to watch my 3-part mini-video series which will help you go from stagnation and confusion to inspired actions and mindset. Check them out here or click on the button below.Access the video series HERE