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How to get unstuck in your career - Do A Stocktake

A chart that outlines the key reasons female leaders identified about why they felt stuck. The highest was 35% could not see anything else they want to do

A key issue that is often raised in my conversations with executives or aspiring executives is a concern that they are stuck in their careers.

This can arise if they feel they have reached the point at which no further opportunities may come their way, that either they or others perceive they have reached the pinnacle of what they are capable of or that simply, they don’t know which path to choose next. Often, they can’t put their fingers on a niggling feeling that something is stopping them from taking the next step and fully realising their potential.

How often have you heard colleagues or friends say one or more of the following statements? I'm stuck and I wish I could put my finger on why? OR I'm just too flat out to think about moving? OR I just can't see anything else I want to do? OR I'm not sure I have the confidence to find something new? How often have you said them?

Like the words we all know from the Friend's Theme Song....

It's like you are always stuck in second gear...

The executives I work with share with me that they experience a range of feelings when they feel stuck in their careers. This could include frustration from feeling under-challenged or under-appreciated or disappointment has eroded their self-confidence. Lastly a lot of people compare themselves against peers who they perceive have moved quicker or made better decisions and it leads to more self-doubt.

 My personal belief is that we can take control and do something about this.

In our recent blog, Lead Yourself First, we discussed the importance of leading yourself, and becoming unstuck in your career is perhaps the most important point at which you need to take charge and lead yourself to the next stage.

No one will be as interested, or invest as much in, developing you to your full potential as yourself.

Time for a Stocktake

In this blog I will guide you through our Intentional Career Wheel to help you understand where you are today. In  blog, Brave New Beginnings: Midlife Woman's Guide to Fearless Career Change, I shared 5 Actions you can take immediately.

The first and most important step in becoming unstuck is to review your current reality. You need to take a long hard look at your skills, attributes, strengths and weaknesses and your hopes and fears. Taking stock of where you are now is the first step to taking action to overcome any weaknesses and build on your strengths. It gives clarity on where you need to focus and provides you with a roadmap to help you move into the next phase of your career.

One tool we use to help executives take this important first step is the Intentional Career Wheel.

We will assess at the end if your wheel is perfectly round and roadworthy OR if there are a few flat spots. For example, you could be in a position where you have a brilliant network of sponsors and mentors but absolutely no idea where you want to go, or you have a really clear idea of where you want to go but can’t articulate your Personal Brand to get across “why you” in an interview.

How to use the Intentional Career Wheel

Eight attributes have been identified each with several questions. All you need to do is reflect on the questions we ask for each area and rate yourself from (0 = lots of improvement needed) to (10 = no change - I've got this area nailed!)

To make it simple draw yourself a circle with each segment labelled. The centre of the circle is 0 and the outside of the circle is a 10.

 Now, reflect on each set of questions and rate yourself. Be honest. no one else is looking.

Clarity

  • I have a long-term vision for my career that aligns with my broader aspirations and ambitions.
  • I am clear about my skills and strengths and how I want to leverage them.
  • ·I am clear on the aspects of my current and past roles that I have enjoyed the most to help me find a career that will keep me engaged and motivated

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Personal Brand

  • I know what makes me unique and sets me apart from others in my industry.
  • I know my superpowers and can clearly articulate how it benefits others!
  • I know how colleagues, peers and mentors describe me and my contributions.

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Harmony

  • I have good established habits that enable boundaries between work and outside of work activities.
  • These boundaries give me time and space to be intentional about my next step.
  • I am in the best place (heart and mind) to make good, meaningful choices in my current role and any new roles I take on.

Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Confidence

  • I have a growth mindset, and I don’t need to know 100% of the role to put my hand up - I look forward to developing by trying new things.
  • I am confident to approach anyone who might be able to help me work through my next career steps without hesitation.
  • I am not letting my inner critic get in the way of my career.

Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

 F.I.T. Ratio (Focus, Investment, Tasks) *

  • I am really clear on how my role links directly to the core strategic goals of the company.
  • I invest my time focused on these priorities and know when to pull myself out of the detail.
  • I am intentional about spending time looking outward (broadening my knowledge beyond the current business I work in)
  • I intentionally take time from my diary for thinking and I protect it fiercely.

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Active Network

  • I have a relevant network that I spend regular time with.
  • I have been clear with my network about my career goals and aspirations.
  • I maintain a strategic networking plan including communication updates.
  • I stay connected with people I have worked with previously.

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Sponsors Mentors

  • I have someone speaking positively about and for me when I am not in the room.
  • I have relationships with senior leaders who are prepared to let me take on challenging roles that stretch me, so I can grow and demonstrate my capability.
  • I am visible across the organisation or industry.

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

Invest & Commit

  • I have a clear Career plan and know my next step.
  • Once I am clear on the steps I am exceptional at holding myself accountable and going for it.
  • I am prepared to invest both time and money in new skills to accelerate my capability and my career.

 Rate yourself from 0 - 10 and plot it on the circle.

How is that Tyre looking?

Visually plot your chart and see if you have a flat tyre - are there one or two obvious areas that need your attention?

What are the two lowest and the two highest?

The lowest segments are the guide on where to begin.

Did you read last week's blog Brave New Beginnings: Midlife Woman’s Guide to Fearless Career Change. There are also 5 Actionable steps that can support you immediately..

Leadership Resources - Brave Feminine Leadership Podcast Episode #131 with Debra Eckersley where we discuss the excitement and vulnerability that accompanies a big career change. Deb is forging the next stage of her career after a stunning career in the executive teams of Bank of Queensland and PwC. Listen here.

Summer Leadership Quiz and Access to our  free Summer Glow Magazine. Access here

*F.I.T. Ratio is a tool we use in our Brave Feminine Leadership programs to develop a roadmap that enables you to accelerate your strategic capability and get the things that done matter. You can learn more about it here.