We’ve all had those days at work — the days you feel completely unmotivated, bored, exhausted and just “over it.” But what happens when those days turn into weeks, months or even years?
In today’s career culture, I believe the idea that if you work hard, long, fast and love everything you do, you’ll achieve fulfillment and success is an unrealistic and dangerous formula that can lead to chronic unhappiness and anxiety about your career. I've found it’s also a quick road to burnout.
Want to know how to overcome career burnout? Read the full article at Forbes.com!
Ready to accomplish your biggest goals yet?
Before you get started, you need to have the right mindset to keep you going all the way to the end.
Check out my latest video to learn how to have the right mindset that will help you reach your full potential!
One of the most rewarding, and challenging experiences of my life was when I ascended Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2011.
It's not quite a "climb" but rather a slow hike, and the key to making it up to the top is by walking VERY SLOWLY, or as they say in Tanzania - "Pole, Pole" (pronounced Poh-lay, meaning "take it slow and easy"). You can't take more than a few very slow steps at a time.
"Pole Pole" isn't just a Swahili phrase that encourages you to walk slow, but it's also a way of life in Tanzania. The deeper meaning behind the translation is "slow down to enjoy the journey."
When you climb "Kili," as the locals call it, it's hard to resist the urge to walk faster than you're allowed. Following an experienced guide you are forced to take it slow step by slow step so that your body can acclimate to the altitude.
Meanwhile, local porters who have made the climb hundreds of times are rushing past you with oversized luggage and bags hauled over their heads so that they can set up your next campsite.
You start the three day hike to the top through a beautiful lush green forest leading to grassy, open fields, and ultimately through a barren and cold mountain desert until you reach the base of the peak.
From there it's another 7 hour extremely steep climb in total darkness as you ascend up to the top of one of the highest peaks in the world.
It is not for the faint of heart, but when you make it to the "roof of Africa" and watch the sunrise, it is an emotional and life-changing experience.
As I look back on that experience, I can't help but make the parallels between the climb up Kilimanjaro and the "climb" up the mountain that you will face in your career.
The peak can look so daunting and so far away. At the same time, you can get so eager to want to move as fast as you can to reach the top, even though you're being told by those supporting you along the way that you have to take it slow.
There are times when it's lush, green and feels like an easy stroll, and other times when it's cold, dark, and barren, and path is incredibly steep and difficult.
You might feel impatient at the pace you're going, and get discouraged when you see others carrying heavier loads and are cruising up the mountain faster than you are.
If the goal is to make it to the top of the mountain, YOU WILL GET THERE! It just might take going at a different pace than others, walking an alternate route, making more stops than others along the way, and crossing difficult terrain along your career path.
If you're determined enough to succeed, take it step by step, and live "Pole Pole," you'll eventually reach the peak, and enjoy the journey along the way.
Have you ever bought a new outfit, or suit, or piece of clothing, and it just doesn't fit right?
The arms are too long, it's too loose or too tight in areas, and it just doesn't feel very comfortable?
Why did you decide to buy that outfit? Was it cheap, or convenient? Maybe you just needed something for a particular occasion, or maybe it looked better on the rack than it does when you put it on.
If you really cared about finding the right suit or clothing, you might have spent a little more time, effort and money to make sure you found exactly what you were excited about. You'd get your exact measurements taken, spend a little more money, try it on for size, and check out a few options to choose from.
And when you FINALLY find that right fit, that perfect shirt, shoes, dress or suit, you feel incredibly confident and comfortable. It's an outfit you want to wear on a regular basis. You can't wait to put it on, show it off, and wear it until it's worn out and you need a new one.
In your career, when you're feeling stuck and are ready for a new direction or change, the same principle applies.
To find a career that makes you feel fulfilled, confident, comfortable, and happy, you have to look beyond just getting any job, you have to find the right fit.
Finding any job, like buying any outfit off the rack, is easy. Finding a carer or a job that's the right fit for you takes effort.
Just like knowing your exact measurements, the color, style, shape and design you want will help you find your ideal outfit, knowing the qualities of your ideal work environment - your interests, your strengths, and your values - will help you identify your ideal career fit.
Take the time to reflect and think about what you really want from your ideal job. What's your best day look like, what's the office look like (if you want to work in one), how big or small is the company, how long is your commute, what are your co-workers like?
When you're stuck it can be easy to identify what you don't like in a job, and what isn't a good fit, just like knowing you won't buy or wear that ugly tshirt that's on the store mannequin. But when you know what will be the right fit, you'll have the courage, energy and motivation to seek it out.
You still might need a bit of "tailoring" here and there to make it fit just right, but when you do find that job or career path that feels like the perfect fit, you'll feel confident, comfortable, and excited to "put it on" every day ... until you're ready for the next one!
When you know you're ready for a change, ready to reach a new level, ready to work hard towards a new goal in your career, do you ever find yourself ready to create a plan of action, but then get held back by making excuses and saying "yeah...but..."?
"Yeah, I want a new job, but I'm not qualified for the positions that appeal to me."
"Yeah, I am ready to make new connections that will help my career, but I'm just not good at networking."
"Yeah, I am looking to change careers, but no one will hire me because of my (age, gender, background, salary requirements, etc)."
The beliefs that we hold are based on what we see and hear from those around us (from friends, family, social media, news), and can have a powerful effect on our ability to take action towards our goals.
Think about it - if you believe that you won't be hired for a job because of your qualifications (or lack thereof) or background, then what affect will that have on your motivation to pursue a new job?
We all carry these limiting beliefs that we're often unconscious of. We don't always stop to think about why we believe what we do, or what the truth is behind those beliefs. We usually just accept them as we always have.
There was a time when everyone believed we couldn't go to the moon, or break a 4-minute mile, or cure certain diseases like polio, but certain courageous individuals challenged those beliefs and made the "impossible" possible.
Before you can take any action towards change, you need to acknowledge the beliefs you have that might be keeping you from moving forward. There's no point in setting a goal if the messages you're telling yourself will keep you from taking the first step.
When you've decided on the goal that you're ready to pursue (the "Yeah), before you take the first step ask yourself what beliefs you're holding onto that might get in the way (the "but"). And when you've identified those beliefs, dig deeper to really explore two things: 1) the source of that belief, and 2) how true it really is.
Once you've explored your beliefs further, you can have a better understanding of how they are supporting you, or holding you back. If it is keeping you from moving forward, then ask yourself if there's a different version of that belief that you can tell yourself to motivate you to take the next step.
So the next time you find yourself saying "yeah...but..." take a moment to think about the beliefs that are limiting you a little deeper. Change your beliefs to "yeah...and..." to get excited about new possibilities in your career, and use that new belief to motivate yourself to reach the next level.
Sign Up Here to receive the FREE "Ultimate 'Tell Me About Yourself' Template" to nail your next interview or networking event
+ weekly career inspiration and tips
Ready to nail your next interview and build better professional relationships?
Enter in your name and email to receive the "Ultimate 'Tell Me About Yourself' Template"