In past newsletters I’ve talked about who, where, and what. So now let’s look at WHEN.
Timing is everything. But there’s lots of dimensions to think about here:
- When do you have the need? When you have children, they put in place a timeline that will be in place for 20 years or more. Think not only of monetary needs (like a college fund), but what YOU need to be doing at particular ages. Before they are in school, you might want to focus your life more on raising infants and toddlers.
- When is the job market at certain stages? This is especially important right now, because the market is in the midst of important changes. Some jobs are declining, some are increasing. Some skills are declining in importance, which can be tough to accept if you’ve built your past career around those skills.
- When are the key stages of your career? The obvious stages of work are school – internship – job contribution – retirement. But each of these is being transformed, and a single “job contribution” stage of 40 years or so is ignoring a lot of interesting changes. Since workers today can expect to have 3-7 careers during their lifetime, it’s important to think of when you might want to move into your next career. Not just another job, but a whole new way of contributing and making a living.
- When are the key stages of your life? Your body will enforce certain stages on you, as will key relationships in your life. Often a spouse or partner will be of similar age to you, so that’s not so complex. But it’s tougher to puzzle through the needs of your children and parents as they go through their lives.
After all this thinking and planning, you’d like to believe that you can plan out your life and career. Sorry. The key lesson of WHEN is that changes can come to you at any random time, whether or not you are prepared.
But it’s better to have a plan, because that gives you some preparation. Then when life hands you something unexpected, you’ll have greater flexibility to accept it and adjust with insight and creativity.
Make a plan, while accepting that you’ll never be able to live that plan exactly as written.
An important resource
Now’s the time that some people think about New Year’s resolutions. Of course, the common understanding is that resolutions are a joke, something you expect to fail at and therefore don’t make any serious commitment to.
It’s a shame. Taking advantage of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cycles can be a powerful way to make important changes in your life.
Here’s how to make resolutions work for you:
- Focus on one thing. Too many objectives just diffuses the energy from all of them.
- Make it something that’s important to you. Sure, you might feel guilty about being out of shape, but be honest – is it really important to you in the next year? Or is it more important to focus on some key relationships in 2011? Be honest.
- Focus on the benefits. When you’re constantly worried about the barriers and hard work involved, you’re sucking energy away from achievement. Focus on WHY you wanted to do this.
- Tell someone what you’re committed to, someone who you don’t want to disappoint. Check out what I wrote about this back in September.
- Check in every week. Looking at your goal 52 times during the year will help keep your passion and energy on the goal.
And have a wonderful start to 2011!
|Carl Dierschow is a Certified Small Fish Business Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with small business owners who need to create breakthroughs in achieving their business goals. Find out more at www.Dierschow.com and www.SmallFish.us.If you are interested in individual career coaching, group coaching, or other resources which might help you with difficult choices, please contact Carl at email@example.com.
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