Winter 2021
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CTDO Magazine

Get Your Career Unstuck

Friday, January 15, 2021

Use these hacks to find your way to a new career opportunity.

Feeling bored with work? No longer engaged or connected to your team? Does the economy have you worried about your future with your organization? Are you ready for a career change but have no idea what you should do?


If you’re considering a new job or pivoting your current one, consider these hacks from career coaches.

Be observant, ask questions

If you have been envisioning a change in your career and are feeling stuck with how to move forward, you aren’t alone. Determine to be more observant of steps other people took to move to the next level.

Create an intention for what you want. Visualize it as clearly as you can with the information you have now.

Become curious as you observe the actions others have taken when they’ve made a similar career transition. Ask lots of questions—that’s the most important step.

As you observe others, ask yourself, “How did she do that? How could I use that same idea?”

Consider interviewing for information. Identify someone who has accomplished something you’d like to do, contact the person, and ask to meet for 20–30 minutes. Most people are willing to share their journey. 

When you’re asked a question, your whole brain is stimulated and releases serotonin. That release causes the brain to relax, which enables it to find answers and develop solutions.

Make this a daily practice, and it will become a habit. Enjoy the results.

Source: Judy Sabah, personal business coach and questionologist   

Take the Enneagram assessment

The Enneagram assessment is a powerful tool to turbocharge your self-awareness and uncover the subconscious behavior patterns that motivate you to act in various ways.

The assessment includes nine core personality styles that are profound and comprehensive, detailing inner motivations, thought patterns, and basic beliefs. No type is better than another, and each has strengths, talents, and advantages as well as limits, pitfalls, and blind spots.

Everyone has different lenses with which we view ourselves and the world around us. The Enneagram can illuminate your perspectives and help you interact more effectively with others from a place of understanding.

Insights from the assessment can be a launching pad to change your career and the way you live your life. If you’re ready to learn more, an executive coach can help you take and understand the assessment and use the results in a personalized manner. In addition to the Enneagram Institute, another helpful resource about Enneagram types is IE9. 

Source: Elisa Canova, executive coach and president of Artemis Coaching

Change your language

When you feel stuck, listen to your word choices and unpack those analogies, metaphors, and phrases. For instance, stuck most often means someone does not know what to do, which means they do not know what to say.

Speaking, declaring, naming, and describing the current situation versus the desired state is essential. Finding someone to talk to is a crucial first step.

The sensation of stuck or blocked suggests there may be only one or two options to release the psychological grip.

Create a network map or a list of people who can provide a safe zone for a career conversation. Be open to what colleagues have to say.

Often when individuals are stuck, they need to be reminded of their strengths. That alone can spark motivation, which can launch you into taking steps toward your goal or desired change.

Exploring the word stuck can likewise lead to meaningful conversations about your perception of what is blocking your career path. This observation may be accurate, but it may be false.


The best way to get clarity is to ask what the word block means. There may be a person or phenomenon blocking your growth and promotion, or the block may be self-imposed. Again, getting unstuck or unblocked rarely happens without a conversation.

The sensation of being stuck or blocked suggests there may be only one or two options to release the psychological grip. The reality is that it is rarely an either-or situation. There could be dozens of potential moves that may free you from feeling that you can’t make a career move.

Above all else, finding replacement words are powerful ways to take psychological steps toward your career goal. Believing you are free or open is significant and is far more growth-minded than feeling stuck or blocked.

Our words matter. If we are not careful, they may keep us living small. A few shifts in your speech can create a far more expansive perspective on what is possible.

Source: Carrie Lynn Arnold, principal coach and consultant with The Willow Group and author of Silenced and Sidelined: How Women Leaders Find Their Voices

Work with an executive coach

Many professionals reach a point where they know they want to make a change but aren’t sure what move to make. A professional executive coach can help you gain clarity around what’s getting in your way, move through obstacles, and create exciting new opportunities.

All of us have limiting beliefs that hold us back to varying degrees. Strengths overplayed can become weaknesses.

And what got you to where you are won’t necessarily get you where you want to go next. A coach can help uncover your full potential by identifying what matters most to you and provide support to take effective action and facilitate transformational change.

To find an executive coach, ask trusted colleagues and friends for referrals, check out the International Coaching Federation's online directory of certified professional coaches, or simply do a Google search. Chemistry is important to get the most from your investment, so connect with several coaches to see who is the best fit for you.

Source: Elisa Canova, executive coach and president of Artemis Coaching

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected]

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