10 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There is no static state of perfection, balance and happiness in life . No: not even when you reach that goal, that position, that salary, that house, that company … you will feel 100% complete, at least not for long. Life moves, and unless you move with it, you will soon be trapped in a comfort zone that leads nowhere, like a small fish in a small fish tank.
This does not mean that you should live discontent. On the contrary: be grateful (and enjoy!) Every step of the way; celebrate every achievement and share it with others. But don’t stay there. As soon as you feel that you stop getting up with hope in your soul and energy in your feet, you will know that it is time to move and grow.
Sometimes, however, it seems that life does not allow us to grow. We have been stuck in the same job for too long, with the same things, and we start to get bored. If this continues, the situation can become desperate, as we watch others move up the company ladder, start projects or achieve incredible things.
What are the things that may be holding you back on your way to the future?
1. You need to make a map
Be careful: each person has their own path and living comparing yourself to others will soon turn into a paranoid nightmare. Don’t worry about where others are or their apparent signs of success. It is an absolute waste of time and sanity.
The question that is worth, the one you should ask yourself is, the place where I am and what I am doing, are they bringing me closer to the place where I want to be? Perhaps this question will give rise to another question, even more profound: and all this … where do I want to be?
You know and I know that life cannot be reduced to chasing the fortnight to death of exhaustion (although many live like that, in their rat race). If you are not moving forward it is, perhaps, perhaps , because you do not have a place to move forward. So tell me: where do you want to be in 10, 20, 30 years? What are your talents and passions, and how can you improve the lives of others? What is your purpose, what are your dreams? What would you like to achieve before saying goodbye to this world?
Stop dreaming is the first step of death. I know people who since the age of 40 are simply “putting up with” a job to be able to retire and then … then do nothing. The object of your life is not retirement, but the purpose . Tell me what moves you? And then move on.
The place you want to go is up to you. It’s your map. Once you’ve set a destination, you can walk to it. So every step – no matter how small – is a step towards success. Otherwise, you will only spin around and hit the walls like a fly on the window. If there is no destination, there is no meaning and who wants to live like this?
2. You need to learn something
School doesn’t end at 18 or 25. School never ends. If it is true that nobody knows everything, it is also true that you have the ability to continue learning new habits, skills and knowledge throughout your life. What’s stopping you?
Whether you are in a company or have your own business, as you continue to advance you realize that there are topics and environments that you can and must know to continue growing.
Perhaps you need to learn finance or management; or maybe you need to exercise your emotional intelligence. Maybe you need to learn to sleep, or to eat better, or to exercise. Maybe you need to learn to let go, to direct or to paint.
Not everything is in business courses. Doing business is only part of what you do and, instead, growth in any part of yourself will positively impact your company. Each new step towards success has its cost: in stress, in time, in family, in health or in money. And in each of those settings, you have something to learn.
So learn! You can start by looking for books or podcasts on topics that interest you, although I recommend that you look for organized systems that force you to force your schedule (classes, courses, diplomas, sessions, etc.), so that you can lean on others to achieve your goals. If you feel that “everything is fine”, it is a sign that you have reached a comfort zone.
This is not bad! But, as we have said, it cannot be eternal. Train your mind for the trips you haven’t started yet… and your success will be much easier to achieve.
3. You lack visibility
In all organizations there is some level of internal turnover and movement. It is normal and healthy in a company that grows and advances.
And yet some people get stuck in their post too long. Not for lack of qualities or desire, but for lack of visibility . I’m not saying here that you should be snooty, or that you’re looking for applause every turn; much less receiving personal recognition for team projects. There are few things as toxic as the person who always wants to be the center of attention.
At the same time, it is impossible for them to consider a promotion or a new position for someone they do not know or who is not on the radar. How can we generate positive and legitimate visibility? The simple answer is: with initiative and creativity. You have to give more than they ask of us.
A person who does his job well can be there for decades. But a person who puts his soul in his work, who generates art and creativity in it, who is looking for new solutions to do it better and who raises his hand when it is necessary to raise it… he will soon find new challenges that will push him to growth. The world is not one of the “well done” -says Seth Godin in his book “ Are You Indispensable? ”-But the artists: those who take what they have and, with creativity, build something better.
4. You need to get out of your comfort zone
We all constantly find comfort zones, spaces where things seem to walk well, where the floor does not move too much, where we have what we need. In my experience, these comfort zones are the most widespread and serious danger in which millions of people in the world find themselves. Comfort zones are good as long as they are temporary.
When they want – against their nature – to become permanent, they begin to generate a mist that blinds the eyes, and that does not allow us to see beyond. They are islands in the ocean, but they are not destiny. You have to get to them to rest, plan and take supplies … soon to return to sea, in search of the true treasure.
How to get out of a comfort zone? You don’t need to take foolish risks. It’s not about jumping ship, quitting your job or moving to Luxembourg the day after tomorrow. Impulsive decisions are not the same as startups.
Instead, you just need to explore other environments. Find a class or hobby on Monday nights; organize a meeting with people other than “the usual”; take a trip that calls you and inspires you. Start a project at home, or a business in your spare time. Start small and dare to fail. Discover new talents, passions and connections. All this will give you material for creativity and mental and emotional escape routes to get closer to the destination that you have painted on your own map.
5. You need to look for other opportunities
Finally… if nothing works and you are still stuck in the same place, it may be time to consider looking for other job or business opportunities. I am the last to advise – usually – that people simply quit. A job is something valuable, which pays not only in money, but also in experience, passion and contacts. However, if the place where you are is no longer a space that brings you closer to your destination … then plan your departure with a cool head and look for other opportunities.
This exit can be your own business -that you will try little by little, before going down on your head-, or a different company -which you will look for calmly, because nobody is chasing you- … or a career change, more radical. The world is big and sometimes you have to make bold and brave decisions, like changing cities or countries, if that’s what you need. The objective: that you do not reach the end of your life bored and defeated just because you did not dare to think that it is possible to have a different life.
I know you. You’re smart. You are creative. You are skilled. Above all, you are free. Freedom is a faculty, but also a great challenge. Most of the barriers that trap you are inside you and not outside. Try to move your world with these tips: learn, move, jump, raise your hand and take control of your own present … to create your own future.