‘If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.’ Siddhārtha Gautama
How often do you stop yourself from making changes in your life because you don’t know what to do?
Sometimes it’s appropriate to take time out and reflect on our dreams and desires, so we can find our sense of direction again.
Most of the time though this confusion is not even real. It’s just a construct of the mind, an attachment to the need to know everything now.
Confusion helps to keep us safe. It clouds our judgement and prevents us from making decisions that lead us to something new.
Not sure if this is what’s going on for you?
Ask yourself if you have a pattern of putting your plans on hold because you feel confused about what to do next.
The confusion is caused by a false assumption because of course we can never be certain about the choices we make.
But the confusion feels real. So how can you shift out of this state?
Start to notice where it stops you and investigate what’s really going on. Is it an underlying fear? A lack of confidence? Or just an old story about not knowing what to do?
Whatever you discover, make a conscious decision to let it go.
It’s safe to make choices without knowing how things will turn out.
Just tell yourself, I am no longer confused.
Let the fog lift. How does it feel to be free?
You know what to do. You always did. Let truth whisper the answer in your ear.
PS: If you need some help to find your direction, there are still some tickets left for my Transform your Career workshop on Tuesday. We’ll be working on dreams, desires and important mindset shifts for change. Book your spot here.
I hear a lot of concerns about this one so I wanted to share some advice I think might help.
Watch below for my top tips on what to do if you’re more of a generalist than a specialist, and you’re feeling unsure about your next steps.
Got no time to watch? Here are the key takeaways:
I hear a lot of concerns from people who are not specialists because they don’t know how to market themselves to employers, and sometimes they have trouble figuring out which roles they want to go for next.
Here are my top tips for finding your direction if you’re more of a generalist or ‘jack of all trades’ than a specialist.
1) Understand your strengths
Before you move forward, you really need to have a good understanding of your key strengths. There are a few ways to approach this. You can either do a skills audit on yourself by reviewing your employment history (both paid and unpaid) or you can do an online assessment (there are some good options out there, I like the Values in Action Survey). It’s a good idea to get some input from other people such as work colleagues or friends and family because it’s difficult to be objective about what you’re good at. It’s something we all take for granted!
2) Choose which strengths you want to develop
Now that you have your list, review it and ask yourself, which strengths do I want to develop in the future? Which ones are going to help me grow in to the person I want to be? In other words, who do you want to become?
3) Your Passions and Interests
Now that you know which strengths you want to work on, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to do that. If you’re lucky, your current job may offer some opportunities. Maybe you can put your hand up for extra responsibilities or to lead a project. You can also involve your work colleagues outside of hours. For example if you want to develop your teaching skills and you are interested in wellbeing, maybe you get people together for an activity such as running or meditation at lunchtimes.
If there are no opportunities at your workplace, you will need to look at your passions and interests outside of work. Brainstorm your list and it may be a long one if you’re a person who’s interested in a lot of different subjects. When you have your list, narrow it down to your top four interests and look at ways that you can develop your chosen strengths through those activities.
So if one of your interests is cooking and you want to develop your strengths as a teacher, maybe you can offer to teach a cookery class at your child’s school, or if you’re interested in finance, you could look into teaching a ‘how to do a budget’ class at your local community centre or neighbourhood house. Similarly, if the skill you want to develop is writing and you’re interested in art, then you might try writing something about an art exhibition for the local newspaper.
Lastly, before you get excited and run off to do a million different activities, put together a plan for yourself and create both monthly and weekly goals. My advice would be to start small and build up from there, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Not only will you build your confidence and develop your skills by doing this activity, you will also attract new opportunities to yourself and start to see different possibilities for for how to progress your career.
You will be amazed at what will happen when you follow this process.
Let me know how you go in the comments!
PS: My next Melbourne workshop is open for bookings. We had a great group of women at the September workshop and I can’t wait to run this one again a the Swell Centre, Hawthorn on Thursday 8th November.
I’ve also been confirmed as a presenter at the Seven Sisters Festival in March, which I’m so thrilled about!!! Let me know if you’re going along. In the meantime, you can book your tickets for Transform your Career. This is for you if you’re looking to rediscover your passion and find some direction with your career.
During a coaching session, a client once mentioned how she would need to have her ‘game face’ on for an upcoming interview.
Why do you need a game face? I asked. That sounds like hard work.
What? You mean I can just be myself, she asked.
We both laughed.
It’s important to be authentic of course, but no one ever said it was easy.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all just told the truth?
If you’re looking to make positive changes in your career, it’s so important to let go of the need to control how you’re received.
There’s an innate drive within us to please others to protect ourselves from being thrown out of the tribe, but we need to resist the urge to mould ourselves into what we believe others want to see. Otherwise we’ll never be free.
To accept the promotion. Give up the successful law career to become a teacher. Start the business of your dreams. Or ask for the long-overdue pay rise.
Our success depends on our willingness to detach from how others might view us so that we can be who we are.
Truthfully this is more of a constant shedding than an instant change but you can make shifts surprisingly quickly.
Here is the advice that’s helped me the most:
1) Take nothing personally.
This is a nugget from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and there are few things I’ve learned that have been more valuable.
When you release yourself from reacting personally to events. ‘The interviewer hated me.’ ‘My boss didn’t ask for my opinion in that meeting.’ ‘My friend didn’t call when I was sick.’ You let go of the stories you make up in your head, most of which are not true but which cause enormous suffering.
By the way, I still catch myself out with this so remember, humans are meaning-making machines and we are hard-wired to make up stories, so don’t be hard on yourself. The main thing is to recognise when you do it and then let it go.
2) Focus on how you show up instead.
How can you show up authentically and let yourself be seen? Which action will make you feel as though you’re doing the right thing by yourself.
When I say this I don’t mean that you should go and blow off your commitments without a care. It’s more about behaving in a way that’s in alignment with your values and true self.
For example, if you know that being honest about the challenges in your previous role is going to make you feel like less of a fraud in the job interview then tell your truth. Let go of the need to control the outcome. Newsflash: you can’t do that anyway!
There are so many situations where letting go of the need to control what others think can lead you into a greater connection to your true self.
Like networking situations that cause worry and stress over whether you are good enough.
Or social events. Or apologising when you feel you need to. Or telling someone how you really feel about them.
When you practice this way of being, it will change how you approach everything.
You will feel braver and truer.
Admittedly it’s not the easiest option out there.
Far easier to put on your game face, though in the long run a lot more costly.