Tag: life coaching


Feeling Trapped in Your Career? Here’s How to Cope (Re-Post)


A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. 

I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But, the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. 

There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents.

So, I improvised. I took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under Scenic Highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. 

Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

feeling trapped

Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rfq05J2yyI


Feeling Trapped

feeling trapped

Photo by Lori Bumgarner

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) of the lake where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. 

It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. 

Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers that run for hundreds of miles, I felt a bit trapped.

And unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore. All I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. 

Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated.


The experience of feeling trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career. 

Whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I wasn’t working in my purpose.

It’s not a fun place to be, at all (I’m sure you can probably relate).

When faced with these situations, I’ve used various coping mechanisms that have led to changes in my situation for the better.

My paddle around the lake that day reminded me of all the possible ways to cope when faced with the feeling of being trapped in your career. 


7 Possible Ways to Cope With Feeling Trapped  —  Here Are Your Options:

1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient. 

This is probably the most difficult option since most people aren’t naturally patient, myself included. 

But, sometimes this is what it takes when certain factors aren’t within your control. All you can do are the things within your control. 

For instance, when doing a job search you can build your network, learn how to market your skills and strengths, conduct informational interviews, apply for jobs, and prepare for job interviews. 

After that, it’s out of your hands. You have to be patient while the seeds you’ve sown grow into the right opportunity.


2. Make the best of your current situation. 

Maybe you can’t change your situation right now. But you can change some things about it to make the best of it until another opportunity comes your way. 

Check out my post How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave).


3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place or situation because things will soon change for the better. 

Often my clients are in a period of transition which feels uncomfortable for them. 

I too have been in that same situation. 

Instead of letting it continue to frustrate me, I chose to make the most of that time by learning some new things and doing some really fun, awesome things as well. 

I learned to relish that time because I knew it was a rare opportunity to do so. 

That’s why I encourage my clients to relish periods of transition despite the uncertainty they’re facing. 

The ones who do, are so glad they did, and the ones who don’t, often regret it.


4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable. 

You might have more control than you think. But, you have to make sure you’re taking action in both a timely and responsible way. 

When I first started my business, I didn’t immediately leave my full-time job with benefits. Instead, I started taking small steps toward my goal before taking a leap of faith. 

To learn how to make a career risk doable, read my post How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable.


5. Pay attention to the warning flags. 

Just like I had to pay attention to the beach’s warning flags, you also have to look at the warning flags in your career. 

For example, are you hearing rumors of potential layoffs at your company? 

Is your job at risk of being replaced by the latest technology? 

To know how to best prepare for such a situation, check out my post Want More Job Security? Do This One Simple Thing and also click on the related posts for even more tips.


6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone

Once you’ve done some or all of the above, there eventually comes a time when you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. 

How do you do that? Click here to find out.


7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity. 

Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make things happen for your career. 

This could mean combining some of your skills and passions to start your own business. 

Or it could mean proposing a new or different role for you at your current company that better incorporates your strengths and interests, therefore improving the company’s bottom line. A real win-win!


Which Option Is Best For You?

The trick is knowing which option to choose at which time. 

In one of my own career trappings, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit and spent that time wisely planning my course of action.

In another situation, I took a leap of faith.

Both coping mechanisms worked for me in those particular situations. But they probably would’ve failed had I taken a leap of faith when it was too early, or had I waited around when I should’ve taken action. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to know which option to choose. And even then it can be difficult to know the best timing for your chosen option. A good career coach can help you determine both.


What’s causing you to feel trapped in your career right now? 

Which option above is speaking to you? 

I invite you to share in the comment box below.

I also invite you to start setting some goals that support the option (or options) that works best for you at this time. 

