Monday Musings: Making Time

I make time for all sorts of things in my life. I make workouts a priority. I fit in writing four or five posts a week. I ensure that we have home-made lunches and dinners on weekdays. I even find time to binge on Netflix.  But can I “find the time” to contemplate my career? To date, the answer has been a definitive no.

On evenings and weekends, I find myself thinking ‘Okay, I should be spending some time clarifying my next career goals. Yes, yes that’s a good plan.’  Then I promptly turn on the TV or Netflix or grab a book or decide to clean the bathrooms because, you know, even that sounds more fun than seriously considering major career changes.

The truly ironic part of all of this is that I used to be a career counsellor and, even in my most recent roles, a major part of what I do is coach around defining personal vision and career development. The number one thing I tell people is that they have to put the work in to the process of figuring out what to do next. Often when I work with people, they want their managers to hand them career suggestions on a silver platter or they complacently wait for career inspiration to fall from the sky.  I know that doesn’t work.  I know you need to spend the time.  Yet here I am, once again not taking my own sage advice. I tell myself I just don’t have the time.

I also do a ton of work around the challenges of personal change. For a long time I’ve been fascinated by the seemingly illogical way that humans (myself included) have goals that are genuinely important to them and yet often, despite knowing exactly how to make progress, fail to make headway towards their goals.  I work with leaders using a model that highlights deeply held beliefs and assumptions that can subconsciously block our progress even when we have the best of intentions.  Do I apply that own model to my own situation? Am I willing to peel back a few layers to get at the heart of my own resistance to change? Hell, no. I ain’t got the time for that.

Except that you and I both know full well that I do have the time for that. It’s not for lack of time. It’s fear. It’s deeply held beliefs that limit my sense of what’s possible.  It’s being completely unclear, in some cases, about what might actually be a good career fit.  It’s not wanting to put a ton of time and effort into something with no guaranteed payoff.  It’s all of these things but it’s certainly not lack of time.

So, enough with the excuses.  I’m starting small and committing to three small actions to move me forward in the right direction:

1.Ask for feedback–I’ve been bouncing a couple ideas around in my head to make the best of my current work situation while moving forward with exploring other options. But leaving them in my head is doing me no good. I am reaching out to a small handful of people who I can trust to tell me if I’m totally out to lunch.

2. Make my immunity map–I know, immunity sounds like something to do with diseases but this an incredibly powerful reflective process that surfaces beliefs and assumptions that are getting in the way of personal change. I use it at work all the time, and I know that it’s a great way of reframing a situation. Now it’s time to take a taste of my own medicine.

3. Seriously talk about alternatives–I have pie in the sky thoughts and conversations all the time, you know the kind, the ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ variety.  Well, I’ve booked time with a good friend and colleague to actually put pen to paper to see if some of our pie in the sky thoughts might come down to earth if we gave them enough weight.

Like many of us, I struggle with change and I am a master of excuses.  I’m also prone to feeling overwhelmed when contemplating the sheer volume of different actions I could take. This is why I’m starting small. Though few of you likely come to this space for career-related discussion, you can equally apply this type of approach to fitness or training-related goals.  Start small. Take action.

I’ll be back with updates next Monday on my first two action items (ps I’m not being lazy with the third action item, but that meeting isn’t until mid-February). Wish me luck. Wait, don’t wish me luck. It’s not luck that I need, it’s putting in the work.

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