Do phrases like “I’m just stuck,” “I can’t get out of this hole,” “I just can’t get motivated,” “I’m stuck in a rut,” or “If I could just find a job I enjoy…” sound familiar? Unfortunately, there are a lot of thoughts like these out there in our world and minds today.
I have been “stuck” plenty of times throughout my career. Some of my darkest days in my career were after an acquisition. While the transition itself was difficult, I allowed myself to sink into the classic “rut” of lack of motivation and negative thinking.
It starts with the uncertainty that many of you have experienced when a company you love working for is bought by an industry giant. The culture shock is immediate, but at first, for me, it seemed as if it was going to be OK. I could keep my job, keep working with the people who had become my second family and keep doing work I truly enjoyed.
Then about four months later, it all came crashing down. My role was being eliminated. My options were to move to a big city (I am a true country girl) or take a severance package. Neither of those options worked for me at the time. Still being the driven, positive optimist I am, I wasn’t ready to leave the company or an industry that I loved. So, I found a new job within the company. While it was a backward career move, going back to where I had started 12 years before, it fulfilled the immediate goal of staying with the company, so back to front-line sales I went.
For the next two years, I held my own; although, I got “stuck in a rut” of not enjoying my work anymore. I dreaded going to work every day and began to question my capability, and my self-confidence was plummeting.
Constantly studying and applying personal and professional development had always contributed to my success. I knew staying positive and being in a constant state of learning and growth contributed to enjoying every day. However…I wasn’t doing any of that.
I knew that in sales, the more people you talk to the more sales you make, but I wasn’t doing that either. I also knew that spending time with positive people who lift you up while pushing you forward was important but I was quick to jump in with those who were also unhappy with the new company.
In my misery, it was clear the time for a career change had come. While doing some research and exploring opportunities, I found myself at a meeting full of great personal development information. That night began my shift from the “rut” I was in back to taking control and enjoying my work again.
My first aha was that my current state was not the company’s fault. It was my own. Once I took ownership, I immediately started feeling better. It’s amazing how miserable you can be when you think your fate is in someone else’s hands and how liberating it is when you take that control back.
The next natural step was diving back into studying and applying personal and professional development. Now I was getting excited again.
Getting back to constant learning and growth, I had another aha. My sales were down because I wasn’t giving 100% effort and talking to enough people. Quickly, the realization of how much I enjoyed talking to people kicked in, and my sales went up.
Still exploring other opportunities, I found I was spending a lot more time with more positive and upbeat people. This impacted my mood and ambition significantly.
As I was transitioning back to my true self, a positive, optimistic, successful, driven, compassionate person who loves talking to and helping all kinds of people, I had another aha moment. The time for a change had finally arrived. I had regained my success in my current role, but it was time to move on. I quit my job and started my own business doing what I love: speaking and training others how confidence and mindset can impact sales, customer service, the people around you, and your day-to-day life.
That business continues to evolve today, and while I have shifted to working primarily with companies, confidence and mindset remain the foundation of all of my teaching.
As I reflect on this experience, one thing stands out very clearly now. I didn’t have to learn anything new to get out of my rut. It was a matter of simply getting back to the basics and doing what I knew needed to be done. It was feeding my mind healthy, positive information, choosing to be more positive, changing the people I was spending the most time with, making more sales calls, and finding the confidence to start my own business.
While I am an advocate of learning new things, we don’t always have to learn something new to get out of our hole, rut, darkness, or unhappiness. Often times, all you need to do is what you know already.
No matter what industry you are in, you have knowledge in that industry, and you know the basics. Go back to the basics. Start with what you know will work; you will learn new things along the way. Once you take a step, the next one will appear.
I know it’s not rocket science. I also know first hand that it takes some serious self-talk and initial action steps to get out of that rut. If you keep doing what you’re doing now, you will get the same results. Einstein called that insanity.
Get out of your rut and start taking those first baby steps doing what you already know!