She's a judge on ABC's American Inventor, a columnist for More magazine and founder of the consulting firm Just Ask A Woman. Mary Lou Quinlan joins the show to talk about her current column on workplace ruts—how you got there, and more importantly, how you can get out. If you've been pigeonholed—perhaps you're "the good girl," "the trusted one," "the best friend" or "the pushover"—Mary Lou tells you how to break the mold.
Step back and think about what your role is, and how you'd like to break out of it or at least expand upon it.
If you're the one who always solves the crisis at work, and you feel taken advantage of, figure out a creative way to delegate the responsibility. For example, take your lunch break or explain that you're behind on your everyday tasks.
Don't get stuck on the fear that you'll be replaced. Look at your past successes to give yourself confidence that your next leap will follow suit. If it helps, do an inventory of your successes.
Ask others how your personality comes across to them. Your behavior may be negatively affecting your career, and that is often hard to see without an outside point of view.
Accept that others in your office may not react to your shift in a positive way. Expand your circle of friends, and be aware that people who don't want to let you grow are likely not your most productive officemates.
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 12, 2013