Stay or go? Is the grass greener? Will the next job be better? Can I afford to leave without another job? 

My healthcare and teaching professionals report overwhelming stress because their work environments have such a rapid pace, they can barely find time to take lunch break during the work day. Other clients report that they work in such confusing and toxic environments that they end up with no energy left to give to their families at the end of the day. Still other clients are absolutely bored with work because the organization isn’t providing enough opportunities for growth and learning. These clients find themselves feeling guilty for not being more productive.

Before you quit on the spot, or fill out that job application for the coffee shop, give these suggestions a try.

Ask yourself:

How are my actions matching my values or guiding principles?
When making decisions, it’s crucial to take time out and examine your values. Ask yourself what is most important to you and what isn’t? Then, consider if you can truly live out these values at work.  If not it may be time for a change. 

Simon Sinek — “For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea – we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation.”

Can I use my strengths more?
Are you spending more time on your shortcomings than your strengths? “From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.” ― Tom Rath, Strengths Finder 2.0

I like to say that strengths are skills that bring you energy and joy. Do you know your strengths? What brings you joy at work? You may not be able to be anything you want to be, but I believe you can be more of who you are if you use your strengths. 

Are my fears real?
Constructed Emotion theory suggests that we may be wrongly predicting the future based on experiences of the past. Our thoughts happen so fast that we need to pause and discern the truth before reacting. Pausing gives a chance to address fear and replace it with courage. To change your prediction, try asking yourself what is good about fear, then go on to ask yourself what courage looks like in this situation. 
Am I acting out of boredom or anxiety?
When I’m overwhelmed about a career decision, I do not begin by updating my resume or my LinkedIn profile. How could I? I don’t know who I’m marketing to and I literally cannot see clearly. The first step I take is to get my brain’s prefrontal cortex into “Just Right” thinking by getting grounded and centered. You may have heard of the metaphor the Goldilocks of the brain which states that if we are stressed or bored our brains are not working optimally. My advice, take time for deep breathing, try yoga, and make time for reflection before making any major decisions. 

Once I’m in a quiet headspace, I take out a piece of paper and write down all the possible steps I can take to help myself gain clarity. For example, I could talk with my husband, friends, poll the coaching community or even schedule an appointment with my coach to help me re-frame my thoughts and emotions. 

I don’t know about you, but I want to be in a position of optimal clarity when I make big decisions.

Finally, remember, just because you are feeling stuck today doesn’t mean you will feel this way forever. Whether you decide to stay or go, everything will work out. You have one amazing life; I encourage you to live it. You are creative, resourceful, and whole!