I’m a single father of a 12 year-old son. There are few things in life like having a child that can create a dramatic shift in how you view and experience life from that day forward. I never knew how much love I could have for someone until I became a father. It completely changes one’s perspective and priorities.
This applies to our careers as well. Many of my coaching clients who are frustrated with their career progress or struggling with achieving success and satisfaction keep thinking the same way and hitting the same rock. Oftentimes we adopt the mentality of “try harder.” If we’re in a sandbox and the only tool we have is a shovel, it’s not too much of a stretch to presume that we may simply keep digging a deeper hole that makes it even harder to get ourselves out.
What’s often needed are some new ideas. Reaching out to others who have different experiences and perspectives can help us break free of unproductive patterns. There’s a universal law that basically says “like attracts like.” Many of us who struggle with our careers are surrounded by negative people who often are in the same situation. Instead, one of the things needed to break the cycle of “stuckness” is to leverage this law of “like attracts like” to our advantage. We can do this by shifting our thinking to retrain our brain to adopt a more positive mindset. We can begin by surrounding ourselves more with possibility thinkers and bridge builders. They in turn can help us discover a new route that takes us over the moats and storm castles in new lands.
Is the process of shifting our mindset relatively straightforward and simple? Yes. Is it easy? No. Many of us get trapped by comfort with the known. However, when we study how successful people manage their careers, we quickly recognize they are adept at playing to their strengths while continuing to stretch well beyond their comfort zones. Emulating such healthy habits can create hope and a vision for a better future. We can finally step outside the (sand)box.