Why do we often stay in jobs and positions that don’t fill our soul? What is it about moving forward that scares us so much?
When we’re born, we’re never promised a specific lifespan. We’re told to carpe diem; to make the most of our lives. And yet, we somehow still lack the boldness to reach our full potential.
I have found that doing some simple math has helped propel me to reach, or at least attempt to reach, my full potential:
8 hrs. per day for 5 days is 40hrs. per week… 52 weeks in a year x 40 hrs. per week = 2000 hrs.
Think about this… there are 8760 hours in one calendar year and 2000 hrs. give or take of those are spent at work. What do you need to change to fill your soul for those 2000 hrs.?
What is keeping you from being bold?
Are you comfortable with the status quo because of financial security?
Are you scared what others will think if you make a change?
Are you confused about how to get started?
Are you concerned you even have the ability to make the necessary changes to move forward in your life?
Do you lack the support or assistance needed to make a change?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions here’s a thought:
Life is short! And it’s important, really, really important, to enjoy as much of it as you can.
After my mother passed away I realized just how short life is, and I have been going full force ever since. My mother gave me this life, and the best way I believe I can remember and honor her is to make the most of the life she gave me, including those 2000 at work!
Steps for Moving Forward
As a coach, I hear more and more from clients that they want to make a change because they are feeling unfilled. They don’t like their boss, they aren’t challenged, and/or their current position doesn’t allow for growth.
Most of my clients want to do be doing more with their career but they just don’t know how to get started. So that’s where I can be of assistance. I know, I know, having a personal coach seems like a cheat. Why can’t you figure this out on your own?
Think of me like a fitness coach: You know you want your life to get as well and healthy as possible, but you are overwhelmed and confused when it comes to what to feed your life and soul and how to make it stronger.
I have helped countless staff members and clients find their next path. And that path always starts out with one step, followed by another, and then another. Here are some steps to get you started on your journey.
Step 1. – Map Out an Initial Plan
Your career journey should be like a road trip: Have a route in mind but allow yourself to deviate from that initial route if it will get you where you want to go quicker and provide more scenery.
Do you have a two-year plan? When I was a Resident Director, I had a 2-year plan. I mapped it out and told anyone who would listen all about it. My position allowed me to work 10 hrs. in other offices to gain needed experience.
I chose to work in the office of Judicial Affairs because I knew that I wanted to be a judicial officer within the next two years. So, I lived and breathed Judicial Affairs in those years and attended several training institutes to enhance my skillset.
The other part of my 2-year plan was to finish my masters. At times I didn’t know if I was coming or going because I had my full-time RD job, full-time grad work, and 10 hrs. in the Judicial Affairs Office, which eventually turned into 20 hrs. then 30hrs. There were many sacrifices I had to make but at the end of the 2 years, I had accomplished more than I dreamed. I was appointed as the Chief Judicial Officer and I finished my masters.
Some things to think about when outlining your 2-year plan:
Step 1. – Make a list
- Make a list of what you like about your current position. What fills your soul? What lends well to your skillset? What are you doing now that would be transferable to your next position?
For example, when I was I an RD, I loved meeting with students one-on-one and would have to do this when students violated housing policy. What I loved about those meetings was the opportunity to have developmental conversations. When I started thinking about my next career move, I realized that pursuing a position in student conduct would allow me to have those developmental conversations.
Step 2. – Set Yourself Up for Opportunities
You know the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil…” well, in career-terms, the squeaky wheel gets the promotion.
Are there opportunities within your organization? Are you waiting for someone to tap you for that opportunity? How are you positioning yourself for that opportunity? Have you spoken to your supervisor about your interest and what you need to do to move into that position? Many years ago, my Vice President and supervisor at the time told me he wouldn’t know if I was interested in other positions unless I told him. So speak up and get that oil!
Step 3. – Network, Network, Network
Who is your network within your organization and outside of it? I know, I know, you don’t want to believe that it’s about who you know. Well, it is – your credentials, work experience and who you know matters.
Those people are you are connectors. Make a list of those connectors, where they work, what organizations they are a part of, and how they can support you in your bold move efforts.
After you’ve made your list, reach out to them and start talking and putting your plan in place. This will change how you engage your 2000 work hours.
These are the first three steps you need to take to make a change. But remember, the change can only be initiated by you taking action. When you feel overwhelmed, just remind yourself every day that you are worth the effort.
Debra Griffith is an has an Associate Vice President at San Jose State University| Trainer Facilitator | Strategist | Key Note Speaker | Coach