How To Persist In Your Career When It Feels Like Nothing’s Happening
Do you really think that everybody who ever accomplished anything amazing received daily encouragement, rewards, recognition, and praise to keep them going? No way! (Well, except for bizarre social media and YouTube sensations, but they’re another beast). The people you really respect and admire probably experienced weeks, months, or even years during which time they didn’t receive one piece of external praise, or one reward, to keep them going. They just kept going anyways. It isn’t reasonable to expect to see new, tangible results for your work every single day. Often, the growth and progress you make goes unseen for a while, but it is happening. That being said, it’s natural to feel a bit dejected and uninspired during those lulls. So, here are ways to persist in your career when it feels like nothing is happening.
Take another class
You’re never done learning. You can always enroll in another class—whether it’s in-person or online—to hone your skills, learn a new one, or refresh on some old but important concepts. There is always honor in learning, and your peers and superiors will respect that you want to keep improving.
Touch base with old connections
Go through your list of contacts in your field and touch base. Give them a reader’s digest version of what you’ve been up to, and ask them what they’ve been up to. You never know what in your email will spark an idea for collaboration in another person’s mind.
Up your social media game
Social media is a free tool that you should be using. Get a Hootsuite account or some other similar platform that allows you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, and more. Get a dialogue going online with peers and people in your industry. Being active on social media keeps you in people’s minds for opportunities.
Make a video
Make an entertaining but informative video about what you do and what you know. This ties into the social media thing, but you can send this video to your contacts, colleagues, peers, and higher-ups. It’s a great way to keep your face fresh in their minds.
Think about how far you’ve come
Take a moment to sit down and reflect on how far you’ve come. It may feel like nothing has happened, but if you really think back to where you were five years ago, you’ll realize that you’ve made a lot of progress.
Meditate, meditate, meditate
There’s nothing like meditation to instill you with the feeling that things will happen in due time. Meditation reminds you not to focus on the things you cannot control. It does a tremendous job at getting rid of the anxiety and nerves we feel when things are slow.
Talk to your peers
Chat with your peers and ask if they’ve ever felt the way you’re feeling. Hint: they have. In fact, many of them may be feeling that way right now. Realizing how common this sensation is may put you at ease about it.
Talk to a mentor
If you don’t already have a mentor, you should get one. If you have one, set up a coffee date and tell her how you’ve been feeling. She may have plenty of ideas to help re-light that fire.
Focus on the work, not the outcome
Remember that you should always, always stay focused on the work. That’s how anybody who did anything amazing got there—they didn’t fixate on external praise or rewards. They just focused on the work, and being the best at what they did. If you do that, people will take notice.
Teach your craft
A great way to get a new sense of excitement about what you do is to teach it! Why not offer a class to younger, less experienced individuals in your field? You could potentially make a little extra income, and it will motivate you to stay sharp and fresh on important concepts. Or you could do it for free and be a mentor.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. If you reach out to your colleagues, and the superiors with whom you’re comfortable, asking if they have any general notes on your work and the way you’re going about your career, they will respect you for it. And you could get some great insight.
Go on a trip
Sometimes, you just need to get away. Looking at your life from afar can give you a better idea of which areas need improvement, and what needs to change. Plus, sometimes you just need to travel to avoid burnout.
Be with your close friends and family
Get around close friends and family—the people who have known you all or most of your life. Remind yourself that this is what matters and that relationships are the point of life. When you remind yourself what wonderful relationships you have, it’s hard not to feel happy and inspired.
Do not compare yourself
No matter what you do, do not compare yourself to other people. Only compare yourself to yourself, a few years ago. Comparing yourself to others never does any good.
Go to more networking/social events
Attend more networking and social events around your industry. It can never hurt to meet new people, and be around those who are energized and working hard.