Learn how to do so by subscribing to my newsletter and receiving a complimentary download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Related Posts:

feeling trapped

How to Handle Life Transitions Gracefully

“If you let it, life will take you on a grand journey beyond anything you could ever plan for. If you are receptive and open, you will be and do things far outside your current view of yourself.” Benjamin Hardy

In Benjamin Hardy’s recent article entitled How to Reach the Next Stage of Your Personal Evolution, he describes much of what my clients are currently experiencing in their lives and careers (and what I too have experienced in my own life and career). Here’s an excerpt:

How to Reach the Next Stage of Your Personal Evolution

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

Life is a multiple act play. In each succeeding scene in the play of your life, you will act in different roles, have different supporting cast members, and take on new challenges.

Going from one scene to the next is a transition, involving loss and newness. Without question, change and transition are always difficult, if that change is real. It’s easy to become over-attached to a certain role you’ve played, perceiving that role as your identity. It’s painful realizing that various characters from previous scenes don’t make sense in the next scene, yet still you awkwardly try to fit them in.

If you let it, life will take you on a grand journey beyond anything you could ever plan for. If you are receptive and open, you will be and do things far outside your current view of yourself. To quote Biblo Baggins, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

The roles you will play

Lobsters are soft squishy creates that house themselves within hard shells with rigid and spiky insides. As a lobster grows, its shell becomes constraining, even suffocating and painful.

Once the lobster becomes too uncomfortable: it hides from predators under a rock, jettisons its old shell, and fashions a new one. This process repeats throughout the lobster’s life.

Each of the lobster’s shells may look drastically different from the previous one. Indeed, in its new shell, the lobster may be unrecognizable to its closest friends and even to itself.

Likewise, the various scenes in your life may demand you to be someone you never intended to be. Although you may have been timid and quiet in the previous scenes, your new situation may require you to lead and speak boldly.

Each situation is different.

In our individualized culture, we like to see ourselves devoid of a context, as though we are a self-contained entity. However, identity and meanings are housed within contexts. Take for instance the shirt you’re wearing. To you, it may be a shirt, to a baby it may be a blanket, and to a moth it may be lunch.

The relationship between things (the context) is the reality, not the things themselves.

In-between scenes (and shells)

Between each stage in your journey, you’ll go through minor — and sometimes major — identity crises. Although this isn’t necessarily enjoyable, it’s necessary and natural.

According to Identity Status Theory, before you commit to and achieve a particular identity, you’ll experience identity crisis. While experiencing identity crisis, you’re as the lobster whose outgrown its shell. You don’t quite know who you are, or what’s next.

Jeff Goins calls this phase “The In-Between,” — the tension between now and the next big thing. This in-between time is confusing and vexing. Like the naked lobster, you’ve outgrown and cast away your old shell, but haven’t found your new one yet. You feel exposed and vulnerable.

In each scene, you will feel like a child

At each new stage (or shell) in your journey, you will feel like a child. You’ll be required to learn and do new things. You’ll relearn past lessons but from new angles and with new meanings.

Continual growth demands you continuously become a child again. As a child, you will crave and seek understanding. Once you learn and adapt, you’ll likely become complacent. Thus, you’ll need to become a child again so your thirst to grow returns. In this way, you’ll never get stuck or stagnate. (Click here to read more.)

Learn to Relish Change in Life Transitions

In my work with my clients, I see these identity crises in clients of all ages. There’s no such thing as only one crisis that occurs only at mid-life. It occurs in my clients who are turning 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and so on.

One of the things I have to help them understand, as Hardy also explains, is to not only be patient in these times of uncertainty, but also to learn how to relish this time. These periods of life transitions can sometimes be the most exciting and exhilarating times of life because it’s when we finally open ourselves up to learning and trying new things. It’s when we feel most alive. Yes it can be uncomfortable, but it can also be fun if we allow it to.

If you’re currently going through a life or career transition, embrace it and let paNASH help you see the potential opportunities it can lead to. Click here to enjoy the rest of Hardy’s article.

paNASH Named Top 10: It’s What Makes paNASH Unique

As I’ve previously mentioned, I recently had eye surgery. When I first was told I’d need the surgery, I assumed that, even though it was “surgery-surgery” as opposed to a simple laser procedure, it wouldn’t be a big deal. After all, it was out-patient surgery.

