Do you dread the question, "where do you see yourself in five years?"
Research shows giving yourself time to think and plan improves your decision making. Yet many people still don't make a daily priority to check in on how they feel about their career or life. Maybe that's why two in five Americans dream about the day they can tell their boss they quit! Finding yourself off course or worse yet, with no course can make you ready to take a leap without thinking. Before you consider making a life change, get clear on your motivation, get a mentor, and get in the right mindset to achieve your goals!
I've lived corporate, nonprofit, entrepreneur and working parent life-- none of them are easy! The hard truth is whether you are considering starting a business or wondering if you have the energy to pursue a promotion, any path you choose will require work and more of your time to be successful. Despite Instagram's photos of a glamorous beach life, you'll likely have to hustle to make your life into what you want.
Ultimately you can see your choices reflected in your daily schedule. When you are feeling overwhelmed, bogged down with surviving a bad day-to-day situation, it's easy to stop dreaming. When that happens, you lose sight of what will make your life better. Instead of getting stuck, you have to think differently. To be successful you have to envision your life in the future.
Working with my coaching clients, I've noticed a trend- high performing leaders are self-aware and constantly checking and adjusting their course. Successful leaders view their role like a captain. Their role is to show up at their best to help guide the crew and passengers to safety. One person can't do it all, and the captain has to navigate the cockpit equipment, weather, and any unforeseeable events that can quickly turn disastrous. Instead of being frustrated by change, a pilot shifts their mind-set to see opportunities and guide themselves in the right direction. By having access to a map, they can more easily judge when they need to speed up, change course, or refuel. They can see where they have the potential to get lost, off track or stuck.
I know a bit about getting stuck after leading award winning programs to attract, retain and develop leaders at Fortune 500 companies and now running my own coaching business for three years full time. When I first decided I wasn't happy in my job, I took a week away from the office to figure out what it was I really wanted. Creating space in my life to put myself first let me experience what life would be like when I was truly in charge.
To dream big I had to step outside of my career, my achievements, and even my family. For one week, I gave myself time away from everyone's expectations. I cleared my calendar and got off social media. Before I told anyone about my new plan or what was next, I started by checking in with myself.
I divided my life into six sections so I could see my goals more clearly and assess where I needed to direct my time and energy first.
Each day I meditated on an area of my life:
I tackled one goal per day, coming up with broad guiding questions to get me to journal about each topic. In my journal entry, I brainstormed my ideal situation with respect to each day's theme. Then, below that, I wrote down a list of statements I wanted to be true in one year. Instead of focusing on what I did not see and being dejected, I developed five statements to describe what I wanted in my life.
I didn't set specific, discrete goals. Instead, they were to be a guide for how I want my life to feel. They were rooted in broad, emotional terms but left the door open for unexpected opportunities. I used these statements as a tool that I could always return to if I felt like I needed a push in the right direction. These statements gave me a map that helped me define success for myself. If you are struggling to make the time to journal add an appointment to your calendar for 15 minutes and keep your journal and pen in the same place. You can find 15 minutes in your car, waiting for a meeting to start, or when you arrive somewhere early. What if on your deathbed you asked for a do-over and this is it?
You are in control of the ride of your life, are you taking the steps to make it what you want? The journey of changing your reality takes time, your greatest competition is yourself. Giving yourself a week to focus on what you want will help you conserve your energy by setting an intention for your direction. Commit to writing daily in your journal for one week, writing one journal entry for each of the six categories in response to the questions in each email. Write five personal intentions that state your goals as though they are your reality.
I recommend taking the week of possibilities journey quarterly or when you feel your life drifting, meaning you aren't being as intentional with your time. To help you keep your commitment to yourself I share my week of possibilities exercise in my book, Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward. As a thank you for taking the time to read this article, click here to subscribe and receive my week of possibilities in your inbox.
Pro tip- If you've read Getting Unstuck, you know I love quotes! I keep a Post-It with the reminder on my mirror: No breakdowns, only breakthroughs. Reflecting on your life can make you review past decisions that can trigger emotions. Keeping a journal can help you see where you need to break your rules and let go of assumptions rooted in limiting beliefs.
Was this article helpful? For more exercises like this one, check out my book on success and finding your purpose in life. Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward tells the story of how one woman found the time and energy to overcome the battle for advancement in corporate America. Author Meredith Moore Crosby shares unwritten rules and the advice of her mentors to evolve your dream job into your dream life, taking control of your time and designing a set of values to lead you onward.
To work with Meredith, contact Leverette Weekes info@Leveretteweekes.com