Breaking the Status Quo: What’s Holding You Back?

Happy young Businessman successfulHave you ever felt the need to break free from the same old routine and shake things up a bit? Author and leadership expert Warren Bennis once said, “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader changes it.” In any job, it’s easy to find yourself stuck on repeat from time to time, but you shouldn’t let it hold you back. From little changes to your environment to a complete career overhaul, there are a wide variety of ways to break free from the status quo and revive your passion for work.

Has your physical environment grown stale?
The average person working a standard 40-hour week will spend more than 90,000 hours of their life on the job. That’s a huge chunk of time, so it’s not hard to understand how years of working in the same environment could wear on some people. There are a wide variety of environmental factors that can have a major impact on stress, creativity, productivity, and even our health. Color psychology, for example, is the study of how different colors influence everything from mood swings to the decisions we make when shopping for groceries.

  • It’s time for a change of scenery
    Even something as seemingly insignificant as the shade of paint on your office walls can have an impact on the overall performance of your workforce. If you’re feeling uninspired, the solution could be as simple as cleaning your office, rearranging your workspace, or even switching offices with a co-worker. You could also try working out a telecommuting situation if your job allows, that way you could essentially change your scenery every day.

Are you on mental autopilot?
Albert Einstein is often credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Although in many ways humans are creatures of habit, for most of us, doing the same job day in and day out without any kind of significant change or advancement would become demoralizing. Many people stuck in the status quo have mentally checked out, flipped the switch to autopilot, and started simply working by muscle memory. Sometimes, breaking free from a stagnant routine requires channeling your energy into a new challenge—even if you have to create it for yourself.

  • Step up to a challenge
    It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you simply stick to your strengths. In order to shake things up, try stepping outside your comfort zone and take on a new challenge. Ask to be a part of a new project at work, take classes at a local career tech to learn a new skill, or get involved as a volunteer with a non-profit organization. Creating opportunities to challenge yourself mentally, physically, or emotionally may be just what’s needed to get your head back in the game.

Do you feel like you need a career overhaul?
The average person will have 10 different jobs before the age of 40, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, the youngest generations in the workplace will likely have even more. If you’re jumping from company to company and still can’t seem to find passion in your work, you may be pursuing the wrong career. After you’ve invested time and money in education, training, or certification toward a certain career path, it’s easy to feel trapped if you discover it’s not work you feel passionate about.

  • Reinvent yourself
    Maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind and take a leap of faith. Chances are, you’ve already daydreamed a time or two about your ideal career, so the next step is to ask yourself, “what’s stopping me?” There’s a great saying , “In a year from now you’ll wish you started today.” Do your research, weigh your options, and start working toward a more fulfilling career now. Whether it’s a similar job in a different industry or a completely unrelated endeavor, there are different degrees to which you can reinvent your career. You just have to take that first step.

What are some steps you’ve taken to shake things up in your career? How did it impact your career? How did it impact your personal life? Let us know in the comments section below.

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