With the start of 2018, many of us are mulling over the past year and taking time for some self-reflection on our lives and careers. Mostly, we focus primarily on our current state, i.e. if we are employed and/or whether we like our current role in our respective jobs. We also reflect to see if we are at the level this year where we imaged ourselves to be last year at this time? How is our personal life, or do we even have one? How do we feel physically? These personal and sometimes painful reflections are very appropriate as we ring out the old and ring in the new. They all have to do with our well-being.
Career well-being is feeling good about the work you do. It means you can truthfully answer "Yes!" to the question, "Do you like what you do each day?" We know that when our career well-being is solid and stable, we are healthier, happier and more successful over all. Career well-being doesnít happen by magic, of course. To achieve it, you need to act. So, if you want to turn in a new direction in this New Year, and you can feel and see (and even taste!) that you want more freshness in your life, I urge you to kick your resolve into gear and make it happen.
As we reflect, we discover how to tune into our thoughts, and be mindful of our "emotions." This allows us to free and develop the "inner resources" that have been there all along. An important fact here is this: anything that helps support you in your cause is a "resource". A resource can be a person such as a coach or mentor, or it can be a situation such as an alliance with someone who shares your resolve to make things better. Mindfulness and self-knowledge are resources, too.
Are you chomping at the bit to make a change? Thatís natural, but I urge you to be patient. There is no need for speed. In fact, impatience can be a tremendous drain on your motivation. The antics of an impatient mind are obstacles to your goals. Impatience keeps you stuck in the quicksand of confusion, unable to move forward quickly, slowlyÖor at all. Itís valuable to understand that impatience is triggered after we have envisioned our goal, at the moment it becomes crystal clear that achieving that goal is going to cost us more, often much more, than we thought. When this realization hits us, our mental gears start spinning out of control. We begin looking for ways to avoid the high costs in time, pain, distraction, credibility or opportunity. You can fight back.
Be aware that self-knowledge is your super-power. When you understand how impatience works its dark magic, you can manage it better. You can take full advantage of your impatient energy and use it to speed things up or change course when the time is right. On the flip side, you can learn to harness and calm impatient energy when it makes more sense for you to stay the course.
When we adopt a more patient approach to change, we give ourselves an important opportunity to investigate our inner feelings and learn from our external experiences. I encourage you to take time to reflect on your career and the reason it matters to you. Let yourself feel why the professional and personal challenges you face and overcome every day are worth all the effort. Get clarity on why you do what you do; understand your core motivation and how to apply that to your future career. Thatís where success lies.
Sometimes the greatest obstacle to change is the fear of change itself. If youíre stuck in a defensive stance, you wonít be able to change anything. Would it surprise you to learn that people do not naturally resist change? What we resist is the "pain" of making a change. We become paralyzed by our fear of the unknown. The human brain is a wonderful thing. It is engineered to naturally seek out, be curious, explore, and do new things. Itís how the brain thrives. But to do all these things, you have to feel safe. Only when you feel safe enough will you confidently go out and explore. Ultimately, when we accept and embrace change, we begin to seek it out and find valuable lessons in it. Therefore, we must do whatever it takes to make allies of the fear of change and the fear of the unknown and accept them unconditionally.
Acceptance of change comes more easily to us when the brainís "Default Mode Network" (DMN) is activated. This is the part of the brain that is typically engaged when we are daydreaming, thinking about the future or being nostalgic. A human brain in DMN experiences a state of excitement which in turn helps make us receptive to change and opens us up to new ideas. This state of excitement also creates a physiological reaction, not just a mental one. It releases all the negative, self-sabotaging energy that is electrocuting your brain and allows you to see possibilities youíve never seen before.
When your mind is clear and calm, you begin to focus on solutions instead of dwelling on problems. I know this isnít easy. It takes determination, energy and powerful intention to connect with your desires. The good news is that every single effort you put forth will strengthen your ability to trust yourself and stand up for what you want. The return on your investment of effort will amaze you.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to change, resistance is futile. So instead of resisting, you should welcome change into your life. Above all else, learn to enjoy all the twists and turns. Learn to adapt to whatever challenges comes your way and know that your attitude will help you move forward and reach your goal. The curve balls and surprises are what make life such a titillating adventure. Go forth and conquer!