A Career Change with Eyes Wide Open
You wouldn’t drive with your eyes closed would you? I’m hoping your answer is a big fat NO! So why I wonder do we cruise through life with our eyes shut? Stay with me… it will all become clear!
Let me ask one more question: Is 2018 going to be YOUR year? I mean really yours? Will it be the year you start actively designing the life you really want, understanding what is most important to you and consciously choosing to create this life? Will it also be the year you get clear on the things that make you unhappy, drained and leave you unfulfilled? Will you start to kick them out of your life? Is it time?
I promise you, there is never a perfect time to start! So be good to yourself and just get going - imperfectly, with small steps, but steps that lead you in your direction.
Small imperfect steps then. And the best thing is - they’re yours!
Less and More
One reason I’m excited about next year is that I’ve found ‘my’ direction and it was this time last year – almost to the day – that I discovered it. This is why I want to share a very simple process for starting out – one that worked for me and that I truly believe will work for you too.
But before setting out, let’s check the rear-view mirror.
With 31 days left in 2017, how’s it been? Are you happy with your year? And are you feeling good about how your career has developed over the last 11 months?
You probably have a gut feeling about this, and like most people I ask, there’s likely to be some good things and some less wonderful. If you had to choose one word for each category, I wonder what they’d be.
For me, the positives are summed up in this word: autonomy
The negatives: busy-ness
How about you?
If this gets you in the mood to dig a bit deeper, here’s a really simple way you can discover how you want 2018 to be different. Just two questions:
What do you want less of in 2018?
What do you want more of?
I’m guessing you have a couple of easy answers for each question, but let’s try to build that up a bit more. Cast you mind right back to the beginning of the year – what were you doing in January 2017? Where were you, what were you working on and who was in your life that made it better, or worse? Travel slowly forward in your mind’s eye, month by month, filling in your list of more and less, until you’re bang up to date. Today is December 1st – 4 more weeks to the end of this year and a perfect time to imagine how 2018 might be different.
But first, let’s look at your lists. Maybe you have 6 – 10 things on each – or they might be very unequal. Have a good look – can you see themes jumping out at you? For my list of ‘more,’ the items fell into clear groups. Here are 3 of these groups:
* growing my business
* gaining more balance and well-being
* writing and learning
There weren’t really any surprises for me here – and each theme is clearly linked to the top values that are guiding how I’m building my life. So ‘growing my business’ links to my value of AUTONOMY; balance and well-being to my value of VITALITY; and writing and learning to CREATIVITY.
It’s very clear to me that I want more of the things that align with what are most important to me – my values.
Now look at the things you want less of. For me, these include:
*working to someone else’s processes and
You might call these the flip side of what I’m wanting more of – so in ‘overwork’ I can see I’m not honouring my value of VITALITY because it’s draining the life out of me. ‘Working to someone else’s processes’ really clashes with my top value of AUTONOMY, while ‘negative people’ pulls against CREATIVITY, LOVE and VITALITY because I find negativity sucks away at my energy and ability to express these important values.
Mapping the Future
So how do these lists help? Quite simply they create a map of where I’m heading – what I want that landscape to look like and what I want to leave behind. Just writing them down helps. Saying it out loud, sharing with friends or in your safe spaces – all take you a step closer to the next important action. Which is all about that very thing – small, imperfect steps. But now you know something really important – I would say essential - about where those steps are taking you.
And now back to my story! This time last year I made a decision to change my life. I chose to work part-time – and to use the other half of the week to launch a new business. It didn’t happen overnight! It took me 6 months to get buy-in at work, to shape what my business would look like and the people it would serve. It took weeks and weeks to create the words, the messages and the images to describe this business and weeks of collaboration with a creative designer to bring it to the world. Getting the business plan into focus and working out what professional support I would need and could afford ate up several more weeks, along with how I would market my business and how to enjoy myself on Instagram and twitter and how a new facebook page would work. Wow!
On September 1st I moved onto a part-time contract and on October 1st I launched Freestyle Careers. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be able to share that story with you. I had no guarantee any of it would work out, but I can tell you one thing – I had to do it! I knew this new direction was how I could live my values and that powered me forward when hurdles and banana skins and sticky technical puzzles blocked my way.
And one final thing. I know that you can re-set your course too and set off into 2018 with your eyes wide open. This exercise around ‘less’ and ‘more’ is a starting point to see more clearly what you want, but every success starts with a small step. Be imperfect – it’s fantastic!