HITTING THE WALL how can you grow when there’s nowhere left to go?

wall

I really do get it.  You’ve outgrown your job and are capable of giving so much more.  You’ve tried to make it work even though you’re undervalued and undercompensated.  But it’s getting unbearable, even toxic, and you desperately need a change.  But despite countless applications for jobs that should be yours, the interviews don’t come.  And the panic starts to set in as you admit to yourself that perhaps you’ve finally hit a wall.  There’s simply nowhere left to go…

The realization that you’re stuck- really stuck- can be destructive on many levels. It can impact your health and wellbeing and relationships while jeopardizing the security of your current position.  And since growth is best approached from a place of strength and stability, a downward spiral is the last thing you need.

But what can you do when you’re up against a wall, committed to your growth but stuck with nowhere to go?

I’m going to offer a suggestion that may seem completely out there, but please read me out.   I strongly recommend that you stop focusing on your job and instead explore growth from a higher level.

Chances are you’ve been focusing on the particulars of your current situation, perhaps the roles and duties that you’re assigned or your interactions with your supervisor or colleagues.  These details have been pulling you down into the weeds (see my posts “Get Out of Your Way” or “Growth Happens Up Here”) and away from the upward movement you are seeking.

So my suggestion is that you do the opposite by embracing a lens that is much more expansive and upward focusing.  I would suggest something with a spiritual or metaphysical bent if you’re open to it (I have come to love Paulo Coelho or Caroline Myss’s books for this purpose), or if not perhaps a holistic wellness approach.  Find something or someone who speaks to you and set some goals that are empowering with some broader spiritual, humanitarian, or world lens.

Meanwhile, set some new goals for your current position.  While you wait for the right opportunity to develop, try to strengthen your relationships, learn something new, or change the way people view you. Perhaps emphasize becoming a team player, a positive influence, or someone who always finds ways to contribute.

But most importantly, while you’re exploring your own development, explain to yourself that you’re not giving up.  Instead of compromising your commitment to growth, you are simply facilitating it from another angle.

You see, one of our most critical errors in problem solving is perseverating on a solution or set of solutions even when they clearly aren’t working.  One of the best ways to get out of this pattern is to free yourself completely from the solution set and take an entirely different approach, ideally one with no shared assumptions or negative associations.

As someone who has intimately experienced the impacts of hitting the wall as well as rising above it, I can assure you that the only viable escape route is up.

Give it a try.

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About mbhuber2013

convener and co-founder of BTEP, instructor for Tanzania Study Abroad course; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning at University at Buffalo

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