In my talk “10 lessons to successfully make partner”, the first lesson I talk about is committing to your career. But what if you are stuck in a career rut? In this blog post I explore my own experiences of being in a career rut and how I managed to claw my way out and get the career I always wanted.
My own career rut
For a long time I wanted to pursue a career as a professional speaker. After all, being an award-winning and best-selling author is most of the credentials I need to make it as a professional speaker. But, I’d got stuck. Think of it as a career rut. As a speaker I was occasionally getting paid to speak, but nothing that was sustainable. I could see other speakers making it, and wondered why they were getting there and I wasn’t. Many of them, in my humble opinion, were not as good as speaking as I was. So, what was going wrong? Why was I stuck in this career rut, when so many of my (not-so-talented) peers were zooming ahead of me? It’s something that you may be experiencing right now? You know you are a good lawyer/accountant/advisor/consultant* (*delete as applicable). You know you deserve to be progressing your career right now – after all, you’ve put the time in to get where you are. So, what this career rut?
The solution to busting out of your career rut
When I looked at the other speakers who were making it around me, I noticed one thing that I wasn’t doing. They were committing to their speaking, and taking every opportunity to get out there and speak to the right people. It’s fair to say, that’s wasn’t what I was doing. I was moaning from the sidelines, whilst not taking the first step to breaking out of my career rut, i.e. committing to my career. The lawyers/accountants/advisors/consultants who we see taking this step and truly committing to their career are the ones which we also see rapidly progressing their career to partner. Yes, it really is quite that simple. Commit to your career and guess what, you’ll break out of your career rut.
How to commit to your career
It’s all very well to say, “commit to your career”. But a lot harder to actually do this. If you’d asked me, I would have told you I was committed to a career as a professional speaker. But if you dug a little deeper, this probably wasn’t really true. After all, I had no plan to get me where I needed to get to. Yes, I had a loose career plan in my head. But this isn’t effective. What I really needed was a highly visual road map of how I was going to get to my goal of international (high-paid) professional speaker, and weekly and monthly actions to get me there. Whilst you may not be heading to the same career goal as me, the first step to truly committing is to create a compelling plan.
I struggled to create the compelling plan
When I sat down to create the compelling plan, something wasn’t right. The words didn’t flow, and I wasn’t feeling it. So like many times before I stopped creating my plan and went back to my default state. Yep, moaning from the sidelines. Before I could really get started on my plan I needed to think long and hard about why I was resisting something, which on the surface of it, I really wanted. I spent some time with a coach exploring what was going on for me. That’s when I identified what the problem was. I, whether rightly or wrongly, saw being an international professional speaker as someone who would spend a significant amount of time away from home. Exactly what I didn’t want to do with two small children. So my coach and I spent time thinking laterally about how I could fulfil my goal but still doing it my way. That’s the point my energy returned. It wouldn’t surprise you to know that for a few years much of my speaking was done virtually. It’s only now the kids are of a certain age that I feel comfortable being away from home every 1-2 weeks.
If you are struggling to create your compelling career plan
- Consider working with a coach to understand what blocks or resistance you are experiences
- Think laterally about your career – are there other ways to get what you want and need, but via a different route
- Take a break and give yourself time to recharge your batteries. Being burnt out is never a good time to put together your career plan