What To Do When You Feel You Are Not Achieving at Work


A new year is incoming. Aside from the ridiculous ‘resolutions’ we are conditioned to make, any holiday season is prime thinking time. September traditionally sees a lot of resignations – we take our summer time out and return ready to make a change, to move on, with dreams of moving up. Typically, the New Year will see this too. If you are not necessarily looking to move jobs, you might feel that common reflection that we all do – looking back at the previous 12 months and where you want to see yourself in the months to come.


Not a single person is happy in their work 100% of the time, but if the problem lies more with you than your role or company, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. We fall into a status quo often in life and career, but if there is one thing living and working through the pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of our own personal definition of our ‘success path’


What does success look like for ME?

There are literally very few things that we cannot achieve if we put our minds to it. Even blue-sky ideas or thoughts, the only thing that ever holds us back is ourselves. This also means that there is no set-in-stone definition – short or long term. Whatever you have been conditioned to think, it’s vital that you define this for yourself, right now and looking forward, but not necessarily long term either. Money, power, and status might form part of your own definition, but this is 2021, and it’s likely to also feature flexibility, purpose, and growth.


The happiness factors

We tend to forget ourselves. Things we used to enjoy, that we have since moved on from for whatever reason, hobbies and skills unrelated to your current role. Even parts of your job that you enjoy more than others – your very own ‘zone of genius’ Think about this and the things that you love to do. If you had a month away from your desk – what would you spend your time on?


The highlight reel

Think about times when you have felt at your best or ‘achieving’ - what were the granular factors of this success? What part about it did you particularly enjoy? If you are feeling brave, ask colleagues or friends what they think you are best at – you might be surprised how others see you. I don’t particularly enjoy things that others may consider me good at. On the flip side, I often do not recognise the positive things that others will say about me also, and it opens your eyes to a wider choice.


We were not made to stay in the same cubicle all our working career, and it is perfectly natural to want ‘more’. The definition of what ‘more’, ‘achievement’ and ‘success’ looks like for you is the key factor to being able to plan your next move, or simply bring more joy back to your work day. Not everyone is after more money – and beware, the grass isn’t always greener.


If the ‘great resignation’ is true – and the apparent lack of talent available in certain industries – there is no need for knee jerk decisions on your job. Instead, this topsy turvy world presents you with an opportunity to plot your own success path. To know what you want for your own future of work and to consider speaking to your manager about a shift in focus and tell them what you can bring to their table. Every manager wants a happy workforce, and you would be much more productive doing work that you enjoy as a benefit for all.

Take the time to create your own success path on your own terms. Dig deep. Nobody passes away wishing they had worked harder, maybe you can carve out a role for yourselves that leaves you working smarter, and happier – you just need to decide what that looks like for YOU.