CAREER DEVELOPMENT / FEB. 05, 2015
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10 Ways to Overcome Career Inertia

You are more than likely familiar with the term inertia. While focusing on physics, it suggests that something of matter will remain unchanged in terms of its state (at rest or in motion) until an external force acts upon it.

Think of it this way: when your shoe is sitting on the ground, it will remain there at rest. However, once you exert force on it (perhaps by kicking it), you have changed its existing state of rest. The same is true for something that is in motion. Picture a ball that someone kicks across an open field. Once that ball is in motion, it needs some external force to stop it.

As humans, we tend to resist much change. We get caught up in our lives, continuing on the same path. When you focus on your career, are you happy with what you’re doing? Perhaps you began working as an accountant for monetary reasons, but you no longer enjoy it. In order for change to occur, you need to make it happen.

If you do not take control of your future and your career, both time and inertia will control it for you. You will continue on the same path, until change is made. So, how do you overcome career inertia? The following ten ways will help you shape your career and future goals:

1. Set Deadlines for Your Goals

We tend to get stuck in routines. You may be used to waking up at 7 a.m., making your morning coffee, starting work at 9 a.m., attending meetings, sending emails, meeting deadlines, and the process repeats itself. You may think about striving towards another routine or career, yet you do nothing about it.

In order to overcome career inertia, you need to set goals. Not only do goals need to be set, but they need to have deadlines. Procrastination can most certainly keep you from your career goals. So, write down your goals then assign a deadline for each one of them. This will motivate you to reach your goals, as you change careers or positions.

2. Stop Making Excuses

You can come up with any excuse in the book to avoid making changes. However, if you continually make excuses, you will never overcome your career inertia. Think about the excuses you make then focus on how to overcome them.

Is your CV out of date? Well, then sit down one night and update it. Simple as that. If you would like to start your own business, what excuses are you making? Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something. Don’t allow yourself to limit your options. Stop making excuses, and overcome any challenges that stand in your way.

3. Allow Yourself to Dream

When people ask what your dream job is, how do you respond? If your dream job is not what you’re currently doing, then ask yourself if you’re making the right choices. When you allow yourself to dream, you think of what you want to achieve. If you just stay focused on the path you’re on, how will you ever obtain your goals? You need to dream in order to motivate your goals.

4. Reach Out to Your Network

Think about the network of people you have. Are there any individuals in which help you stay motivated? You do not always need to rely on someone to provide you with opportunities. Sometimes, you just need some positive encouragement.

Reach out to friends who have achieved their career goals and continue to set new goals for themselves. Let them motivate and encourage you. This could provide you with the extra ’push’ you need.

5. Believe In Yourself

No one can control your future but you. If you are the one telling yourself that something can’t be done, then you will more than likely continue on the path that you’re currently on. Before you can commit to anything, you need to believe in yourself.

When you think about the changes you’d like to make, assure yourself that you can do it. Once you truly believe in yourself, you can set goals that will allow you to begin your journey. Breaking inertia starts with your own personal thought process.

6. Expand and Develop Your Skills

Sure, some people are born with the natural skills they need to make their dreams come true. Someone may be skilled musically, ever since they were young. If you want to work within the music industry, then work towards the skills that you require. Practice makes all the difference. If you do not possess the skills you require to overcome career inertia, then start to develop those skills.

Also, do not always focus on the skills that you don’t possess; focus on the skills you do possess. This will allow you to gain opportunities, which may lead into further opportunities. Think about some of your strongest skills; how can they help you make changes in your career?

7. Be Persistent

If you gave up every time something got a bit tough, then how would you ever progress? You need to look forward. If something doesn’t work out, ask yourself why? Then, figure out what changes need to be made in order to succeed. Obstacles are inevitable in life, especially within your career. You need to stay committed, as persistence will allow you to push forward.

8. Have an Open Mind

When you have an open mind, you never know where life will take you. Sometimes, we come into contact with people or are exposed to situations without planning for them at all. When you’re open-minded, you allow yourself to see more opportunities in everyday life.

9. Take Risks

You know what they say: no risk, no reward. How can you ever overcome career inertia if you’re too scared to make a change? Change is often associated with risk, as nothing is certain. When you make changes, you’re moving away from your routine. Once you leave your routine, that is when uncertainty creeps in. Don’t let this stop you from reaching your goals. Not all risks will pay off, but they will ALWAYS provide you with a learning experience.

10. Take Action

The worst thing you can do in terms of overcoming career inertia is sit back and wait for something to happen. Being lazy isn’t going to get you anywhere. Create an action plan and don’t hesitate to act. By taking action, you are already on your way to overcoming inertia. Small, gradual steps are better than taking no action at all.

If you are ready for change, then it’s time that you overcome your career inertia. Be the change that you’d like to see. Your future is in your own hands. Start switching up your habits, stepping outside of your regular routine. You can overcome career inertia, but you need to believe in yourself, taking some form of action immediately.

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