Banish The Career Rut Blues

confidence Mar 31, 2021

The way you approach each day largely determines the kind of life you have right now. And the way you approach life lies largely with your…drumroll please… your mindset! I know, I know, you’ve heard the word “mindset” a million times. And there’s a reason you keep hearing it. Your mindset can influence your decisions and your decisions can influence your outcome.

Our mindset can get us stuck in a career rut.

Like most of us at some point, you’ve probably experienced a job loss, job dissatisfaction, or maybe motivation and inspiration are nowhere to be found. Our career will be a collection of peaks and valleys. After three months at my very first post-college job, I got the pleasure of experiencing the world of corporate layoffs. Within three months I went from a peak to a valley. My second experience with corporate layoffs happened as a seasoned manager with a great track record. Once again, peaks and valleys.

Getting stuck in a rut can happen at any stage of one’s career. Peak. Valley. Doesn’t matter. A rut is a rut.

So, what to do?

Define your career rut. Are you feeling dissatisfied with the job or the responsibilities? Are you dissatisfied with the company, your boss, the lack of opportunity? Are you seeking new employment but don’t know where to start? Did you think you’d be further along in your career by now?

Write out how you’re feeling about your career, the journey you took to get where you are, and the expectations you had. Use this as your starting point.

With your starting point in mind, use these strategies to help you banish those career rut blues.

1. Start with reflection. Get in touch with your inner voice and set aside a regular time for self-reflection. Think about the things in your life that are going well and that make you happy, as well as the things that you’re dissatisfied with. Check out our Self-Assessment Audit e-book ( Even if you’re a seasoned pro, taking time to reflect and clarify your unique values and objectives can help you through a career rut.

2. Change your perspective. A fresh look at a situation can open your eyes to see things you hadn’t noticed. Until you decide to adjust how you look at the situation, things won’t change. Rather than block out those feelings, acknowledge them, embrace them, and then let them go. They will not serve you in moving you forward. 

3. Entertain the improbable. Think about the outcome you want. Don’t limit yourself. Write it down. Stand up and state it loudly. Say it with conviction! Stop throughout the day and do the Wonder Woman pose. It may sound silly, but it does help to boost your confidence.

4. Determine what outcome you want. It’s not easy to create a plan if you don’t know which direction you want to go in. Are you looking to take your career in a new direction? Do you like your job but want to be challenged more? Or are you that entrepreneurial that can’t seem to get to that next level up in business?

5. Take action! This is the tough part because you have to do something. Talking and planning aren’t enough. What actions do you need to take to get you there? Draw out a roadmap, where you are now is your starting point. Write down where you want to end up. Then along the way, what milestones do you need to accomplish to get there.

6. Don’t be discouraged by detours. Life happens. The important thing is you get back to your roadmap and figure out your next plan of attack. Have you ever taken a road trip and ended up having to take an unplanned exit? Think about the experience that detour taught you. Yes, there will be frustrating times, but alter your perception to see it as a challenge. You’ll come out stronger for it.

7. Access when things don’t go as planned. What happens if you arrive at your destination and it isn’t what you’d hoped. Yep, that happens. Sometimes, the best way to change your perspective is to be open to new ideas brought by your new experiences. What about your outcome that didn’t meet your expectations? What can you do about it?

You can accept where you’re at, but it doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. Look back at your journey. What were your expectations? What lessons did you learn? Determine if you need to shift direction. And go back to taking action to move in a new direction.

8. Seek a more positive lifestyle. When you’re in a rut, it can affect your physical and mental mindset. Go for a walk. Try a new healthy recipe. Talk with friends who exude positive energy. Focus on seeing life in a more positive way. Recognize that when you focus on having a more positive life, your mindset will change for the better.

9. Avoid old ways of looking at things. When you make the connection that your mindset plays a role in the discontent you feel, you can choose to view things differently. Are you feeling stagnate in your job? Look to see if there are additional responsibilities or a special project you can take on. Is there a senior leader at your company you admire? Reach out and see about building a professional relationship, an unofficial mentor/mentee relationship if you will. Check to see if your company offers a mentorship program.

10. One of the best ways to get out of a rut is to change how you respond to those around you. Nobody wants to be around someone who views everything in a negative way. I hate to be cliched and say “be positive,” but be positive! Audit the people around you. Are they negative? Are they positive? Be around the people that make you better.


Banish those career rut blues! Be fearless!