We all get stuck in a rut sometimes.
These ruts we find ourselves in often looked attractive to us at first; they may have served us well at some point; and they have a certain appeal with the comfort they offer. However, they are no longer useful to us.
Common ruts are dead-end jobs where people’s talents are under-utilised; friendships that are going through the motions and no longer offer any benefit or joy; teams which have lost their focus and stopped generating results; and organisations that have ceased to grow or change.
Being in a rut typically involves a sense of security in the familiar. However, any good that comes from this is outweighed by drudgery and boredom; a feeling of being on a treadmill; the lack of any growth or improvement; limited learning; and under-utilised skills.
When we escape from ruts things can feel a little uncertain at first but this is more than offset by the excitement of new possibilities; increased engagement and joy; a sense of heading somewhere worthwhile; a willingness and ability to change; and real growth in your life or your work.
If you’re in a rut and want to get out of it here are some steps:
- Be honest about your current situation
- Be clear that you really want to get out of the rut
- Develop a clear vision of where you want to be
- Figure out the steps you need to take, making sure the first couple of actions are especially clear
- Gather up as much energy, courage and support as you can find
- Take a deep breath and make the shift that’s needed
Sometimes it takes major action to climb out of a deep rut. For example, it may be necessary to find a completely new type of work; certain friendships or relationships may need to end; teams may need to restructure; and organisations may need to significantly reinvent themselves. When the ruts we’re in are not so deep a series of smaller changes will often be enough to help us start heading in the right direction.
The reward for getting out of a rut is a productive, fulfilled, interesting life, in which each day offers something new and we can become our very best selves. For teams, escaping from ruts gives renewed focus and enables generation of important new ideas and approaches. For organisations, getting out of a rut enables prosperity and success as opposed to stagnation.
All the best getting out of those ruts and back on track!