Boy was I wrong! Because of how quickly I had to have the surgery, I had no time to do any real research on what I’d be going through. That’s probably a good thing because if I’d known what I know now, I probably would’ve chickened out, and therefore ended up losing my sight in my right eye.

I’ve been so confused as to why my healing period is taking so long. But the more medical staff I speak to, all of them tell me the same thing:  “you just went through a big surgery.” Not only have I gone through a “big surgery,” I’ve also experienced some minor complications from the surgery, making healing time longer and more challenging.

The most challenging part of recovery (aside from the pain and not being able to drive) has been my sensitivity to sunlight. I love being outside when it’s sunny and the weather’s nice. I don’t like the dark. This is why I always choose doing something outside over going to a movie during the day.

But, I’ve had to spend weeks on end sitting inside with the blinds closed. This has brought me down mentally and emotionally, especially on the days when we’ve had 80 temps in February! But just the other day, I received something that lifted my spirits.

paNASH Named in Top 10 of 2017career transition coach

My coaching business, paNASH, received recognition as one of the top 10 coaching services in Nashville for 2017. This is based on Expertise’s analysis across 25 different criteria, including:

  • Reputation
  • Credibility
  • Experience
  • Availability
  • Professionalism

I’m very honored by this distinction, and it’s made me use this time to reflect on what makes my coaching business paNASH unique from other great coaching services.

What Makes paNASH unique:

paNASH provides a “hybrid” approach.

While I’m a certified coach, my background is in career advising. Therefore, I strike a balance between challenge and support. Traditional career coaching focuses only on asking you questions. My hybrid approach provides both challenging questioning to help you arrive at the answers that are within you, along with realistic career advice based on my knowledge and extensive past work experience.

paNASH provides unique and cutting-edge career advice.

Much of the job search advice found on the Internet is the same advice from nearly 20 years ago. I know because it’s the advice I was giving to my clients all the way back in 1999. I love staying abreast of the latest career strategies. In addition to the tried and true advice, I strive to provide unique and cutting-edge advice others aren’t currently providing. This makes you stand out (in a good way!) from other candidates who are only applying outdated job search strategies.

paNASH encourages you to think outside the box.

I love helping you unleash your creativity when it comes to your career and your life. I’ll help you see other options you’ve never previously considered that are different from a traditional path. This can lead to both personal and professional freedom, which you’ve probably been seeking for some time now.

paNASH understands the importance of personal reflection and experience.

I could give you numerous career assessments, and sometimes do without overwhelming you. But you’ll never know if something is a fit for you until you’ve spent time in self-reflection to figure out your “why” and in trying new things. paNASH provides you the permission and the space to explore your passions and to figure out your purpose. Assessments are great at telling you what you’re good at, but they can’t tell you what you really want. Only you can answer that question when given a safe place (away from societal and/or family pressures) to ponder and consider what feeds your soul.

paNASH likes to get moving!

Because of my own passion for the outdoors, I’ve been known to hold coaching sessions outside and even on the water. It’s not unusual when the weather is nice for me to take you out for a walk or hike, or even a paddle on my spare standup paddle board. The results have been so beneficial because clients have commented on just how rejuvenating the experience is. It’s helped them gain clarity on their current situation, adopt a fresh perspective, and even confirm for them what their next steps should be. Plus, they got a little exercise, and most of all, had fun!

So, if you’re ready to get started with paNASH, take the first step by completing the paNASH intake form. Now that I’m finally on the mend and spring is nearing, I’m anxious to get moving again and to help you get motivated!

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Feeling trapped? 7 Possible Ways to Cope

A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents. 

