Ever felt like you're simply going through the motions at work, totally disconnected from what you’re actually doing? Trust me, you're not the only one.

Back in 2018, I thought I'd hit my mid-career peak. I was thriving in a job I was great at, in a place where I had built a solid reputation. I had influence and spearheaded several successful projects. But before I knew it, I was losing steam. Fast forward a year and a half, and I hit a wall. I didn't even recognize myself, let alone know what I wanted from my career anymore. A role change thrust me into a tough environment, leaving me unmotivated and disconnected from a mission that once resonated with my own values.

Like many mid-career professionals, I felt undervalued, which severely dented my motivation and overall job satisfaction. Often, this can stem from poor leadership, unclear guidance from higher-ups, or a simply unsupportive work culture. But here’s a key lesson I’ve picked up along the way: it’s not just about those external factors that you can’t change. There are also internal factors—things within your control—that can profoundly impact how valued you feel at work. Stick with me, and I’ll show you just how much power you have to flip the script and turn things around.

The Two Sides of the Coin: External vs. Internal Factors

External Factors (Out of Your Control): 

Let’s face it, some things at work are just not in your hands. The culture of the company, the style of leadership, even the mission of the organization—these are all things that can affect how valued you feel. While these factors are outside your control, acknowledging their impact is the first step in understanding your work environment better.

Internal Factors (Within Your Control): 

Here’s where it gets interesting. Despite the external setbacks, there's a lot you can do internally to feel more connected and valued. It starts with a bit of self-exploration to pinpoint exactly what your strengths are and how you want to make an impact. This internal audit of your professional self is crucial in setting the stage for the next steps.

Taking Control: How to Feel Valued (Even Without a Promotion)

Self-Discovery: Understanding your own strengths, values, and the impact you wish to have is foundational. Tools and exercises in self-reflection can guide you in this introspection phase, helping you clarify your professional desires and how they align with your current role.

Showcasing Your Value: (Actionable Steps!)

  1. Take Initiative:
    • Volunteer for a new project that taps into your strengths and interests. This not only shows initiative but also places you in a visible spot.
    • Suggest improvements in processes that could benefit your team or department, showcasing your problem-solving skills.
  2. Become a Knowledge Sharer:
    • Offer to mentor a newer colleague in your area of expertise. This establishes you as a leader and a valuable team player.
    • Lead a team brainstorm session on a pressing issue, sharing your insights and solutions.
  3. Network and Build Relationships:
    • Make connections with peers in other departments to widen your understanding of the business and uncover collaboration opportunities.
    • Find a mentor within the company who can provide guidance and push for your recognition.

Consider Alternative Paths to Advancement:

Chat with your manager about how you can better utilize your strengths in your current role or perhaps take the helm on a new project. These conversations could be your ticket to more fulfilling work without necessarily changing your job title.

If you’ve got a clear vision of what you want and still find no opportunities within your organization, then it might be time to consider a change. But first, you need to have those brave, honest talks with your leader. A supportive leader can help you connect the dots and find your path forward. On the flip side, if your leader isn’t encouraging, these conversations can reveal whether the only way up is to move on.

Control vs. Influence: Reframing Your Perspective

Understanding what you can’t control versus what you can influence can redefine how you view your job and your satisfaction within it. It’s important to understand where you focus your energy to make the biggest impact. By focusing on what you can change, you empower yourself to create opportunities for recognition and fulfillment, regardless of external circumstances. You have your circles of influence, concern, and control, and it’s important to understand each.


Ready to feel more valued at work? Start by scheduling some time for self-reflection, reaching out for a chat with a colleague, or discussing your career path with your manager, or working with a professional coach. It's all about taking those first steps towards empowering yourself in your career. Remember, you've got more control than you might think to shape your professional journey and feel appreciated along the way.

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You can also check out these other blogs.

Embracing Authenticity in Your Career Journey

3 Ways to Start Trusting Your Gut

The 5 Whys Strategy and Why It's So Important

And over on the Podcast

Ep. 95 Building Confidence and Belief in Yourself with Monica Morgan


My gift to you is the quick online Career Clarity Assessment Toolkit which will quickly show you how to start moving ahead and getting out of the stuck.