How was Your Groundhog's Day?

6 Ways To Prevent Your Work from Feeling Like It’s Groundhog’s Day at Work

Last Friday was Groundhog’s Day. Again. For most of us, it happens once a year. But for Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in the classic Groundhog’s Day film, it happened. Every. Single. Day. Even if he changed his behavior, the folks with whom he interacted did—and said—the same things.

Do you feel this way at work? Are you stuck in a rut with your tasks, or getting the same results from the employees you lead, no matter which tactic you try? So was Phil Connors.

“I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it's always February 2, and there's nothing I can do about it.”

But this is real life. There is something you can do about it. Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, a bright sunny spring can start early for you today.

Take responsibility for your boredom.

Even if someone or something helped you get to this place of complacency, no one else is going to pull you out of your rut. Things started to change for Phil Connors when he decided, “I’m not going to live by their rules anymore.” Be honest with yourself about why you are bored, and then take ownership of fixing it.

Ascertain the pattern, then airlift yourself out.

A literal rut is a groove in the earth in which your wheel can get stuck. The deeper the rut, the harder it is to maneuver out of it. When we’re stuck in a rut at work, we’re caught in a pattern of some sort. To get out before you dig yourself deeper, be self-aware enough to recognize the specifics of the pattern you’ve fallen into and the habits that are weighing you down. For every day you tell yourself, “Just one more year until my options kick in,” you’re settling deeper into that pattern. Don’t avoid new challenges. Keep your wheels moving.

Recommit yourself to the concept of challenge.

Think of what it means to challenge—it’s to put opposition against or test the abilities of something. When we’re stuck in a  rut, we push away the idea of a challenge to stay in our comfort zone. It’s repetition—like Groundhog’s Day—and the path of least resistance. There are many valid reasons to stay comfortable, but in the long run, if you’re just coasting, you can only go in one direction, downhill. Challenge your assumptions, the status quo, yourself.

Get your “next” going now.

Sometimes we get stuck because we haven’t envisioned what the next step is in our path. But sometimes, the next is simply about taking that first step, seeing how it feels, and then take another one. Remember you can always change course when you’re going one step at a time. Just enjoy the ride. It’s time to take risks, embrace learning and growth experiences, and create your own opportunities.

Embolden yourself to take more risks.

If you’re feeling stuck, you’re likely not taking enough risks. Risks inherently are, well, risky. But the rewards can far outweigh the risks themselves if you take thoughtful risks. When I’m coaching someone on taking more risks I remind them of a few key elements: Start small, and then use the success from that risk to propel yourself to the next. If you fail, well, it was only a small risk, and you can use what you learn for the next time.

Seek conscious growth.

View the process of growth as a critical step in the journey of becoming who you really are, what you were meant to be. Many of today’s leaders believe that the rate of change in the workplace is happening at such a fast pace, that one of your best (and your employees’ best) assets is the ability to learn quickly and adapt easily. Recognize the need to up your own skills and enable the employees you manage to do the same. It can make your current role more interesting and next role easier to get.

So who cares if the groundhog saw his shadow or not. The important thing is to get out of your own and move into brighter days.