Feeling stuck in your career or business is the worst kind of feeling.

You don’t feel like you’re contributing at the level you should, and maybe you don’t look forward to your work. Soon stress starts to play a very prominent role in your life every day. It’s not like it happens overnight, or you wake up one day, deciding to be unfulfilled. It’s a consistent erosion of your joy until the thought of doing anything is just too much effort.

There are, however, choices that we make, maybe even without knowing it, that move us away from having a career or business that we enjoy and feel like we are living up to our potential. Here are the top five mistakes that lead you quickly towards being stuck in your career and what to do about them.

You’re not authentic – Essentially you are not being you. It sounds simplistic, but it’s easy to be swayed by other people’s opinions of us and what we should in our career. We get persuaded by people who don’t have good intentions, and also those who have the best in mind for us, like a well-meaning friend or family member. So, what should you do? First, get clear as you can about what you want for your career. Get curious about what may be next or what interests you. If it excites you, then pursue it. Take a few steps to see what happens and then take a few more after that. You’ll know if it’s not a fit for you because it will turn you off. Second, get clear on why you want this, or why it’s important to you. Identify what will it allow you to do as a result or become as a person. If that amplifies your feeling of excitement and you feel motivated, then you know you are on the right track. Keeping moving in this direction and create a barometer for decision making.

You lack self-awareness. If you do what you’ve always done, then you get what you’ve always gotten. Your success in career and business is predicated on developing or advancing in your profession. We all get into routines. It’s the way our brains work. What we repeatedly do, whether it supports us or not, becomes a habit. What you need to look at are the habits that are undermining you professionally. Are you aware of how you are perceived by others at work? To create self-awareness you have to be willing to take feedback and utilize it to improve. When you can look at your work and efforts with an unfiltered view you can more easily see when your negative thinking and emotions are derailing you and focus instead on the logical steps that need to be taken to move forward. This can be tough to implement but will help you to build confidence as you move forward.

You don’t have a goal. Your brain is wired to focus on and find what you are looking for, but we are responsible for giving our brain good instructions. That happens with the thoughts we think and the words we speak. Having a plan is a road map for your mind to help you achieve what is next for you in your career, but how can you achieve it if you don’t even know what “it” is? If you have a plan, you’ll know. Here are some questions to guide you. What do you want? How will you know when you achieve it? What does that end result look like? Can you break it down into measurable action steps? Meaning, you can say yes, I took that step, or no, I didn’t? Your goal needs to guide you so that you are doing what you need to achieve it every day, week, month, quarter, or year. It’s a system for success.

You have no support. Figuring out what is next for you in your career, brainstorming how to get there, as well as the help you need to achieve it, happens with people. It is a deal-breaker to think that you will get to where you want to go all by yourself. Who are the people that you see that have the career or business that you want? How can you connect with them and get their advice or guidance? Who are the people that are working towards what you want? Maybe not in the same department or company, but the same industry? Who are the people that you know that get you and have your back personally or professionally? Who motivates you on the days where things don’t go quite as planned. The speaking business is a very isolating business, even though we get on stage at conferences and speak and connect with hundreds or thousands of people at a time. If it weren’t for the people in my personal and professional life, I wouldn’t have my business. They give me feedback, ideas, love, hugs, cheers, ideas, and understanding. If you don’t have that, then you need to find it pronto. Your career or business is as good as the people with which you surround yourself.

Fear is holding you back. There is a quote that I love that says, “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could.” Even though technically, Fear and Doubt are different, they swim in the same pool, and many times your fear of change or the unknown can cause you to doubt yourself and your abilities. Essentially, your belief system about yourself and what you want for your career isn’t supporting you. If I asked you what gets in the way of you taking action towards what you want, how would you answer? Those are the things that you need to focus on. What beliefs do you need to challenge? You know where you need to stop thinking and start doing and its matter of what you decide. Real fear is meant to inspire you to take action; what it takes to be safe. Your fear isn’t keeping you safe; it’s keeping you stuck.

Consider which one of these mistakes that might be holding you back and what you’ll do differently going forward. I wish you the clarity of direction to have the career you deserve.

Debbie Peterson is a Business Keynote Speaker helping women and emerging leaders in financial services to get clarity on the direction of their career within their organizations. She provides programming that helps them to identify, reach for, and realize their career potential.  Visit https://www.debbiepetersonspeaks.com/