How to get out of the rut race

It's Monday morning and the dreaded alarm is buzzing, urging you out of bed. As you struggle to get moving in the pre-dawn darkness, the daily grind weighs heavily. With each passing day, the same old routine continues and your life feels like Bill Murray's in the movie Groundhog Day.

Sound familiar? If you feel like you're stuck in a rut and each day blurs into the next, then you need a change. Sometimes that shift can land in your lap, as it did for business consultant Glen Morris.

Morris understands the groundhog syndrome all too well. He spent 13 years at a multinational IT firm and says while the first 10 were enjoyable, over the last three he fell into a rut and dreaded each day.

“I'd reached as far as I could and there was nowhere to go,” Morris says. “I was stuck in a vicious cycle. My motivation was gone. I needed a change, and I longed to travel and start my own business.”

In 2010, luck was on his side when he received a redundancy package.

“I basically got what I needed on a silver platter. I'm not sure I'd have left sooner if it wasn't for the payout. That was the impetus for change.”

The first thing he did was take a holiday. When he returned to Sydney, he discovered a number of his peers experiencing similar issues: loss of passion and motivation.

“The more I talked to my friends, the more I wanted to help them,” he says.

“I'd been there and I know what it's like. I began coaching friends and family, and that's where I found my passion.”


Last year Morris set up Biz Brain Interpreter to coach managers and business owners through change.

First and foremost, he says, you have to want to make a change. From that point you can start to break down the mental blocks that hold you back.

Human behavioural specialist Dr John F. Demartini, best-selling author of The Breakthrough Experience, has spoken to millions of people across the globe. One of the most popular questions he is asked is how to get out of a rut.

“[People say] 'I'd like to do something else, but I don't know what it is.' If you don't know, then you're going to be stuck,” Dr Demartini says.

He says people fall into ruts whenever their daily actions are not aligned to their highest values.

“A rut is a by-product of not giving yourself permission to go after what you love in your career. The result is feeling trapped in something that is not meaningful.”

When daily actions are aligned, he says, we are inspired to get up every morning and don't require outside motivation.

“We wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed and tap dance in to work,” he says. “When we are engaged in lower priority jobs, we need gimmicks, incentives and motivation.”

Dr Demartini's five tips for escaping a rut:

1. Create a list of everything you do in your job.

Make sure the list is your actual job and not some idealism. Indentify what you like and dislike.

2. Identify the career path you want to create.

“If you're not clear, then someone else will decide for you, such as your boss,” Dr Demartini says. “Take control of your job path.”

3. Is your job a stepping stone or a stumbling block?

Find a job that you love. When you love your work, you are more enthused and fulfilled. This leads to more opportunities.

4. Define what is meaningful in your life.

List your top four or five values. For example, ask yourself what energises rather than drains you at work or home? What do you always find money to do? In social settings, what do you most commonly talk about? What are the top three goals you can't wait to achieve? Answering the above questions will help you determine your top values.

5. Don't expect a quick fix.

Once you define what you love, start to strategise a transition. “It's unwise to jump impulsively, particularly if you have family and commitments,” Dr Demartini says. “Plan strategically. No job you ever do is a mistake. Learn from it, grow from it and take this learning to the next position.”