What To Do When You Stall At Work

At some point in our careers, we stall.

Whether it be the frustration of occupying a role for too long, or feeling the stress of a toxic boss/colleague, to “real life” challenges of family illness or becoming a new parent (3hrs sleep, anyone?). Whatever the reason, over the course of a career there will peaks and valleys and you have to find a way to get back into your rhythm of high performance.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing this right now, here are some insights that may help:

1. Red threads – I recently heard Marcus Buckingham (NYT bestselling author and founder of the strengths revolution) describe this in a keynote speech. Over the course of a week, he suggested writing down all the things you love and loathe about your job. What you love are your ‘red threads’ that likely indicates a strength. According to Buckingham, “You don’t need to do what you love, but if you take these red threads yourself and weave them into … the fabric of your work—even if you’re at 20 percent red threads—you’re a different human.”

2. Habit Stack – when you’re experiencing a rut, adding a new habit into your current routine can spark some inspiration. For example, if you’re a new parent who enjoys reading and can’t find the time, try reading 2 pages of a book right after you brush your teeth (or, right after you pour your morning coffee). Stacking a new habit onto an existing one is an easy way to create a new pattern (and mix things up a bit).

3. Be ok with it. When you are in the midst of a lull at work, just know that it happens to all of us. At any given point in time, we all face things that can detract from us being our best at work. Just remember – it is temporary. You will find your way back to high performance, so don’t make it harder on yourself. C’est la vie!

Be great today,

Ian

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