How to Deal with the Ups and Downs of Climbing the Career Ladder

How many of you have reached the top of the career ladder as quickly or as easily as you imagined you would? How many of you have already met the success you envisioned early on for yourself at this point in your life?

If you’re like the majority of us… Then chances are you’re probably still plugging away with your career goals and looking to make strides toward even greater success in your future.

So, how do we deal with the uneasiness that often comes from climbing the career ladder when our journey is not quite as linear as we hoped it would be? How do we deal with the trials and tribulations of the working world when we’re surrounded by successful people in nearly all facets of life?

As I sit down with marathon runner, Dorothy Beal, on Episode 110 of the podcast this week to talk all about her success as a runner and inspirationalist (check her out on Instagram @mileposts), I thought I might take some time today to explore the ups and downs that come with climbing the career ladder. Because the journey we undergo in our career is not actually all that different from Dorothy’s journey as a non-runner-turned-runner!

Life full of highs and lows, regardless of whether we’re talking about our personal life or our working life… and with that comes the feeling of uncertainty about where to go, what to do next, or simply how to trust that the path we’re on will lead us to the destination we have in mind.

So now, let’s dial in on that just a bit and explore some of the ways that we can cope with the uncertainty that we experience through the ups and downs of climbing the career ladder.

Ready to get started?


5 Ways to Deal with Uncertainty in Your Career


1. Focus on Your Long-Term Goals—

When you feel like you’re not moving as quickly as you’d like when it comes to the career ladder, it can be really easy to listen to the negative inner-critic inside of your mind. It happens! And you’re definitely not alone when those darker days creep in…

But instead of wallowing in your lack of upward movement, I want to encourage you to turn that uneasy feeling on its head by focusing on the long-term goals you have set for yourself instead.

What are some small steps that you can take to help you reach those long-term goals? Write those ideas down and focus your attention there instead.

It can be so easy to lose steam when you think you’re not moving up the ladder fast enough, but by focusing on the big picture and all of the little steps that will get you to your destination, it can curb the uncertainty you might experience day-to-day enough to help you make it through the tougher times.


2. Turn to Those Around You (Use Your Network)—

When in doubt, talk to someone who understands what you’re going through! If you have a solid network of people in your office (or outside in your field) that you can turn to to ease your mind when the going gets a bit rough, reach out to them for a boost of motivation or the confidence that you need to pull yourself up and dust yourself off again.

And if you haven’t started building your career network yet, then I want to encourage you to seek out someone that you admire in your field and ask them for pointers on navigating your career ladder. Chances are, they have been through the wringer a time or two themselves and they’ll have some insight on how to manage your uncertainty moving forward!


3. Celebrate Your Wins—

When the uncertainty creeps in… Celebrate the little wins that you’ve experienced along the way!

What have you done in your career so far that you can be proud of? Did you earn a promotion at some point, branch out and learn a new skill relative to your field, change careers to better align yourself with your life’s mission?

Whatever you did big or small deserves some recognition now and then, so take the time you need to give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate all of the hard work you’ve put in so far… And then keep celebrating all of those wins whenever you’re in need of a boost!


4. Show Gratitude—

It can be tough to pick yourself up after a trying day… So, when the going gets rough, try focusing on some things that you’re most grateful for.

Do you have a colleague who has been helpful to you along your journey? Send them a Thank You note or treat them to a cup of coffee or lunch to express your gratitude.

Excited about a client you just signed? Send them a quick email to thank them for their business or send them a Welcome Basket full to express your gratitude for having signed on as a new client with your company!

A little bit of gratitude goes a long way when it comes to boosting our motivation and lifting our spirits… Give it a try the next time you’re feeling low!


5. Enjoy the Ride—

Want to know the hard truth about the working world? Our journey to the top of the ladder is seldom as straightforward as we imagine it will be.

As you’re navigating your way to the top, nip any feelings of uncertainty in the bud by giving yourself permission to trust that your journey may not look like your co-worker’s. Yours might be full of right-hand turns, twists, peaks, and valleys! There might be periods when you’re climbing a hill, only to go rolling down to the bottom before gearing up for the mountain that lies ahead…

Whatever you experience along the way, pay close attention to the long-term goals you have set and keep in mind that no two paths to the top are the same. What might feel like a low today could suddenly turn into a straight shot to the top tomorrow… So have some faith that it will all work out in the end, exactly how it’s supposed to!


How do you cope with the ups and downs in your career journey? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below… And tune in to Episode 110 to hear more of my conversation with Dorothy Beal and to learn how she continues to persevere, even on the darkest of days!



You Might Also Like

  • Use Your Past to Your Advantage & Stop Holding Yourself Back
  • The New Way To Set & Achieve Your Goals in 2020
  • How To Find More ‘You’ Time After Your Workday
Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton