You've started your job and worked hard in your career, and yet for some reason you are no longer feeling a sense of fulfillment any longer. It may seem to you the harder you work, the less you are being recognized for your work, or you are summarized in your performance reviews by short sentences of how you have failed, rather than how you have succeeded.

The work you enjoy has now reached a point where you are tolerating it as you need the income, or perhaps you do not foresee a future with the company you are working for as you are not appreciated or noticed.

The longer you find yourself feeling unfulfilled, unappreciated, or unnoticed in or for your performance at work, you are going to reach a point in which your entire career may seem as if it has been stalled. If your present employer doesn't willingly acknowledge you as an employee, or at least the person you report to directly, how will your career ever advance? What's the point of developing career goals if you are not moving forward along? It may only create more frustration to think about the future when the present is so stagnant. These feelings will become deeply engrained over time if not addressed, changing even the brightest person into someone who feels jaded.

The idea of talking to anyone at the workplace seems risky as well, given the grapevine effect and how quickly information can spread. Speaking your truth to your direct manager may or may not be effective. Consider how you effectively tell someone of authority you have not been properly assessed. If not handled appropriately, it may sound like someone who is complaining or worse, challenging authority. Neither will strengthen your position with this manager or the company. Perhaps there is a better approach, one which involves taking time for a mindset tune-up.

Establish a Visual Career Plan

Do you have a career plan? Right now, you may not feel like charting a course for the direction of your career, simply because it feels as if you are going nowhere. But this is the absolute best time to start changing your focus and a career plan will help you accomplish this task. You can use a tool such as a flow chart or mind map to create a visual outline of what you want to plan ahead for the future of your career. What do you have in mind for the short-term and long-term? Create large shapes within your visual chart for the big goals or outcomes. Then create small visual objects for the skills, tools, knowledge, and/or resources needed to achieve the goals or outcomes. Draw lines or arrows to show a linear progression for the steps needed to follow this pathway. As you are creating this plan, breathe in the fresh air of empowerment and pay attention to how good it feels. You can even play your favorite music while you are creating this plan. This is personal to you and if you believe you will achieve each outcome, you will.

Develop a Preparation Checklist

Once you have your career plan visually created, it is now time for the development of a preparation checklist, or self-assessment of the skills, tools, knowledge, and resources you have at present to begin this journey. It does not matter what point you are at in your career now, only where you want to go, because you can go as far as your imagination, desire, perseverance, internal strength, and determination will take you. You can develop your checklist based upon the goals or outcomes established, especially the first one you are going to begin work on. Consider what you have acquired throughout your career, up to this point in time, along with your strengths. Then view the visual plan and ascertain what your areas of development might be, as you examine the first goal or outcome you will work towards.  

It's Time for a Mindset Tune-Up

With a visual career plan and preparation checklist developed, you may want to reflect upon your current job, or you may immediately begin to think of all this as pointless, given your current work status. Yet there is something else to do at this point, and it is a mindset tune-up. Now that you have given yourself a sense of self-empowerment, it is time to fully support yourself with a resilient mindset, which means you can walk into any work environment and feel capable of performing with a purpose, regardless of conditions or what anyone tells you. Follow the following steps to become fully tuned up and mentally prepared.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #1: Transform Dreams into Outcomes

You've created your career plan with goals and outcomes. This is a representation of the future you have envisioned. Are these your dreams? Only you will know for certain. Perhaps a career means a job with security and that will be sufficient. Or perhaps you have bigger dreams, but you are not certain you can go that far or change your job in that manner. Why not put it on your career plan as a future outcome? Perhaps one day you will be inspired to act.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #2: Create Timeframes for Outcomes

As you are creating your plan, add general timeframes for the outcomes. This will help to solidify the idea in your mind these goals are real and not just something to write, file away, and forget about. Make these outcomes real by adding closer dates and further dates. Then give yourself at least one project to begin working on now, or at least as soon as possible, based upon the need for resources.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #3: Match Effort to Outcomes