So, I improvised and took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under scenic highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

2016-11-08_1227

Feeling Trappedpicture1

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers with an unlimited amount of distance available, I felt a bit trapped.

Unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore, so all I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated. 

7 Possible Ways to Cope With Feeling Trapped

I’ve thought about that day a lot since returning from my trip, feeling like there is some kind of lesson in it (and there probably is because there have been so many from my various paddling excursions). But what? As soon as I started writing this story, several possibilities came to mind:

  1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient.
  2. Make the best of your current situation.
  3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place/situation. Things will soon change for the better.
  4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable.
  5. Pay attention to the warning flags.
  6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.
  7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity.

Can You Relate?

I’m still not sure which of the above lessons I was supposed to learn that day. But the experience of feeling blocked in or trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career, whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I was not working in my purpose.

Can you relate?

In two instances, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit, and spent my time wisely planning my course of action for when the appropriate time arrived. In one instance, I stopped focusing on the warning flags and took a leap of faith.

I know which approach has worked best for me, but in general I can’t say for sure that either of those approaches is better than the other. And I can’t say that there’s one approach that fits everyone experiencing the same frustrations because everyone’s journey is different. What I can do is coach my clients on the approach that works best for them, their personal situation, and their unique goals and strengths. Which lesson from the list above speaks most to your current situation?

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Is Self-Talk Crippling You?

Thank you to my client Katie who submitted this for the paNASH blog. I appreciate her being so open and vulnerable so that others won’t feel alone. Lori Bumgarner, Owner of paNASH

I find it hard some mornings to get out of bed because of the hostile environment I have created within my own mind. The damaging voices of “what ifs,” “You’re too fat,” and “You’re not good enough” swirl around in my head before I even step out of bed.

Who’s defeating you in the mornings? Yourself? The outside world? News reports? Job loss? Whether it is internal or external, your self-talk will cripple you before you even begin your day.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 27:3

Those mornings can turn into months of unemployment, drinking binges, overeating, under exercising, or self-hating, all which lead to further depression and anxiety. Sometimes it’s a combination of these habits that form worse habits and self-sabotaging behaviors, keeping you right where you’ve always been.

Maybe it’s the friends you surround yourself with. They’re not necessarily pushing themselves, so why would they push you to the next level? It can be parents, grandparents, friends, acquaintances, husbands, wives, etc. The voices that surround you can be just as loud as your own. It never stops either, unless you make a permanent change to be aware of what’s around you, and that goes for TV shows, movies, music, and toxic environments.

Silence the Negative Self-Talk

Here are a few pointers that help me silence the negative self-talk and resist the haters:

  1. BE BOLD:  Plain and simple, be bolder than the voices or the noise you’re surrounding yourself with. Smile, stand up tall, and walk like you’re on a runway (body language is everything!). Do this even when you’re all funk without spunk.
  2. TELL IT TO SHUT UP!:  Sometimes you have to be the crazy person to battle the crazy person in your own head. If you don’t tell it to shut up, who else will?
  3. MEDITATE:  Take time to meditate, slow your roll, and acknowledge what you are actually really thinking versus the mindless clutter. You’ll be shocked at the amount of background noise you’ve been storing up there!
  4. CREATE A UNIQUE PERSONAL MANTRA:  Lori is helping me create mine. Once you have yours, post it everywhere and recite it! It’s your personal “HOOAH” for the day to keep the haters away.
  5. TAKE A STAND: This is even deeper than being “bold”— this is where you list your desires and dreams, keep a journal of everything, and begin your pursuit of a passion-filled life. Accept the challenge!

Ladies and gentleman, your self-talk is crippling you and you might not even be aware of it. That hopelessness, sadness, and feeling like “a lost soul swimming in a fishbowl” doesn’t have to be forever. Which is why it is so important to start standing up for yourselves, and being responsible for the life you want to live!

TOOL KIT FOR PURSUING YOUR PASSION:

Katie G.

Related Post:

How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian