How Your Thoughts Are Keeping You Stuck In An Unfulfilling Job


Why are there so many incredibly intelligent, strong, professional women who feel unfulfilled at work, yet remain stuck when it comes to doing anything about it?


She drives home after a long day at the office… pondering taking the leap into something she loves… Yet days, weeks, and months pass by…. and she don’t seem to be doing anything about it.


It defies all logic… but I see it all the time.  


Now, let me clue you in on a pivotal concept – a hybrid of what I learned from my greatest mentors at iPEC coaching  (the best coaching school in the country and my alma mater) and the awesome Brooke Castillo (love her!)


Brace yourself:  This may be tough to hear.


“Every career issue you have stems from a thought issue.”


Stay with me as I walk you through what this looks like so we can work on changing your career results.



Before we dive into “thoughts,” I first want to discuss your “circumstances.”


People tend to blame their circumstances on their current situation or results.


“I didn’t get a call back on my resume last week.”

“My boss didn’t promote me.”

“I got laid off.”

“The job I wanted didn’t hire me.”


These are circumstances.  You don’t have any control over circumstances.  


Circumstances have to do with other people.  Their behavior. Your past (It’s over now.)


Circumstances are facts (provable in the court of law.)



A thought is one sentence you have in your mind about that circumstance.  It’s what you make the circumstance mean to you.


This is where the confusion begins.  


People think their thoughts about circumstances are truth.


But thoughts are not facts.  They are CHOICES.


Say it with me – “My thoughts are a choice.”


Understanding the distinction between circumstances and thoughts is the first step in getting out of your career quicksand.


For example:

Let’s say that your circumstance is…

  • You have a job that pays you a $125,000 salary.
  • Your mortgage payment is $4,500 a month.
  • Your current job does not leverage your strengths or passions.


This circumstance is always neutral.  


Now let’s look at the different thoughts that could come out of this circumstance.


Person A thinks “I can’t leave this job.  I need this job to pay my bills.  I’ll suck it up and deal with an unfulfilling job.”

Person B thinks “I can get creative with my bills… shuffle things around so I can live on less income for the next year while I’m transitioning careers.”

Person C thinks “This situation isn’t working for me and I’m going to do something about it.  I have the power to leverage resources – people/coaches/tools – in order to explore ways where I can pay my mortgage and go after my dream career.”


Same circumstance – but totally different thoughts about that circumstance.  See what I mean?



OK, now let’s talk about what happens after you have a thought:

Feelings>>> Action/Inaction>>>Result.


A feeling is a one-word descriptive reaction caused by the thought.


“I feel sad.”  “I feel mad.” “I feel happy.”  “I feel frustrated.”


Your feeling is what drives your actions or inactions.  


“I stayed in bed.”

“I went on an interview.”

“I stopped submitting resumes.”


The result (or outcome) is because of the action (or inaction) you took.


Thought >>>Feeling >>>Action or Inaction >>>Result


Lindsay’s Case Study:

Let’s take a look at Lindsay’s case study so you can get a taste of how this works.



  • Lindsay is a Senior Operations Manager at a company paying her a $125,000 salary.
  • Her mortgage payment is $4,500 a month.
  • Her current job does not leverage her strengths or passions.



  • Lindsay thinks, “I can’t leave this job.  I need this job to pay my bills.  I’ll suck it up and deal with an unfulfilling job.”



  • She shows up for work feeling apathetic & indifferent.
  • She feels as though she has a constant weight on her shoulders.
  • She feels stuck and unfulfilled in the situation.
  • She feels unmotivated.


Action or Inaction:

  • Lindsay doesn’t take any action – but instead is paralyzed.
  • She comes home from work and hides – curls up on the couch and zones out.
  • She’s unable to see what her options are.
  • She doesn’t put herself “out there.”



  • Lindsay stays stuck in her current job, with her current mortgage, in a job that doesn’t leverage her strengths or passions.
  • Lindsay’s unhappiness at work starts to have a trickle-down effect to the rest of her life, health, and relationships.


Now, analyze this scenario with me…

  • What other thoughts could Lindsay have about the same circumstance?
  • Pick one of those thoughts – and follow through with the rest of the model.  
    • With her new thought… how will she feel?
    • With her new feeling… how might she act differently?
    • If she completes these new actions… how might it alter her current results?


Change your thoughts, change your career, change your life.

Now Try This:  

Let’s go one step further with your current career situation.

  1. If you are currently feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your career how do you want to feel?
  2. What would be a new thought/belief so powerful that you could feel good about taking action?
  3. When you move through with this new thought/belief leading to this new feeling, what is the new action you will take?  What are you willing to do differently this week?


Let’s Do This.

Are you reading this thinking YES!!  This makes so much sense! But now what?  How can I make this concept really work for me… and take this to the next level??

You may want to consider taking the “Get Unstuck” Assessment.

Recognized by Forbes as a Top 10 assessment for understanding strengths and weaknesses, this assessment breaks down your most dominant thought patterns and sorts them into seven levels of consciousness. The results reveal your default behavioral patterns in normal, everyday situations as well as in stressful situations, and gives you ways to consciously create an entirely new playbook for your life and career.

You’ll receive:

  1. A 20 minute online assessment
  2. A 10 page customized report on where you currently are  in the thought/feeling/belief spectrum.
  3. A 1 hour debrief with me where I’ll tell you why you are stuck and actionable steps on how to make a concrete change in your career.


  • Receive an additional $100 off your assessment (bringing the price down to $97) by inputting coupon code “OCT100” here:
  • Expiration *Limited Time Extension*  10/31/18!!


Whether or not you choose to take advantage of the Get Unstuck Assessment, my wish for you is that this article will help you reframe how you are currently thinking about your circumstances so you can take back the power in your career!


Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is a certified career coach helping corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers.





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