We’ve all been there at some point in our careers. Whether it’s waiting for the promotion that seems slow in coming or feeling overwhelmed after taking a leap into leadership, career paths seldom go according to plan.
While getting unstuck means something different for each of us, it often takes a spark or perspective from outside ourselves to make it happen. From personal experience, coaching is an accessible and difference-making option.
From the start of my career, I focused on climbing the ladder, putting pressure on myself to achieve the next promotion or bonus. Along the way, when I reached a new milestone, I didn’t always feel the satisfaction I expected.
I went through the typical responses. First, I ignored what I was feeling. Then, I told myself I had it all sorted, and talking to my boss, mentors, and peers wouldn’t help. Finally, I was promoted to a larger, more senior role that had significant stretch. My boss told me I had the IQ for the job, but I needed to work on my EQ – emotional intelligence to have an impact and succeed at this level. He suggested coaching. But it still took me a while to get out of my own way and take action.
From the moment I walked through the door for my first coaching session, I felt freed. Just having someone ask me why I chose my job and which elements gave me joy was the permission I needed to step back and get honest with myself.
I realized my purpose didn’t come from just getting a job done. My joy came from empowering a team and being there for others. Working with a coach provided the perspective I needed to refocus on what was most important. It also gave me the courage to do something I never thought I could do. I took a three-month sabbatical.
I had never taken so much time away from work. It was like pressing a reset button. My sabbatical was my version of “Eat-Pray-Love,” spent reconnecting with family, learning to meditate, and rediscovering who I was – and who I wanted to become. It was both liberating and transformative.
When it was time to step back into my career, I was refreshed and ready to chart a different course. By shifting my mindset and understanding the impact I wanted to have, I stepped out of my comfort zone and embraced bold, new opportunities. For me, that meant embarking on a rotational program that offered opportunities I would never have tackled before.
Along with shifting career directions, I focused on investing in relationships with my coworkers and tapping into my EQ. Change didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a journey I’m still on. But I’m happy to say I’m living a life I love, helping others unlock their purpose and pursue their passions.
Sharing my story isn’t about setting out a step-by-step plan for how to get unstuck. Rather, it’s about demonstrating the transformative power of coaching. Would I have figured out what was causing my dissatisfaction and what I needed to change on my own? Maybe. Would it have taken me a lot longer and caused me to miss out on a lot of fulfilling experiences? Definitely.
Working with a coach can help you accelerate self-discovery and self-awareness. Just by taking the first step, you’re giving yourself time to determine what’s important and map out how to get where you want to go. The journey is different for everyone, but the first step is the same.
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