End of year performance reviews...it's a process that many employees dread. In a lot of companies, setting goals and assessing progress on those goals occurs as a "check-box exercise".
While it's true that there may be very little guidance to help you set meaningful goals, the real missed opportunity is in not taking ownership of managing your career. One of my most memorable coaches was famous for saying "Be the CEO of YOU". I'd never considered this concept before AND I never forgot it.
What if you look at your life as you would a business? You are the CEO of your life and you get to decide how you want to develop it, run it and the impact you want it to have. You get to be in the C-suite and this responsibility includes directing your career.
How often do you check-in and reflect on your career? Are you actively engaged in managing it and charting your course or are you simply living and working on the default setting?
I encourage you to be proactive (rather than reactive) as it relates to your career. What are your reasons for doing the work that you do? Whether you're employed or self-employed, are your core values a match for the values of the company that you work for? If you had to choose all over again, would you choose the work that you're doing?
It is definitely worth the time and energy to pause and reflect on your career. Where are you now? Where do you want to be in the next 1-10 years? Are you moving in that general direction or have you wandered off track?
Keep in mind that what you wanted at the start of your career may not be what you want at this stage of your life. Your career can be a vehicle for growth. Professional development is more than just continuing education credits. It should support the goals you've set for yourself and allow you to stay engaged and excited about your work.
But, the temptation is to stay comfortable. With growth comes change and that usually means some level of discomfort is required. Stretching and growing when faced with welcome and unwelcome challenges can lead to developing new skills and reimagining your career.
If you've set your career development to autopilot, it's time to get behind the wheel and decide where it is you want to go. Don't worry if your immediate answer is I don't know.
I suggest starting with a blank piece of paper and a pen and jot down what's important to you about work. What natural strengths and talents do you have that you can leverage within your career? What elements of your current work bring you joy? What consistent positive feedback do you get from others that may provide some insight into the value you contribute to the workplace?
For example, I've noticed that the words "approachable" and "calm" are often used by my peers and customers to describe me. This was true in both my former and current organizations. I now claim my ability to help others feel a sense of calm as one of my superpowers.
Once you have a better sense of what you want, write down 1-3 goals that you want to pursue that will move you in the direction of your ultimate career goals. Then, create a ritual where you conduct a quarterly review to evaluate your progress. Bonus points for scheduling a monthly check-in to celebrate mini-milestones you've hit along the way.
I think this is a topic that isn't talked about enough, especially for professional women. If this is an area that you'd like to learn more about (future articles with practical tips, strategies and resources), let me know in the comments below or send me a note at Michelle@drmichellebailey.com.
Busy seasons. I don't know where I first heard this term, but I understood what it meant. Those periods of life you find yourself in where you're really busy at work...at home...and everywhere in between.
Although at times it began to feel unmanageable, you knew that it was temporary. It was just a busy season.
Fast forward and it seems that most people I talk to are living busy lives perpetually, not just for a season.
Constant busyness has become the norm and is often worn as a badge of honor. At other times it feels like this is just the way it is and we have absolutely no control over it.
But in the midst of all that life has to offer, there are times when it is necessary to step out of the chaos and busyness and take a break. I call this the power of pressing pause. I want to share 3 signs with you that may mean it's time to press the pause button.
1. When you're in overwhelm
I always think of Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. That's what it feels when I'm in overwhelm. That I somehow landed there without really knowing what happened.
It may show up as missed deadlines, a sense that there's too much on your plate or an avoidance of people or messages. Essentially it feels like there is way too much to handle and you don't know where (or how) to start.
The first step is recognizing where you are. The next step is hitting the pause button to take the time to download all of the thoughts swirling around in your head and get them down onto paper. You can then decide what you choose to get done now, what can wait and what can be permanently deleted.
2. When you're faced with an important decision
Struggling with a big decision can be anxiety-provoking. You put so much pressure on yourself to make the right decision. So much so that you may put off making the decision for days, weeks, months or indefinitely. The problem is when you avoid making a decision, it will sometimes be made for you (in essence you're deciding to allow someone else to make it for you).
