Feeling Stuck?

Shobhit Chugh
4 min readOct 4, 2021

“I feel stuck in my career.”

Those are words that I regularly hear when I speak to product managers. We all feel as though we are stuck at some point or another. The question to ask ourselves is, “what am I going to do about it?”.

A few of my clients have been in this situation as well. After working together to become unstuck, one of them landed a new role with a 30% increase in compensation. They all received more opportunities and expressed that they were happier in their positions.

When we feel stuck, we can get stuck in a mundane routine. We feel unappreciated. We think that we have no choice in our careers. We lose sleep, and our health can decline. Even the people and the circumstances surrounding us genuinely feel like they are all out to get us.

BUT when we get unstuck, big things change.

We have the right combination of flow and hustle, we get the promotions and raises that we so desire, and above all, we get the recognition we deserve for the work we have been putting in.

And it’s not just that; external recruiters start to take notice. And we have the satisfaction of a strong sense of momentum and delight in our careers.

Now all of that sounds pretty amazing, but how do we get there?

See your circumstances as an effect of your actions, not a cause.

Mindset is a key here.

Countless product managers act as if their own decisions have not caused their circumstances. They have fallen into the trap of a victim mindset.

Many feel that their circumstances are causing their pain rather than realizing that they create their events.

Shifting your mindset to understand that your actions determine your life is simple but not an easy feat.

The good news is that when we get this right, we can see things differently. I often see product managers make this shift and immediately see five new tasks they can accomplish to get them where they want to be.

One of my clients came to me to get promoted to the next level over the next year. When he presented this goal to me, I challenged him that he could accomplish his goal faster than he might think possible with a mindset shift.

Together, we tackled his mindset, and he got his next role in a matter of weeks.

To most, this sounds unbelievable. Yet this is something I see every day.

Showcase your work.

If you are not willing to promote yourself, why would anyone else promote you?

Feeling shy or not wanting to brag will not carry you into your goals. When product managers refuse to self-promote, they portray a message that they are not worth promoting.

This “humility” even leads to more problems. Because you refuse to tell your boss about the good, your boss then has nothing good to promote to their boss, and so forth. While you think this is only affecting you, your apprehension of promoting yourself does a significant disservice to everyone remotely involved in your projects.

Gain clarity on what will move you forward in your career.

Having clarity in where you want to go is a vital first step. However, not knowing what will get you there might be twice as critical.

Too many product managers have not taken the time to figure out what exactly we need to do to get promoted.

Sometimes, managers may be great at providing a how-to guide, but this is not the case most of the time. It would be best to learn how to coach your managers through this to uncover the answers together.

Get clear on what exactly will get you to the next level.

Drive faster decisions.

Feeling stuck almost always stems from the fact that you are not doing anything — because you are not doing anything, you feel stuck, and when you feel stuck, you continue not doing anything. Round and round, you will continue to go until you decide to choose differently.

Take a chance. Make a decision — any decision and go for it.

I would rather see a product manager decide to try something that might not work out rather than see them remain stuck in the same cycle.

Seek out help.

The world’s best Olympic athletes have coaches. We would never expect them to walk their road alone.

What is different about other careers?

Most of us have managers, but sometimes a manager is not enough. It is okay to need the personal help of a coach.

Too often, I see product managers wait for a mentor. They wait for their bosses to come to them and offer to pay for a coach.

Your career is your responsibility. Seek out what you need.

If you liked the blog post, you would love my free workshop, “5 Steps our Product Manager Clients Take to Land Their Dream Job, Increase Their Salary by 200%+, and Accelerate Their Career.” Go ahead, enroll now!

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Shobhit Chugh

Founder at Intentional Product Manager (http://www.intentionalproductmanager.com). Product @Google, @Tamr, @Lattice_Engines, @Adaptly. Worked at @McKinsey