Are you one of those people who is not feeling it about work lately?
According to Gallup, 70% of the adult workforce in the United States is disengaged at work because they don’t believe their work matters or they don’t emotionally care. This sucks. Especially if you one of the 70%.
So why don’t we bite the bullet and make a move to open up a job to someone who would really appreciate it and get us closer to contributing at our fullest potential? Aren’t you tired of feeling like you are just marking time until you figure out what’s next?
I know I know…
You have to pay the bills.
You really can’t afford to be out of work.
You don’t know what you would even do if you could even make a move.
It’s likely if you keep doing what you’re doing; you’ll keep feeling underwhelmed and apathetic. If you want to change this dynamic for yourself, keep reading.
This may be the first time in history where just working to get a paycheck is secondary to people believing they can or should do work that matters to them and where they feel their contributions make a difference….that they make a difference and feel valued.
We need to find the courage to make a decision, a move, take an action, when there is no template for what the future holds. We each have to define our own template for success. If not us, then who because no one cares more about your career than you do.
So, what are the steps you can take to move forward when you think you are at a professional crossroad and there is no proof …
…that it’s a good idea
…that you’ll be successful
…and you feel lost and unsure
…and even though you don’t have a clear direction or goal quite yet
Steps to Get Started
It takes courage to lead, to make a move when you are in doubt and have no proof that you’ll be successful. It takes courage to follow a vision when you feel uncertain. It takes courage to navigate towards your next step in your journey. Yup, it takes a heap of courage.
So be afraid, be uncertain and move forward anyway. My coach tells me if my knees aren’t a little shaky, then I’m not stretching or growing enough. So I’ve learned that it’s OK to be uncertain and a bit shaky and take a step anyway. I now know when I feel scared it is a good thing and I’m on the right track. So be uncertain, don’t wait for all the answers. Get moving.
To get started…
- Admit to yourself that you don’t have the faintest idea
Every big decision begins in the unknown. Don’t worry if you haven’t got clarity yet about what you want to do next. It’s enough in the beginning to notice you are no longer as excited about your job as you once were and that you should probably do something about it, even if you don’t have the foggiest idea of what you want yet. This summer, I spent most of my time re-evaluating and re-structuring my work. I started this process because I felt that my work was at a higher level than ever before and yet no one knew this but me. I was feeling slightly invisible and not aligned and thought this is not good and I should do something about it. I started out not knowing exactly what I would do but after 5 months of processing what I really wanted and making some tough decisions, I have a brand new website that represents the best of what I’ve got to professionally offer and I’m damn proud of it. Here’s my end product visionquestconsulting.com. Everyone starts in the unknown in the beginning.
- Take stock in what’s working really well
Make a list of your accomplishments and things you have done professionally over the last few years that you are most proud of. This exercise is not just to make you feel better (although it will), it’s also fodder for your resume and your networking conversations as you begin to explore alternatives. It also will help you create what’s next because you’ll see on your list the things you adore doing and want more of it in your next gig. I call this a reverse bucket list. It’s really quite an empowering exercise. You might also find from doing this exercise, you don’t need to leave your current company to get what you want. I have a coaching client that has a mid level manager job and has been with her company for 3 years. She is feeling undervalued and wants a bigger job but although “they” continue to promise her they’ll take care of her, the truth is they have not. Through our coaching, she discovered she could be much more upfront and straight forward about what she wants with her boss, her boss’s boss and HR. Just last week, she was tapped for “THE” job she has always wanted and found she did not have to leave to get it. Doing an inventory of what you’ve done well helps provide some direction and clarity about your future desires.
- Get help and support
In my book, Your Next Bold Move for Women, I talk about the importance of surrounding ourselves with extreme support to get faster and better results than you could do by yourself alone. Personally, I treat my own leadership development journey as if I am an Olympic athlete in training for a big game…because I am. I always have my own coach to help me navigate playing bigger because I want to unleash the best of who I am more than I want to be comfortable or politically correct. In addition to my coach, I have a group of colleagues who have become close friends, who meet throughout the year to support, help each other network and who constantly remind me of my strengths when I forget. Knowing how important extreme support is, I have started a women’s leadership mastermind group (sorry guys) that meets throughout the year to do the same for each other professionally. We only have 1 spot left open in each of them so I’m not promoting here, but sharing the idea so you can start your own.
- Combine head and heart
What you think and how you feel are two different things. What you think is the logical linear side of our brain that keeps us safe and risk free. Feeling comes from what’s commonly now referred to as our second brain, our gut. The way we feel about something may not be logical at all. So even if you are lucky to have a job and even feel slightly guilty because someone else would give anything to be in your position, if you’re not deliciously happy, you gotta do something about it. So ask your head what to do and then go ask your heart. Both pieces of information will inform and guide you well.
- Hire a coach
Get a professional to help you figure out what’s next. Find someone who has years of experience helping others unleash their potential and create professional lives they love. It does not have to be a career coach, although those can be helpful at certain times especially if you want to change careers completely. Find someone who sees your potential and knows how to help you navigate there. It’s not an external networking exercise (although this is also a good idea); it’s a personal internal excavation and exploration process and well worth the money and the time. I’m aware I’m in the coaching business and may not be the most objective person when it comes to this topic, but I cannot even imagine my professional life without the support of my coach. Nor can I imagine anyone who is up to something big professionally going it alone without a coach by their side. People get confused and think their friends and family are enough to support them. I have found after 30 years of providing executive coaching to hundreds of professionals that we all need an objective kick ass sounding board and thought partner who have no stake in the outcome of our game except to help us be the best we can be with the gifts and talents we bring, with expertise to help us remove our internal roadblocks to our own success. So stop waiting and go hire yourself one and if you’re internal, go ask your company to pay for it because it’s leadership development and not optional.