There is a time and a place for long-term, big-picture career planning. Sometimes we need to pick our heads up and spend some serious time thinking and analyzing to ensure we’re heading in the right direction. I do this work with my clients all of the time.
But more often, it’s the little, intentional tweaks we make along the way that make the biggest difference.
At least twice a year (if not quarterly) I spend just a small amount of time doing a quick evaluation of where I am with my work and life. I assess what I’ve got on my plate and list out the things I want to do but never have time for.
Here’s what that list process looks like:
- I break down my work and life into smaller buckets. For example, in my work I primarily coach individuals one-on-one and deliver workshops and I do each of those things privately and for organizations. In my personal life, I group things in categories such as my husband, my kids, family, friends, vacation & travel, health & wellness, etc. You get the picture.
- Then for each bucket, I ask myself two simple questions:
What do I want more of?
What do I want less of?
- From here, I create a list of intentions for each category.
- I want more one-on-one coaching clients looking to grow as managers or
- I want to deepen my relationships and partnerships with professional colleagues or
- I want to feel more connected to my kids’ school community by getting involved in more activities
- I want to create more local opportunities so I can travel less for work (and travel more for fun)
- Lastly, I make a list of action steps I need to take to clear my plate of the things I’d like to do less of. This step is essential to open up space for the things I want more of.
Every single time I do this, I am surprised at what happens next! The clarity of stating what I want has a way of making the opportunities show up at my doorstep. It’s like the universe conspires to bring me what I’m asking for. And the small actions steps I take to clear my plate make me feel strong and intentional. Like I’ve just picked up my paddle and am steering my way down the rushing river instead of being dragged down it.
What I’ve learned is this: In order to go towards what you want, you have to stop doing things that bring you in any other direction.
So what do you say? Want to give it a try?