Oh, What a Year!
I don’t know about you, but I have had one heck of a year! I’ve had major wins and successes but also some really big blows and tough lessons learned this year. And I thought 2020 was a hard year. I went into 2021 full of great expectations along with some big personal and career goals. But what do you do when things don’t turn out exactly how you thought they would?
Climbing the Ladder
We all like to imagine our careers as one long ladder that we climb until we reach the top. And the top represents every career goal we ever wished for. But I’ve met very few people (and I mean very few), who have had careers like this. For most people, your career will look more like a jungle gym, one minute up, the next minute down. One minute loving your dream job, the next minute planning your escape. As difficult as this can feel at the time, take a deep breath and embrace it, this is where learning and maturing professionally and personally reside.
I’m sometimes tempted to beat myself up about not being where I want to be in life and not having achieved the things I wanted to achieve “by now.” Or even not being further up the career ladder and having my career neatly defined and packaged. Let me know if you can relate in the comments below. I’m learning to say that’s ok. Life is not supposed to be neatly packaged and not everything goes to plan, all of the time. Instead take stock of what has gone well and celebrate these wins. While noting what you can do differently next time and how you will hold yourself accountable.
But the Truth Is…
We are all chasing this perfect idea of a career and the success that will bring. But after 17 years in the world of work along with years of coaching people, I’m not sure that exists. Instead, what I notice is that a lot of us compare our careers with other people’s. And define success based on what everyone else is doing and achieving. This constant comparison usually causes anxiety, doubt in your abilities and a lot of worrying. Which is what I have been guilty of this year. As I ventured full time into career coaching, I’ve wasted a lot of time worrying and doubting myself, when in fact this is a role I’ve been fulfilling for years (just without the official title).
The truth is, focusing on others will rob you of the vital time that is needed to hone in on your craft. It will cause you to lose focus on your goals and your personal ‘why.’ And could lead you to feel unfulfilled when you reach the top. Keep your eyes fixed on your career path, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Staying focused and remaining reflective as you journey along will help to ensure you achieve the success you deserve and have been planning for.
Clarity Is Key
When I’m coaching a client, one of the first things I clarify is, what is important to you and what do you value most. It’s these simple questions that need to underpin everything we do. These questions help to set the direction we take. Otherwise, you run the risk of reaching your destination and still feeling lost. If you’ve been feeling lost within your career and unsure about what you are doing and why. Take a moment to clarify what is most important to you and what key values you want to work by. Then reflect on your current career. It is hard to do, but this is a powerful exercise. If you need help to redefine your career moving into 2022 or to clarify your values head on over to our coaching tab and get in touch. I would love to help you.
Say Thank You
I can’t talk enough about the importance of gratitude. Being grateful for the big and small things in your life will transform the way you look at yourself, your life and your career. Regardless of the year you have just had, say thank you that you have made it this far. Your career is not about a destination, but the journey. And if you keep going you will get there. And saying thank you will help you get there with a smile on your face. We all need to smile more. Period!
A Word of Caution
Be careful to pay attention to the direction you are heading. Make sure your career path is a path you want to travel down. You can take stock of where your career is heading by asking yourself these questions:
1. What is it that I am trying to achieve?
2. If I keep heading this way will I like where I am going?
3. Will this fulfil me and is this how I see success for myself?
4. Could I do this for the next 10 years?
5. Does the thought of doing this bring me peace?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, amazing, keep going. But if you answered no to some or all of them. Please stop and re-evaluate. There is nothing worse than chasing a dream or goal only to realise it was never yours. There is no shame in changing your mind or direction. The most transformative and impactful careers have been those that have taken many twists and turns. Remember you will grow the most from your challenges and mistakes and it’s these lessons that you can leverage and use to help boost your career. Don’t run away from the lessons, embrace them.
New Year, New Beginnings
As we move through December, I am wishing you all the chance to rest and recharge. I encourage you all to count your blessings and reevaluate where your career is heading in the new year. Make plans but as you do, be kind to yourself, it’s ok to make mistakes, change direction and everything in between.
Don’t forget to reach out, we started this blog to be of service, we would love to work with you. As I head into 2022, I am going to do things differently and I want all of you to hold me to account. I’m not going to worry about my career. Instead, I’m going to say thank you for the journey and I’m going to keep going. I’m going to say yes to new opportunities. I’m going to have more fun with my career and focus on growing my connections. This is what career success in 2022 will look like for me. How about you? What new beginnings do you want in the New Year? Comment below, I would love to know.
Well done for making it this far. It has not been an easy year. Take stock, rest and be grateful for what is good and decide to make bold steps in 2022. Have a lovely Christmas and we will see you back in the New Year Best, Eunice and Anton