10 Top Tips to get out of a career slump

By Joleen Little BVSc MRCVS

  1. Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up or focus on the negative.
  • If you’re afraid of failure and you tell yourself a task is too difficult, chances are you won’t do it well. If, on the other hand, you tell yourself a task is a challenge and an opportunity to test your skills and learn new ones, you’re creating a positive situation for yourself in which you’re not limited by your own apprehension.

       2. Conquer willpower dips by lowering barriers that get in the way of you beginning a task.

  • Often, getting started on a big goal or new project is the hardest part. Once you actually get going, the whole thing feels a lot less daunting.
  • Mental energy is precious, so we need to use it carefully. The more decisions you make—including things as small as what kind of milk to put in your coffee—the less energy you have.
  • This is probably my favourite piece of advice (mostly because it involves food). Regularly eating healthy nutritional meals and snacks gives your brain little boosts of energy it needs to power forward. Without proper fuel, your brain is more likely to focus on immediate indulgences and forget about those long-term goals. So, keep eating to exercise that willpower and make the right choices!

        3. Take tiny actions to move yourself forward; these matter more than grand gestures.

  • Create small, bite-sized goals
  • “There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey, and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” Nelson Wang

       4. Congratulate yourself on the little steps you made in a day.

  • Acknowledge these accomplishments.
  • Instead of only celebrating when you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to reward yourself simply for your hard work. For example, at the end of every week, if you’ve met your goal of studying every evening or have delivered outstanding results in your job, treat yourself to a movie, a nice dinner, or whatever fun activity you enjoy most.

       5. Celebrate Wins

  • “Start acknowledging all the good you are doing. Don’t discount the little things. I mean, how many times do you scold yourself for doing something small that wasn’t perfect? How often do you think the good things such as being on time, or impressing a new client is simply how it’s meant to be? They need to be celebrated. You need more wins in your life. This will motivate you, encourage you, and help you see how brilliant you truly are.” Kai Ashley

      6. Get help to figure out what to do next so take the more efficient way and get expert advice and help.

  • There are many trained counsellors and life coaches that will help bring out your inner creativity. This will empower you to believe in yourself.

     7. Don’t get discouraged; you can find a way to be satisfied and excited about your career again.

  • These important decisions take time so there is no need to feel rushed or panicked.
  • Do your research and make a list of all the things you hope to achieve in a new job and document this. This will make you feel in charge of your future decisions and what you aim to achieve

     8. Reach out to an old connection on LinkedIn or other social media.

  • People are very happy to help and give their advice.
  • By reaching out to people in positions you aspire to be in you can understand how they achieved their goals.

     9. Practice saying “no” more often.

  • When you do agree to take something on, do so with a clear intention. Try saying, “I choose to…” rather than “I have to…” It may sound simple, but your words create your reality, and this subtle verbal shift invokes autonomy and personal choice, which stokes motivation. It feels very different to say, “I choose to go to tonight’s networking event” instead of “I have to go to tonight’s networking event.”

     10. Just Do It

  • “To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works). As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible). You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there are too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win


If you are looking for a new job, feeling overwhelmed, or going through the motions, you CAN reinvigorate your career.  You CAN and will beat burnout and slumps, and if you take even the smallest of actions forward, you will begin to see changes in yourself and in your career trajectory.

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