Trying to break through barriers is often a motivating factor when looking for a new job. I’m an amateur weight lifter and fitness nut. A couple of years ago I hit a plateau in my training that I could not get through. I ended up hiring a personal trainer, and it turned out to be money well spent. My trainer was an expert in exercise and nutrition. He assessed where I was, we set measurable goals, and he then built a customized plan to help me with breaking barriers. Not only did I get results in the gym, but the lessons learned from my physical training overlapped with what I see as a headhunter dealing with senior level people interested in advancing their careers.
Breaking barriers can be a challenge, and when you feel you have plateaued, here are some things you can try:
- Get Advice — I’ve found that people are typically not great at self assessment. For breaking barriers in your career, seek advice from an objective third party. Your boss is the ideal place to start. He/she should know very well your strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the standard annual review process, ask to have a serious conversation about your performance and how you can improve. Not only will you get objective input, it will show your boss that you are serious about professional development.
- Try Different Things — like with my fitness plateau, breaking barriers requires that you try different things. Repeating the same actions and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, right? Seek out new ways of becoming more knowledgeable and efficient. Attend industry conferences, take courses related to your profession, learn new computer skills that may help you streamline your work processes. The bottom line, mix up the routine that is not getting you to where you want to be quickly enough.
- Set Goals — in my opinion, goal setting is probably the single best thing you can do when trying to improve at something. “Improvement” can mean a lot of different things, and unless you have a clear idea of what the end goal is, it’s very hard to work efficiently towards it. Setting clear goals and developing a manageable plan of execution is ideal. It’s OK to have big goals, but be realistic about the time frame you set. If your overall goal is lofty, break it down into some smaller interim goals so you have your sights set on things that are attainable in the short term.