When we hit a long plateau in our career things might start falling into step, and we start focusing on the sameness of it all. During the day, we are thinking about how great it will be when we get home, during the week we are looking forward to Friday, and we live more or less for the next vacation. Our hopes and joys are no longer absorbed into the immediate tasks, but on the future, on being done with them. We would have them done without the effort. We no longer enjoy the process of getting there.
We all know what it’s like to be in a rut. We start focusing on our moods, and the more we talk of them, the more they get stuck. We start getting obsessed about our situation, and the anxiety mounts. How to get out of a rut?
To get out of a rut, don’t obsess about your situation. Stop talking about moods, and start talking about goals. Don’t complain to others about your situation. Start talking about your goals, and build some excitement about it.
You might have to fake it at first. Perhaps you are still waiting for your next coffee break. Perhaps you don’t really care about challenging yourself. Do it anyway. By talking only of goals and your eagerness to achieve them, and avoiding dwelling on negative moods, you will shift your attention, your care, from a passive state of what is happening to you to an active state of what you are going to do next.
Learn, therefore, to be present. When you are with your family, be fully present. When at work, be fully present. Don’t live in perpetual anticipation of a better moment. You will feel pained to be in your place. Learn to describe to yourself your current situation, to really observe it, to fully absorb it.
This mindfulness about your current situation takes practice. But we all know what it is like when are fully engrossed into our immediate situation. When we are fully challenged by an interesting task we lose a sense of past or future and live in the moment.
Make it your goal to build up these moments. They will free you from your rut and let you take the active role of achieving the next step.
Being present means sheparding your mind from the many distractions around you, and focusing on the immediate task. Once we can effectively do this, and it does take continual practice, we will be able to focus our effort on the immediate, and enjoy the benefits of full engagement.Getting out of a Rut in Your Career by Harrison Barnes