Get Un-Stuck From a Career Rut with Clarity

How do you realize your career goals when you have no direction? Debbie Peterson breaks it down.

Do you have a job or a career?

According to a recent Career Builder survey, employees are split: About 50% of employees feel like they just have a job, while the other half feel like they have a career.

If you fall in the “just a job” group, you’re not alone.

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“They are just going through the motions,” says career mindset strategist and author Debbie Peterson, who will give the keynote presentation at the IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit, hosted by Athletic Business, in Orlando, FL, on November 14. In her experience, many people in her audiences do not know what they want in their work life or what they’re moving toward.

For Peterson, she sees three distinctive employee groups:

  1. They know what they want and are focused on getting it.
  2. They are fine where they are at and happy with the status quo
  3. They are the people who are in between. They don’t have a focus, and they aren’t happy.

Peterson fell into the unhappy group at one point, which led her to find clarity in her career path. And now she’s helping people find it for themselves, too.

Getting Un-stuck from a Career Rut

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Clarity is more than just a vision board with magazine cutouts (although, one can help).

“It’s getting clear on who you are, what you want for yourself in your career, and why. It is having a direction for yourself and continually evaluating the feedback of your choices and where that leads you,” Peterson explains.

With clarity, an employee will have focus, confidence, and be able to achieve momentum on their journey—everything needed to lead fulfilling lives.

Peterson provides advice on how to achieve such a state.

“Once you start looking for clarity, you’ve turned a corner, and things you didn’t notice before will come into view,” Peterson says.

“Once you start looking for clarity, you’ve turned a corner, and things you didn’t notice before will come into view.”

Debbie Peterson, Career Mindset Strategist

Getting to Clarity

Peterson offers three steps that will help put you back on the right path:

  • Step 1: Introspection. Be curious about yourself. Look at the qualities of people you admire. Identify the direction you want to pursue.
  • Step 2: It’s OK to not know. Realize that you won’t have everything figured out. Total clarity might not be achievable, but by moving outside of your comfort level you are growing and becoming who you really are.
  • Step 3: Reach out. Ask people who you admire about their path. Connect with other people to find out more about yourself. Ask people who know you what you’re naturally good at and how those skills can be used at work.

Easy enough, right?

No, Peterson warns, because “it takes time, and it takes other people. If you think you need to have all of this figured out by yourself, that’s a recipe for stress. … Keep in mind, if you never ask, then the answer is always no.”

Clarity in Women’s Careers

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Looking for a new direction?

Finding clarity can be especially beneficial to women in the workplace.

“Women, generally, can be risk-averse,” Peterson says. She cites a study by Hewlett Packard that found that if a man felt he was at least 60% competent in the skills required for the job, he would apply. Meanwhile, women felt they needed to be 100% competent before applying.

“Essentially, they said they needed to know how to do the job before they would apply for it and negated any of the learning curve that comes naturally with a new position,” Peterson says.

This is where clarity comes in.

“Clarity gives you confidence,” Peterson says. “It gives you the ability to pursue and stick with something without knowing specifically how it will happen and when. It gives you the motivation to get out of bed again and to keep at it when you have one of those days where things don’t go the way you want.”

Peterson, who is also on the ATHENA International board, will be the keynote speaker at the IHRSA’s Women's Leadership Summit on November 14, 2019, in Orlando, FL. The interactive presentation will help guide attendees to make decisions that will take them to a more fulfilling place.

“By going through this presentation, you will walk out with actionable items and the beginning of a plan to get the clarity you deserve in your career,” Peterson says of her event.

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Rachel Valerio

Rachel Valerio previously served as IHRSA's Digital Content Editor—a position focused on collecting and reporting on fitness industry news, staying on top of IHRSA's social media accounts and website, and hatching new plans to expand the association's digital footprint.