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Stuck in a rut?  There is a way out

Career and executive Coach, Marielena Sabatier, founder of Inspiring Potential, an executive coaching company tells us how we can reach our potential and be happy at work

Do you leap out of bed in the morning keen to reach your desk and get to your emails?  Let's face it most of us don't - particularly on dark winter mornings.  But if you are feeling fed up, stuck in a rut and unmotivated at work most of the time, then it is time for action.  Here are some key steps that will help you achieve your goals and full potential at work this year.

Before you do anything drastic like changing jobs immediately, do some soul searching first to find out what makes you tick. There is no point in making changes if you haven't worked out what you want out of your career.

People fall often into jobs without really working out if it is the best fit for their personalities and skills. So a good question to ask is whether or not your contribution at work is adding value to your organisation. Do you get the chance to use your skills most of the time? Does it play to your strengths? Does it make you feel valued? If the answer is no, then it is time to rethink.

You need to ask yourself some big questions: What is important to me in my role? What would make my role meaningful? What am I motivated by and passionate about? When I last felt really motivated, what was it about the situation created that state?

Then, look for ways of recreating the situation when you felt really motivated within your current role. If you value creativity, then be creative, look for new ways of doing things; suggest new ideas and ways of working to your boss.

Add meaning to your role too by using your and experience skills to help more junior colleagues or members of your team grow and develop. Nurturing someone and teaching them new skills will not only boost their confidence, it will make you feel valued and recognise the skills and experience you have and the contribution you make.

It is important to work in an environment that suits your values and beliefs. Remember you spend more hours at work than anywhere else.  Do you respect the values and 'beliefs' of the company and are 'lived' by the employees. Respecting your company's culture and values can make you feel proud of where you work and encourage a feel good factor.

Also, make sure that you take charge of your professional development – it is your responsibility; don't let your career meander, if you have a development plan stick to it.  If you don't have a training plan in place or if you haven't received the training you expected, then bring it up with your boss. Don't wait until your annual appraisal to speak to them. Remember the only person that will really suffer if you stand still or fail to speak up is you.

Equally, you should ask for feedback regularly too from your boss, from co-workers and from customers. Feedback is not only reassuring, it will help you grow and develop. Too often we second guess what our boss and our colleagues think, which can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings.

One of the keys to being happier at work is by focusing on the positive – you can choose to be happy and you can practice positive thinking.

Surround yourself with people who are happy to be at work – it will rub off.
Negativity is very contagious so don't get sucked into the office politics. Instead, try and think about the aspects of the work you like and train yourself to look at situations in a more positive way.

However, if you really feel disillusioned with your role and see no way of incorporating new aspects into it, then why not see if there are new roles with the company for you within the company or if a new role could be created.  If you know what you want then that role could be exactly what your company needs and it may be possible for you to make a case for it.

If you feel completely stuck and unsure about what you want to do then it is time to go back to basics and think about a career change.

A good place to start is your childhood. Think back to your childhood dreams and ambitions– what did you want to be when you grew up? Very often they tell us a great deal about what we are passionate about, interested in and what we are good at. How far are you from your ideal job today and do your dreams still excite you?

Look practically at where your career is now and the skills and experience you might need to switch to your dream jobs. Research the qualifications you need and ask yourself if it is really practical to start retraining now or does this switch need to be carefully planned out over – a long term goal.

Talk to people working in the field you want to get into?  Find out what they enjoy about their jobs and ask them to tell you about what they do in detail. People are generally flattered to be asked about what they do and very willing to give advice and time to people interested in them.

Find a career coach to help you through your network or through word of mouth referral. This will help you sharpen your insights into your own authentic talents, skills and strengths.  It will also help you find ways to powerfully illustrate these to maximise their impact on others when you tell them.

Talk to people how love their jobs and how inspire you. Rubbing shoulders with passionate people will motivate you and remind you to stick to your goals.

Lastly when you do find out what you want to do network, network, network – talking to people working in field can uncover a hidden jobs market, they make introductions, recommendation and open doors that could hold the key to your future.

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