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I'm Stuck

career mindset Nov 11, 2022

by Danielle Roessle, LCSW, GCDFI, CCSP, Founder of Inner Compass Coach (with the help of Hunter Dickson, CCSP)

The most common thing I hear from potential clients is, “I’m stuck.“

What is stuck anyway? Some of Webster's Dictionary definitions are: to remain in a static condition; fail to progress.

I believe being stuck regarding a career change means being trapped in a set of thoughts and behavioral patterns that feel unsettling.

Unfortunately, in our society, people face many uncontrollable realities that limit opportunities for success and change. For example, a person’s race, gender, age, sexual orientation, economic class, immigration status, military status, and physical or mental disabilities can all adversely affect their job options, even though they are outside someone’s control.

In my experience, career changers feel stuck when they allow the barriers of things they cannot control to consume their focus and forget to look at what is possible within what they can control - such as their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Picture someone you know who has been in their role for 10 to 15 years and has resisted or feared making a change, even though they say it's what they want. And when the person remotely explores another option, they are quick to turn it down because they've conditioned themselves to look for what they fear. 

 In modern psychology, we understand that thoughts influence our feelings, therefore impacting our behaviors and outlook. When all we think about is what stops us from making a change, our defeated perspective becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since we don’t leave room for any other option. Let's take the example of a job changer who has experienced ageism and allows that experience to consume their beliefs about getting hired. They will likely not make a change since they have not allowed a future possibility of anything except rejection. 

Therefore, if we want to get unstuck, we need to give ourselves the space to see what has caused us to be stuck and allow ourselves to challenge our thoughts and assumptions. When we shift our thoughts to allow the barriers outside our control and the possibilities of what we can control to exist simultaneously, we can see new options because we have lifted our blinders. 

Going back to the job changer who has experienced ageism, what if their belief is that they will get hired by a company that values them? This shift might cause feelings of confidence, and as a result, they might choose to research and apply to companies that value more seasoned employees and network with their friends who feel their company values their contributions. 

Observing your thoughts is the first step to breaking up the cycle of being stuck, as it also causes a domino effect in shifting your feelings and behaviors. Ask yourself questions about what you can control, such as do you value your work - whether you’re offered a job or not? Do you believe in your abilities - even if your supervisor doesn’t give you praise? Do you feel good about your innate qualities - because they're still a part of you, even if someone might not acknowledge them? 

When you allow yourself to see the possibilities beyond failure, you can take back the power of your future and use it to guide the next steps in your career. 

You’ve got this!


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