How to position yourself for growth and navigate making a change.

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How to position yourself?

There comes a time when we all discover that aspects of our work just aren’t working for us anymore. Either we don’t like the job itself because we’ve been doing it so long or we no longer believe in the business or product or leadership (if we ever did) and can’t keep up a charade any longer or we don’t get along with our boss or colleagues and it’s impacting our growth and overall well-being. There are often inner reasons for unhappiness and these can be compounded by external influences like reorgs, layoffs and overall economic uncertainty. So how can we respond when we know something may be off?

When we need a big rethink, we also need to feel. Chances are we’ve been avoiding our feelings and ending up with psychological or physical symptoms or warning signs, like headaches, stomach aches or worse. Sadly, halitosis doesn’t come from not brushing your teeth, but your inner stress hormones expressing themselves. It’s an early indication that we’re not happy.

Our body often signals us when it’s time for a change, from the tightness in our gut to the cold sweat that breaks out to alert us when something isn’t right. At the same time, our mind can have a way of rationalizing to try to keep us safe…. “Well, if you just stay a little longer, you’ll get through it.” Or “you’ll get over this, just keep your head down and do your job.”

Those strategies can work for a while, until they don’t. We need to listen to our head, heart and gut to know what’s really going on. Disappointment, frustration, disconnection usually end up finding a way through to us and often in the most inconvenient ways. Follow the clues before they lead to a lay off, demotion, furlough or getting passed over. And notice when you feel miserable or depressed because these are telling you that a change is required. I get it and I’ve been there.

Don’t ignore the signs!

I almost got really stuck early in my career when I passed on an internal “promotion” that didn’t feel like the right move for me. As a result I was demoted and sidelined into another job that was really not a fit. Thankfully I saw the writing on the wall and hadn’t been happy for a while. I had already expanded my network professionally and then began ramping up my job search activities until I was recruited into a much bigger role at a better organization with significant growth potential. While the change didn’t happen overnight, realizing how unhappy and underappreciated I was made me realize that the relationship was doomed. Dating and working have many similarities. It pays to take time to know where and who you’re working with and to recognize when that loving feeling is gone.

There’s nothing worse than being miserable at a job where you spend 40, 50 or more hours a week. So what’s the answer? How can you read the early warning signs, listen to your inner wisdom and take action that will bring you more satisfaction? While change can be stressful because of the uncertainty, you can choose to take control of your actions and do things to move in a new direction that works for you.


Changing our circumstances can take time – to line up a new gig and explore new possibilities. In the meantime, we can change our mindset. For clients who are unhappy in their current role, this is often the most important first step to feeling more confident that new outcomes are possible.

Here are 3 steps to help you begin to shift your experience…

  • AWARENESS: Notice when things feel “off”. Don’t ignore the warning signs before they become more serious. This doesn’t mean panicking when things feel uncomfortable or you hear some troubling news at work. It means keeping your eyes open, trusting your gut and being prepared. Keep your options open and don’t let yourself be blindsided.
  • ATTENTION: Decide where you want to focus your energy. If work is stressful and unsatisfying, figure out if you need to leave or redirect your energy to things that are more fulfilling. Sometimes it can be as straightforward as restoring your wellbeing by setting clearer boundaries around responding to emails to reclaim some perspective. In other cases, it may mean asking questions and gathering more information. Once you understand what’s needed, then you can decide where you want to focus.
  • ACTION: Move forward with activities that will progress your priorities. Do you need to update your resume and LinkedIn profile and start reviewing job boards? Should you connect more regularly with peers to learn about their experience and get a new perspective? Don’t put all your energy into your existing job. Pull back and decide what is needed to take care of yourself.

Even during uncertain times, you don’t need to feel trapped or let yourself get side-swiped or caught unawares. The more you notice what’s going on around you, the better prepared you will be to choose your course of action.

You got this!

Whether it feels like it or not, you are always in the driver’s seat with lots of options available to you. When you feel unsure what to do, remind yourself that you can move forward. It just takes one step – one small movement to help build your momentum. Decide what will make you feel better and do that. Making conscious choices about your future is the first step to empowerment and your next opportunity.