Because of the work I do around self-talk and stress management, I get to have a lot conversations with people about things they believe are 'holding them back' that, in reality, are just themselves getting in their own way. (By the way, we've all done this!)
For example, someone might talk about how their job is driving them crazy. They will tell you all about how their boss is useless, the equipment or software systems are out of date, or how they feel like half of their day is spent fixing mistakes made by their co-workers.
My first question is always the same, "So, what are you doing to change that?"
I'm sometimes astonished that the question catches people off guard. The habit of complaining is so inbred in our society that simply being asked to think about the fact that you actually have control over your situations can throw people for a loop!
Most people truly have never stopped to think about how they can do something about it.
More often that not, when that person does answer my question, the response further reveal this lack of self-awareness - they might say things like, 'There's probably nothing out there right now,' 'If I go somewhere else, I'll start in a lower position, or 'I'm lucky to have a job right now, it's not that bad.'
I've got news for you...that's not your boss or your coworkers or your job sucking the life out of you; that's you making a choice to stay in that place, and it's not going to magically change unless you change it.
You can do something different.
If you think about it and then decide that "it really isn't that bad," you may have just needed to get some things off your chest and, now that you have, you're fine. We all have to do that sometimes just to clear the air and get back to work.
However, if the complaining is constant, or there really is a toxic environment or people who are bad for your mental and physical health (think stress and anxiety), you need to take control and get yourself out of there.
Here's how to start doing that right now:
First, make decisions instead of excuses.
No more excuses! (If you're not changing it, I guarantee you are making excuses about it.) No matter what the problem is, you are a part of it. That's great to know!!! Because that means you have some control over changing it. You may think that it's another person or a situation or the job, but the reality is YOU can do something about each of those things.
Don't tell yourself that "it's fine" or "there's nothing I can do about it." Those are lies and you are disrespecting yourself every time you think them. Make clear decisions instead of excuses. What do you need to do? Move to a different department? Leave the company entirely? Report a person or activity that is unethical?
This is a time to be the hero, not the victim.
Next, begin taking steps to change it.
For example, if you have made the decision to leave the company, are you actively looking for another job? An opportunity may not present itself right away, but if you aren't even out there, every opportunity will pass you by!
If you want to be picked to play, you've got to be on the court, not sitting in the stands! Others may be picked first, but that doesn't matter. Get on the court and start showing off some skills - someone will take notice at some point. If you don't, nothing is going to change, and that becomes the choice you've made.
Control what you can control and the rest will figure itself out; it always does. Take an honest look at what might be "holding you back." Borrowing a word from the popular tv show, Friends, you can PIVOT any time you want...you just need to remind yourself that the decision is yours.