So ends the first week of the next stage in my journey and it's been an interesting one. It's been a week of excitement, doubt, apprehension and opportunity. It's funny that for over 10 years I've known that this is where I wanted my path to lead me, but of course I knew there'd be those moments of doubt. You know that voice in our head saying; 'Are you good enough to do this? Will you really be able to make a living from it? Is now really the right time to do this? Do you have a backup plan in case things don't work out?'
Amongst all those questions of doubt, the one question that then helps ground me again is 'What's important to you?', it reminds me of why I'm doing this. Of course I still have responsibilities, whether it be supporting my daughter in University in Japan (picture is from our trip last year) or ensuring we have a roof over our heads, I'd planned for those things so that I could focus on what's important. As is the case for everyone, the challenge is working through the change, especially in the current climate.
From my experience there are a number of things that help people work through change, but there are two that always are front of mind for me. I was also reminded of these things by an old colleague from GE who still has copies of my 'Friday Reflections' emails that I used to send out to the team, especially as we went through a time of uncertainty:
What is my current purpose?
Control what you can control
Typically my purpose would be something more long term, a vision for the future that I'm working towards, but right now that might be unrealistic with all the short term uncertainty. It doesn't mean you lose sight of that long term future, but now more than ever it's important to put in some shorter term milestones. The key being that those milestones are still helping you move forward towards that future destination, but maybe not as fast or direct as you'd like for now.
Which links to the second bullet point around controlling what you can control. We can all be a victim of the current situation, sit back and take the easy option of blaming the current world situation (whether the pandemic itself or the knock on economic impact) for our lack of action, but I can't imagine anyone would want to purposely be a victim. Unfortunately sometimes it's easy to slip into that mindset, which is why it's so important to anchor yourself on my question in the headline "What's important to you?". We can't control what's happened, whether you're currently not working, been furloughed or are just struggling with the restricted situation we're living with right now, but you can control what you do about it.
If you're not working, now is the time to check in with yourself as to whether your job was fulfilling, was it taking you on the journey to where you would feel happy. I know this is easier said than done when you have bills to pay, but our world is going through a reset right now, so there isn't really a more opportune time
If you've been furloughed, how are you using the time being given to you. Have you made a list of all the things you said you'd like to do, if you had the time? Not been happy in your role, now is the time to think about a different path and maybe explore some online courses to see if there is something else you'd like to do
"Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change
their minds cannot change anything – George Bernard Shaw"
Again I know these things are easier said than done, so my last piece of advice when dealing with change is, get some support. I'm fortunate enough to have a coach right now who is helping me hold myself to account around what I want to do moving forward and the path to achieving that. But that person for you could also be a friend, colleague or family member. I'm a real believer of the thought that one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to a goal or action is to share that with another person. Writing it down is a great start, but verbalising it to someone you trust is a very powerful step (especially if you ask them to hold you to account also).
My closing thought is that now is a time to connect with others and ask for help or support. If you think that asking for help would be seen as a sign of weakness, I implore you to change your perspective. The weakness is thinking that you alone have all the answers, which none of us realistically have. The people you trust and are closest to will be your biggest advocates and want you to succeed in whatever you set out to do, so why wouldn't you ask for their help?
So, what's important to me? My family and loved ones, my health and wellbeing, and continuing to fuel the passion I have of helping people tap into the success that is within them and bring it to life. That is my purpose.
My question is: Do you know what's important to you?