Life is full of transitions. Sometimes they are easy to walk into, and at other times, they seem quite difficult. One of the worst feelings in life comes when you feel out of control. Or worse yet, when you feel downright stuck.
Recently, a friend came to me as a trusted advisor. He sat across the table from me, sharing frustrations about where he is in life. He feels stuck in his job, with no opportunity in sight to be promoted. He knows what he is good at, but doesn’t feel fully utilized.
Maybe you can relate.
You might be new in your career field, or you might be a seasoned veteran. We all go through transition points in life. It seems that some get to that new place quicker than others. Those “others” can get discouraged because of their lengthy stay in the in-between times.
He talked. I listened. When he was done, we began to talk it out. In doing so, we realized there was much he could be doing right where he was. He left not feeling stuck; instead, he now sees himself in a preparatory place. One that is filled with purpose and meaning.
Instead of viewing those times in life for what you don’t have – a position you love, room to grow, feelings of contentment – look at what all can be accomplished in the midst of the turmoil.
1. Let your character be shaped. Being on the anvil is a tough place to be, but it is so good. Lessons can be learned there that can’t be learned anywhere else. It is good to realize in those tough times in life that God is at work. He is refining, shaping, and purifying his people. What is it that you can learn right where you are. Pray that God would sink that lesson deep in your heart.
2. Be faithful where you are. God has you where you are today, for today. The grass might seem greener somewhere else, but that’s not the field where God has you. It’s not an accident. You haven’t been forgotten. Focus your energy on doing an excellent job. This will increase your contentment in your current position, and increase the likelihood that your current employer will give you a great reference when – not if – they get called on by your next employer.
3. Enhance your skills. What would make you even more effective 10 years from now? It might be grad school. It could be finding a mentor in a certain skill and practically attaching yourself to them to learn as much as you can. It might be spending time after work to perfect your “hobby.” Whatever that is, do it. Don’t wait. Time is ticking.
4. Find out your strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I interview someone, this is something I want to know about the person applying. I want to know it because I need to determine if they are a good fit for the position in question. I also ask about this to see how well they know themselves. If you don’t know these, ask people close to you to list three of each for you. You might be surprised what you find out.
5. Discover your “wheelhouse.” Many people run from their discontentment. All they know to do is to leave their current job and hope that their next one is more fulfilling. Sadly, they repeat this throughout their life, and never find what they are looking for. There is an area, though, that God has given you. It is that area where you are the strongest. Don’t know what that is? I’ll write a post on this later this week.
6. Create a roadmap. Michael Hyatt makes a great point on his blog. We all plan for vacations. We plan our weeks. But most of us don’t plan our lives. We drift wherever the wind blows. Don’t do this. Think about where you want to be, and then set a plan to get there. Michael’s ebook is a great resource for creating a personal life plan.
If you open your eyes and look around, you just might see all the opportunities before you. God has you where you are for a reason. Turn that place of frustration into a great place of preparation. Years later, you’ll be glad you did.
What else would you add? What would you say to do to someone who feels stuck in life?