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  • Owais Afaq

    Owais Afaq is obsessed with understanding the potential of the human mind, and with exploring topics related to emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-improvement. He is a tech consultant by profession, where he has helped companies and individuals in the areas of website and mobile app development for the past seven years.
Never Settle: 5 Steps to Relaunch Yourself When You're in a Rut
Career Growth

Never Settle: 5 Steps to Relaunch Yourself When You're in a Rut

Whether you’re stuck with a nine-to-five job that you absolutely hate, or struggling with starting or sustaining your own business, the fundamental struggle narrows down to one simple question: “What am I supposed to do?” Being stuck in a phase of life that exhausts our emotional energy also impairs the ability of our mind to see the bigger picture, rendering us helplessly fixated on micro-issues in our life. We tend to stress ourselves out over problems that can be solved with a few simple steps. In my twelve years of professional experience, playing different roles in diverse industries, I’ve found these five steps to always get me out of these ruts, enabling me to regain my emotional health and relaunch my journey towards professional success. Never Settle: 5 Steps to Relaunch Yourself When You're in a Rut It is never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot Unplug and recharge Whether you’re an introvert like me or an extrovert who likes to be around people to feel good, disconnecting from the world is always a good option for clearing your head and figuring out life and yourself. The time that you spend with yourself has to be dedicated, without any disturbances from the outer world. If you can, go out in the woods or the mountains for a couple of days. If that is not an option, just take some time off from everything and spend time in your room doing things that make you happy. Log out from your social media accounts, turn off your cellphone, and let your friends and family know that you don’t want to be disturbed during this time. Most importantly, spend this time thinking about your life and what you can do to make it better. These thoughts don’t have to be rational or practical at all; let your mind wander through the possibilities and set your imagination free. For me, being a highly introverted person, spending this time with myself is crucial every now and then. It helps me recollect my energy, separate out the healthy elements from the toxic and energy-draining ones in my life, and chalk out a fulfilling strategy for moving me closer to my goals. Write it down No matter how unnecessary this may seem, writing your thoughts down can prove to be the most remarkable step in changing the course of your life. Our minds are great at problem-solving and are capable of coming up with extraordinary ideas, but it is hard to connect them and use them to map out a structured strategy without first writing them down. You can start jotting down your problems, threats, opportunities and solutions randomly, but it is often a good idea to follow a framework that has been proven to deliver results. Frameworks like the SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) Analysis and CPSP (Creative Problem-Solving Process) can formalize your way of thinking and help you focus on each important step for solving your problems. Ask for help The human mind is biologically programmed to keep us out of stressful situations. This makes us nervous and shy when discussing our problems or in general initiating a conversation with people who don’t know us. Our mind goes through a series of superficial reasons to prevent us from contacting people and connecting with them. These people can potentially become our mentors and drastically reshape our perspective towards life, helping us bypass obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals. You must try to remember this one thing in life: no one will ever disrespect you if you genuinely ask for their advice. Reach out to people who can understand your situation, show them where you're stuck and what you’ve done to try to solve your problems, and ask them for their insights or assistance. You will be surprised at how many people will feel honored by your outreach and will want to help you out, or at least connect you with someone who can. Get it out there Once you have regained your energy, chalked out your plan and built valuable relationships that are genuinely willing to help you out, start implementing! Don’t wait for the right moment, a surge of motivation or some divine voice that will tell you when the time is right; just get started with baby steps. If you’ve decided to switch your job or field of work, get started with those online tutorials one at a time and build relationships with people in the industry you want to work in. Once you feel confident enough, send out resumes and get the word out about your skillset and ambition to excel in that particular field. If you’ve decided to become a writer or blogger in a particular niche, start writing blogs and post it on your WordPress site. Create a Facebook page, ask people to spread the word, and create a list of subscribers. All this can be done without any investment and eventually helps you realize that when you share your authentic views about a topic you love, like-minded people will connect with you to further your efforts. Take that leap of faith With all these efforts, there’ll come a time when you’re finally presented with the big question, “Are you ready to jump?” This is the time when all your efforts, and the steps you took to reshape your life, finally seem to have paid off. At this moment, you have to collect all your courage and let go of the things that drained your energy but you thought were important to survive. It is really hard to believe at this point that the plan you mapped out and the relationships you have built will help you survive through the excruciating but oh-so-rewarding efforts of the journey towards your dream success. Once you realize that this is that deciding moment, discuss it with your mentors and go for it. Take that leap of faith, because without it, you can’t achieve greatness in life. I have found these steps to be extremely useful both to my own personal and professional journey, as well as to the lives of those I've helped. I hope that by following these steps, you can can find the courage to leap out of your rut, and relaunch your journey towards greatness.