I’ve delivered many a webinar on feeling stuck in your career.
Every time I do a webinar, I make sure to go over my material and see if there’s anything new I can add.
The other day in preparation for a ‘Get Unstuck’ event I was hosting, I started thinking about the not so obvious reasons for why we get stuck.
I found one:
Not having the right people around us to help with our problem
I don’t mean that we have the wrong people around us.
I mean, we may not have the right type of person to help us.
By ‘right’, I mean people that can listen to us deeply, really see the heart of the situation, give us advice that resonates (not simplifies, dismisses or patronises), and leave us feeling energised.
Let me demonstrate. Have you experienced this:
I’m sure you’ve had this – you share a problem you’re going through with a friend, family or colleague and they say ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine’ and move the conversation on.
You’ve shared your deepest worry, and they brushed it off like crumbs off a table.
They didn’t even acknowledge, or maybe notice, the importance of the problem to you.
They didn’t sense the feelings behind the problem.
So, as a result, you’re left feeling worse for having shared your thoughts.
Now, not only do you not feel understood, but you also feel even more alone with your problem.
Have you ever had this?
Of course no one can solve the problem for you.
But that’s not what you really want.
There are other instances, when you share your problem, and the listener is able to speak to the feelings behind the words.
They get your struggle. They acknowledge it.
They let you have that space and don’t move the conversation on.
You feel SEEN.
Maybe they go on to share a time they were in a similar boat and, suddenly, you don’t feel so alone.
They may provide some advice, but really, the crux of what they did is they made you feel understood, supported and not so alone.
Never underestimate the power of feeling seen and understood.
I had this experience recently.
I shared a problem with a friend and didn’t feel any better for it. In fact, I felt worse. I left our interaction feeling alone (which makes the problem seem even bigger).
The next day, I shared the same problem with my accountability buddy and left our conversation laughing, feeling supported and energised about solving it.
My accountability buddy had been through something very similar so she knew all the emotions I was experiencing.
AND IT MADE SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Who you speak to matters
It was such a stark difference in feeling that I had after both those conversations, that it made me think – how would I feel if I didn’t have my accountability buddy or someone who could listen empathetically?
I’d feel stuck.
Stuck and alone.
But I wouldn’t necessarily know it’s because I’m missing that kind of person.
Find that person
I know I’m that person for some of my clients.
In theory, you don’t need your coach to have been through exactly the same things as you have for you to experience a superb coaching session.
But sometimes it really helps.
I know this because they’ve told me so.
They say they love that:
- I’ve gone through the fear of leaving behind the security of a 9-5 job and taking a scary bet on a completely new career path and completely new way of working.
- I’ve also been where they’ve been, and felt bewilderment staring at jobs boards not having a clue about what job (if any) would finally be ‘the one’ that fulfilled me.
- I’ve gone back to school and retrained later on in life (when your mind is telling you “it’s too late, it’ll take too long, and you’re not 100% sure this course will be your future).
- I started this self-employment journey with no training in anything other than coaching and had to learn copywriting, graphic design, selling, teaching, public speaking, etc whilst not giving into imposter syndrome.
It means I understand their fears, doubts, imposter syndrome, overwhelm, and decision-fatigue.
They love this because they know I’ll understand their fears completely, but I won’t let them give in to them, because I know it’s possible to work through them.
Over to you
So if you’re feeling stuck, and wondering why you can’t get yourself unstuck, it could be that you’re not talking to the right people.
Go find yourself a new ear.
Get an accountability buddy, coach or mentor, and see what difference that makes.
This is an email from the Straight-talking Newsletter. Some of the weekly newsletters get published here, but to make sure you get more of this kind of content in your inbox, sign up here.