Without a doubt, 2020 was a year to be thankful for many things, including those moments when you could hold your head to the sky and be grateful that you could provide the necessities. But what happens when you realize that your time in your career has been on a merry-go-round of unfulfillment? 

If you've been feeling stuck in your career or nearing that stage (and we all know when we are approaching that stage), follow a few of these necessary steps that can help you grow both personally and professionally. 

Write it down and make it plain

Grab your pen and paper and have a seat, my friend! It's one thing to envision what you expect out of your career or business, but it's another to write it down as a guide to get you there. I was always told to write down my ideas and place them where I could see them each day. Although it doesn't sound like a big deal, it definitely helped me get out of bed every day with more enthusiasm while journeying through my 9 to 5.

Be specific as possible

Writing down your goals isn't the only task at hand! Be very specific in your goals, dreams, and prayers. Are you having a hard time measuring growth at your company? Then write down five KPI's (key performance indicators) for YOURSELF. If you are a marketing maven, you know how important KPI's are to the company, so why not have some for yourself? This is the time to look at the nucleus of your company and determine what is essential for your growth.

Be the leader you know you are

You can never go wrong with advocating for yourself! I know speaking up in your career is not easy, especially when all eyes are on you, but you'll thank yourself for it later. If you're naturally shy, this is your time to shine. Discuss your process in those weekly Monday meetings, talk about your discoveries, and even mention how your projects and work can be improved. The return on investment (ROI) can be huge because you are showing your employer that you are proficient at completing a task and knowledgeable on improvement processes. 

Be your own cheerleader

This one is possibly the hardest for many of us, especially Black women. We often don't advocate for ourselves because many companies have a culture where we are seen and not heard. Abandon that mindset and remember you have something to give to this world that is special and uniquely you. 

The first step is to call that meeting with your supervisors and provide input on how current policies are or are not working. Don't forget; no one has the sauce like you do! Speaking up when something is incorrect or just maintaining respect can be unsettling, but it can also ignite a flame in you that was destined to burn bright. 

Create an exit strategy

Let's say you've finally decided that you want to take your talents elsewhere but have no clue how to get there. Don't just quit your job tomorrow without a plan because you're unhappy; instead, create an exit strategy with dates and ideal next steps. In this plan, write out a few of these actionable questions to ask yourself. 

  • How much money will you need to sustain for daily essentials and emergencies?
  • What freelance or part-time work are you willing to do?
  • How will you scale your business if you are an entrepreneur?
  • What is the timeframe of when you plan on exiting from your current company?

Most importantly, allow yourself grace and patience for what's next as you wade the water. Keep swimming, sis. You got this.