There comes a time in everyone’s life when it’s time to take stock. That’s because goals that have been achieved are no longer motivators to continue doing what we are doing; be it the top job, the big house, the new car or launching the next new product.
To determine if “it’s time” for you to take stock, check-in and see if
you relate to any of these feeling statements.
- you’re having nagging doubts about your company, your product, your position, or your performance while at the same time feeling trapped by your title, the money and the benefits.
- you’re realizing that the never-ending accomplishment of goals is no longer leaving you feeling satisfied …and you can’t seem to identify the deep meaning of your work.
- you’re not the person you want to be. You’ve made so many concessions to fit into your corporate culture, surrendering to endless let downs and frustrations, that you no longer recognize yourself.
- you’ve been thinking about how short life really is and taking stock of your accomplishments against your dreams.
- you’ve been through a major life change such as getting married, divorced, sending children off to university, retiring or a major trauma such as dealing with cancer or the death of a family member, friend or co-worker and are considering what to do next.
Richard Boyatzis et al., author of Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, says there is no one-size-fits-all solution for restoring meaning and passion to your life but there are some strategies for assessing and making corrections if you’ve gotten off course.
- Call a time out – for some people taking time off is the best way to figure out what they really want to do and to reconnect with their dreams
- Find a program – a time out may be a refreshing break but a leadership or executive development program is a more structured strategy, guiding people as they explore their dreams and open new doors.
- Create “reflective structures” – find time and space for self-examination, whether a few hours a week, a day or two a month or a longer period every year. One executive joined a CEO group to legitimize his time spent thinking, talking and learning from himself and others.
- Work with a coach – our own biases and experiences sometimes make it impossible for us to find a way out of a difficult or confusing situation; we need an outside perspective. Although well-intentioned, our friends and family may tend to reinforce the jobs, careers and identities you are trying to change. It’s how they know you and this type of change may be uncomfortable for them.
- Find new meaning in familiar territory – it’s not always feasible to change jobs or careers but it’s fairly easy to make small adjustments so that your work more directly reflects your beliefs and values – as long as you know what you need and have the courage to take some risks.
My own assumptions in the past were that to fix the passion problem you had to change jobs. That’s not always the case. In fact, if your limited thinking is the source of your unhappiness then you’ll be taking those assets with you to your next job…and the geography cure will not work. When you uncover what your core beliefs and values are you can create a roadmap to satisfy them right where you are. It’s easier than you think!
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