Are You a Career Groundhog? 3 Ways to Break Free

Are you a career groundhog_ 3 ways to break free

Does your life at work seem to mimic the behavior of our friend, the groundhog?

You know the one. We tap on his cage every February 2, waiting for him to predict the future. He’s got a 50/50 chance of being right. In most businesses, we’d take those odds.

But are you modeling your life at work after the groundhog? Because sunshine or snow, the groundhog isn’t your best role model for success.

Consider this:

You may be a career groundhog if . . .

  • You’re spending most days burrowed deep in your workplace or behind your computer, keeping your head down . . .
  • You’re hibernating in the same role, on the same project, on the same team, and forgoing growth and expansion for comfort and safety . . .
  • You’re waiting for some old guy (or gal) to officially invite you up, above ground, to peek your head out and predict the future. But even after you do that, you’ll allow yourself to be put back in your cage and sent underground . . .

Any of those ring a bell?

If you’ve become a career groundhog, it’s time for a change.

It’s time to emerge from your burrow at work and stick your head out.

career groundhog

Here are three ways to start:

1. Get clear about who you are and what you want.

Nobody intends to get stuck in a hole.

I'm stuck --career groundhog

But we stay groundhog stuck because we haven’t done the work to know what else we can—and want—to be.

This doesn’t have to be a gut-wrenching session of self-reflection (although there’s value in wrenching our guts once in a while over something other than the latest episode of This is Us).

It can be as easy as writing down the answer to these three questions:

  • If I didn’t care about what anyone else would say, do or think, how would I describe myself when I’m at my very best?
  • If I’m honest with myself, what’s the one thing I want other people to say about me when I’m not around?
  • What’s the one decision I need to make next to be that person more often?

These starter questions help create a roadmap to follow as you decide how to come out of hibernation and get reconnected to something that matters to you.

(Want more help? Our guided on-demand course walks you through questions like these and others, so you can create the clarity you need, fast. More here.)

2. Stop hiding behind your computer.

stop hiding behind your computer | career groundhog

(Or anything else.)

Even if the majority of your work is online or technical, it’s easy to spend all our time depending on emails, IMs, chats and texts instead of talking and connecting IRL.

In real life. Yes, talking to human to human is still possible today.

Take a good look at your work patterns, and find the one place where you could choose to click less. Can you walk down the hall instead of messaging your colleague? Can you invite someone to lunch instead of trading 3-4 emails about your weekend?

Where can you get out of hibernation and click less to connect more?

3. Build your confidence.

Often when I’m working with clients, I notice they fail to see all the amazing things they’re doing or the difference they’re making.

This gap is called “the curse of knowledge.” You’re simply too close to your own decisions, patterns, and work to really understand what your work looks like from the outside.

get knowledge about being a career groundhog

So to break free, focus on building your confidence.

Learn to tell  your success stories (use my strategies to brag so that others don’t gag).  Start networking with one or two people to learn what’s happening elsewhere in your industry or company.

(You can also get my free guide, What to Say to Build Confidence at Work.)

Sure, the cold breezes still might be blowing across your company, industry, or profession–and your burrow seems safe and warm.

Sure, there are natural predators out there–wolves, dogs, snakes (and that’s just down the hall . . .)

But remember, even the best groundhog is still just a rodent.

You’re something more. Pop your head up, look around, and know the world needs you today.


YOUR TURN: How will you break out of your groundhog routine? Email me privately and tell me your story so we can get you out of the career groundhog rut. 

Read this next:

Should You Stay in Your Job? Three Good Reasons

“My Skills Are Not Being Utilized” (& What to Do If That’s You)