And on the flip side, if you rush to make a decision, you may be dissatisfied with not just the outcome, but your reasons for making it in the first place.
Pressing pause when you are faced with a big decision can create the space needed to reflect and get clearer on the options available. Making a decision from a place of clarity and confidence is always better than making one out of confusion and desperation.
3. When you're grieving
Change, no matter how welcome or unwelcome, can bring stress along for the ride. It can signal loss...of the way things were...of opportunities that never come to be...and of expectations that are not met.
Whether it's the unexpected news of the health challenges of a loved one, the injustices in the world reported by the media or a sense of loss of work that was once fulfilling, dealing with loss feels hard.
The grieving process brings with it many emotions that shift and change from moment to moment. In these situations it is valuable to press pause to make room for the emotions to ebb and flow.
To open up to them rather than resist them, fight with them or ignore them.
To breathe into them and be with them for as long as they need to be here.
To ask for help when you're struggling.
To find that small still place of refuge that lies within you and to hear the soft inner voice of wisdom.
In each of the situations above, pressing pause also allows for discernment. Time and space to figure out what you have control over and what you don't. Breathing room to ask yourself what you need most in this moment and to listen for the answers. A reprieve to choose how you can honor and meet your own needs (prioritizing self-care, asking for help).
The length of your pause is not as important as the courageous act of acknowledging that you need one and taking action to press the button. There is so much power in the pause. And when used strategically, it can serve to support you on your journey.
So what is your sign that tells you it's time to press pause? Share it with me in the comments below.
We're halfway through March which means the first quarter of the year will be over in just over 2 weeks.
Remember those goals that you set at the start of the year...how is it going? Are you making progress?
If you just thought to yourself "What goals?", it's not too late to revisit them and get back on track.
Here are a few tips to help you hit the reset button:
Start with clarity
Explore options without editing
Make them visible
Break them down
Find accountability and support
So, take advantage of this reminder to bring focus back to your goals. And if you didn't set any at the beginning of the year, this is your opportunity to set a few meaningful goals to help you chart your course this year.
What strategies do you use to stay on track and make meaningful progress towards your goals?
We've all been there. The moment you realize that you have invested a significant amount of time, effort and energy on a project only to realize that your masterpiece (article, complex email, etc.) has been "lost" somewhere in cyberspace with no way to retrieve it.
This happened to me today. I made a commitment to publish a new article to my blog every Sunday. This always seems doable until Saturday rolls around. This time I really pushed the deadline as a number of unexpected challenges arose during the week.
I worked on the article, found a suitable image and was pleased with the results of my efforts. I hit publish and then refreshed the page. No new article. Where did it go? I frantically searched thinking it must still be there. All of that work couldn't possibly be gone with no hope for recovery.
So I had a choice to make. To throw up my hands and believe that fate wasn't on my side (the blame game never feels good).
Or, I could decide to publish an article...today.
See it was more than just missing one week of posting. The intention set was to practice honoring my commitments to myself. No one else was holding me accountable. But, I knew that I set this goal. And I wanted to establish a new belief that I could trust myself to keep my word.
There are so many little ways in which we break our promises to ourselves. When we say we're going to work out and then we don't. When we decide to eat better, but don't follow through.
And so today, I chose to feel the frustration of having "lost" my work and yet this may have been the best possible outcome. Because in losing the work, I gained an opportunity to decide whether I would keep my word to myself.
The lesson in this for me (and hopefully for you) is that if we are willing and open-minded, we can always find the gift or the opportunity in any challenge we're faced with. It's the place from which we can regain a sense of control. We can step into our power rather than throwing up our hands in defeat.
What is the lesson here for you? In what ways can you practice honoring your commitments to yourself and having your own back when things don't go according to plan?
Let me know in the comments.
The Physician Career Path Reimagined
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