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Five Ways to Raise Yourself Out of Mediocracy

Do you struggle with being stuck in a job that is not rewarding? One that doesn't inspire you to perform your best work? Worse, one that leaves you unfulfilled and feeling unsatisfied? Has your work become more habit and routine rather than stimulating and transformative?

If you are just going through the motions... waking up, getting dressed, heading to work -- and picking up the paycheck at the end of the week or month -- then this advice is for you. If you know others with this condition, please feel free to share this article.

Life is too short for wasting days, weeks, months, and years on a job that does not inspire you to do your best work.

Perhaps you feel stuck; you know the job is not ideal, but you feel trapped because of one or more choices you have made. You need a paycheck to survive and your time is limited, so another day passes... and then another...

This article gives you five tools for helping you break through the mediocracy and haze -- tools that will help you find meaningful, challenging, and fulfilling work; work that inspires you to do your best.

Breaking Out of Mediocracy: 5 Strategies for Changing Your Life

1. Identify Your Purpose/Passion. I firmly believe that every single person has a unique purpose in life, and your goal is to find yours. With a purpose, everything in your life changes, so it's important to start with this strategy. A purpose is an important driver/motivator; it's transformative.

How do you find your purpose? It's going to take some time and self-reflection, so if you are serious about breaking out of the mediocracy rut, you'll have to make the time. Start with a few self-assessment tests; these are my favorites:

But self-assessment tests are not enough. You need to dig even deeper to find what activities truly are central to your core. If you need some help, ask close family and friends what they see you being passionate about. For me, it's about helping people, inspiring people to live better lives -- and, luckily, I have found multiple methods for doing so.

2. Attain Additional Education/Training. Knowing your purpose is one thing -- and an important thing -- but it does no good to know your purpose and not act on it. This strategy deals with investigating and implementing a plan to obtain additional education and/or training if that is needed to obtain a position that aligns with what inspires and motivates you.

Yes, this strategy has the potential trifecta of hurdles: time, money, fears.

Obtaining additional training and education takes time, especially if you need to keep working full-time, but it truly is never too late to get started -- and the more time it takes, the more time you have to work on some of these other five strategies.

The cost of the training or education is perhaps the biggest hurdle for most, but if you want to be more fulfilled and happy, you must find a way. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement, even for classes that are not specifically worked-related. Scholarships and other financial aid exist for all types of students. If you really want it, you can find the funds. Think of the costs as an investment in your future.

If you have not been in school for years -- or decades -- going back can indeed be daunting. But guess what? Studies show that many older (and wiser) people who go back to school do much better than when they were younger. Yes, you may need to learn new technologies, study skills, and the like, but that's part of the adventure -- and skills you will be able to use forever.

3. Volunteer to Gain Experience. Once you have discovered your purpose, and before and during your additional education, seek out volunteering opportunities related to your new purpose.

Volunteering will not only give you a renewed spirit by helping others, it will help lay the groundwork needed for your career change. You will learn valuable insights from the experience -- and even more valuable contacts.

Find volunteering opportunities by looking at your local community, asking friends and colleague, and/or using one or more of several volunteer-matching websites:

4. Stop Wasting Time. That may sound a bit harsh, but when we are stuck in mediocracy, we find lots of ways to fill up -- and waste -- our time. We surf the web, we clock many hours on social media, we spend too much time at the water cooler gossiping, we numb our brains with countless hours of useless television.

It's amazing how much more time we have for meaningful activities -- and change -- when we strip down (or remove completely) these time-wasters. You will have time for self-assessment and for taking classes... and for volunteering.

Start today by cutting back on all activities that distract you from your purpose -- and your plan of getting there.

5. Resist People Who Hold You Back. One of the hurdles you should not have to face, but inevitably will, are people who try to dissuade you from leading a more fulfilling life.

Some of these folks are well-meaning, and may even be your partners. They may be worried for your ability to handle the change, to finance the education, or they simply fear change. They may have their own insecurities or issues.

Others may simply be envious or mean-spirited, especially coworkers or your current boss.

Do not let anyone hold you back, including yourself. It is your life, and your right to live a fulfilling life. Do whatever it takes to block out the negativity and keep on your path. Yes, some days will be harder than others -- and even you will be discouraged -- but keep your sights on your end goal and take things one day at a time.

Final Thoughts on Breaking Out of Mediocracy

Only you have the power to pull yourself out of a situation in which you are simply making the motions, only doing the minimum of what is expected. Using these strategies as a blueprint is the first step to changing your work, changing your life.

My partner and wife, Jenny, is the perfect example of following these strategies, though she is as far from mediocre than anyone I know. Still, she worked for many years in jobs that paid the bills and provided some fulfillment, but she knew her life was meant for something more. One day she sat down and went through the self-assessment and self-discovery process and found her purpose in life is helping people overcome mental challenges, and especially helping military veterans overcome the many challenges they face as they try and reassimilate into civilian life. She is currently in a mental health counseling graduate program, taking the program one course at a time, one semester at a time at her own pace. She overcame the hurdles of going back to school and those who may have doubted the timing of her actions or her abilities. One day soon she will be complete her degree and start a thriving practice helping others -- and fulfilling her purpose.

Finally, remember you can also use some of these same strategies for other situations in which you are not being fulfilled, including: relationships, self-care, spirituality.

Are you ready to go from average to awesome? Good luck -- and remember, it is never too late to get started!


"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it's holy ground. There's no greater investment."
-Stephen Covey.


EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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