Whatever you have planned is going to require effort on your part and now is the time to mentally prepare for what is ahead. If you are not up for the task of starting to work on a goal, put some distance into the plan and set a date on your calendar. Create an alert to remind you to come back and revisit this plan so you do not forget it. You do not want to have years go by and later wish you had started sooner.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #4: Create Daily Attitude Awareness

From this point on, it is time to start monitoring your disposition from a proactive perspective. Rather than react to the conditions around you, such as responding to a negative performance review or feeling unappreciated, each day you must remain vigilant of your mindset and guard your thoughts. How you are feeling is going to determine your entire future simply because the more focused you remain, the stronger your performance will be in all aspects.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #5: Never Allow Self-Doubt

There is one mindset which will derail you quicker than any other, and it is one filled with doubt. When you begin to doubt your ability to address a situation, you allow fear to rush in and then you lose confidence. This shows through in how you speak and what you communicate in writing. When you perform at work you want to act confidently, not appear weak and timid. Only a confident mindset performs well.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #6: Be Willing to Adapt

Your plan for what was created for your future is a roadmap, yet the path to achieving these goals is far from being known. Think about the journey which led you to this point in time. There were many decisions made and occurrences which could have never been predicated ahead of time, and yet here you are now. What you can do is to decide what you want for the future, and then be willing to follow the journey as you pursue the goals you've established, even if there are detours along the way.

Mindset Tune-Up Strategy #7: Live with Purpose and Meaning

The most important tune-up you can give your mind now is to remember your purpose. Even in a job with the worst of circumstances, a manager who shows no appreciation, a mediocre performance review, or any other number of perceivable lacking qualities in a manager or employer – you are there now and you can gain something of value from this position. You are either learning about yourself, learning about your career (either what you do or do not want from a job), acquiring or refining skills, and/or acquiring new knowledge. Your purpose may be any or none of those reasons. You may simply be in this job as a stepping stone. Whatever the reason might be, you need to create meaning from it as this is up to you, not the employer or manager. You are in charge of your career and you alone.

When a person feels as if their career has stalled, most of the time it is a signal there is work to be done not with the job first, but with the mindset of this person. I know as I have worked with many clients as a career coach, and I have worked with many learners as an educator as well. This feeling of going nowhere is often an indicator there isn't a career plan in place and that is the first step needed towards becoming unstuck, or regaining a sense of control. The feeling of being stuck is often associated with helplessness, and renewal comes when a plan is established. Once a future focus is established, goals are created, and action is implemented to begin working towards this future, even the most unlikeable job suddenly becomes useful, even if its purpose is to provide income. What matters most of all is the mindset held as you can become prisoner to disruptive thoughts, or empowered by future-focused goals. Choose to tune-up your thinking and find meaning in your career. You will become empowered to performance your very best.

About Dr. Johnson

Dr. Bruce A. Johnson has been working in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005, with roles including Faculty Development Manager, Core Faculty, Doctoral Mentor and Committee Member, and Faculty Development Specialist. Dr. J's background also includes work as a Human Performance Improvement Consultant, and prior to 2005, he was a Manager of Training and Development.

Dr. Johnson is an inspirational author, writer, and educator. His life mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others. He has earned a PhD in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement (TPI), a Master's in Adult Education, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has published three books related to higher education, including two about online teaching.  Dr. J has also published over 230 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and mindset development.

Come join Dr. J's new group, Motivation for Transformation:

• Any time of the day, visit this group to find your source of motivation, to be inspired and more importantly, have your mindset transformed:

Dr. J offers the following transformative resource:

• New: Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck. Start your morning or transform your day with words of encouragement. These are more than affirmations; these cards are personal self-empowerment statements. Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck Set

Dr. J also offers the following resources:

• Transform Online Teaching: Expert Strategies and Essential Resources Every Educator Needs

• Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct Faculty Who Teach Business

Please Visit: Dr. J's Resources Page

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