Is this All there Is?

jokerThe New Year is behind us and we are all looking at the long year ahead.  This is the time many people begin to look at their careers and work environments and ask themselves, “Is this all there is?”

I remember many years ago when I was still working in the corporate environment, saying to co-workers, “I can’t stomach another budget review, project plan and feasibility analysis.” It just seemed as though I was doing the same thing over and over again. Where once these were exciting opportunities to demonstrate my capabilities, they had become just plain tiresome.   Nothing much has changed since that time because all businesses require the same basic tools to exist and people to provide them.

According to a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn Global Job Seeker Trends, people do not change jobs because of their bosses, lack of challenge, too much demand on them or even the pay.  Of 10,000 people surveyed on why they changed jobs, 45% indicated because they saw a lack of career opportunity.  I have coached many people through the years on how to make the most of their jobs and take responsibility for their career path.  Too often people expect their managers to guide them or let them know what is needed.  Many people wait for the right opportunity to shine.  However, if you ask most people who have become successful they will tell you it is because they took charge of their careers. They used every opportunity to look for and take on new challenges.  This does not always mean that you need to change jobs.

Here are some strategies that I have used in coaching when I have clients who find themselves stuck with a low libido when it comes to their careers:

  • First, remember that your job and career are only one part of your life. Look at all areas of your life to determine if this low level of energy and interest is in any other area of your life.  Perhaps you are facing the winter blues and nothing feels quite right.  If that is true, it is time to do an inventory of what brings you real meaning and a sense of purpose.  Are you a creative thinker and lacking opportunities to use that natural gift of yours?  Look around to see if there is a project waiting for you to take on at home or at work?  If it is at work, who can you enroll in some new thinking or ideas for change?  If at home, what would be your first step to get started?Bulb
  • Be willing to declare something new.  Iyanla Vanzant, a great writer, wrote the book In the Meantime in which she spoke of how people wait for the right time to take on their dreams and what they want.  There is no time like the present.  It has become even more relevant today with our rapidly changing times.  Look for opportunities at work to take on a new project. How do you find them?  Look for areas that others are complaining about but not taking action to change anything.  You can be the one to declare your intention to take it on.  Find something that needs changing that is really meaningful for you.  You must be truly interested in what you want to change or else it will become hard and eventually you will give up.  When you decide what you want to change and how that will make a difference, begin to enroll others in your ideas.  Each person in an organization can take the lead but it requires your commitment.  People who wait will not be seen as the people organizations want to move up their career ladder.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Share your intentions to advance your career with your managers.  Let them know you want to be challenged and to play your best game.  Identify areas you want to become more capable and let your manager know.  Ask for challenging assignments where you will need to stretch yourself and learn something new and be able to take more risks.  This will always benefit you as your career path develops.  Many mangers I have coached have shared that they wish their employees would ask them for more challenging assignments.  You must be willing to take the lead in your career.Smile
  • Get a coach.  Before changing careers one of the best investments you can make is to hire a coach.  Perhaps your organization has internal coaches available to assist you in your career development.  Almost 50% of organizations today have internal coaches or are planning to provide internal coaches for their employees.  A coach is a great resource to help you evaluate your strengths and what you really want to do to develop yourself and advance your career.  Source Point Training has been working with organizations over the last several years to provide coaching for employees within an organization who want to play a bigger game and contribute at higher levels but require coaching to develop their best strategy.

There are many opportunities for you to create exactly what you want in the year ahead.  The first step is to get off the bench and take the lead to determine what you want, where your greatest talents lie and enroll people to give you the opportunity to go for it and bring more excitement to what you do everyday.

With warmest gratitude, Barbara and everyone at Source Point Training


On Gratitude

The more I listen to the gratitude of others, the more grateful I feel in my own life and the more compelled I feel to share with others that which has been given to me.

teacherThird Grade: Mrs. Bammel, cracks open the math book. It’s time to teach negative numbers. It goes like this: You start at zero. If you move to the right of zero, you’re in the positive. Simple stuff: 1, 2, 3. If you move to the left of zero, you’re in the …wait? What? Negative numbers. Makes no sense: -1, -2, -3….As toe-tinglingly in love as you are with Mrs. Bammel, with her Dutch-boy haircut, caramel voice, and bottomless treasure chest of glue, glitter and felt, you have to protest. “Mrs. Bammel, excuse me, Mrs. Bammel…. Why in the world would we count negative numbers? That’s counting what’s not there!”

You can count your lack forever, and it’s an easy thing to do, and if you’re always only counting then you’re always never at risk of losing anything ever again.

Except even when you think you’ve lost everything, you’re never without. In fact, this is the perfect moment to allow gratitude to be your guru, to whisper with grace small words of thanks for everything – anything­ – in your life. Begin like this:

I am alive.

How beautiful would this world be if we counted all that we have and not what we’ve lost or never had?

The funny thing about life’s riches, they were always there; I wasn’t. Becoming present was not the result of therapy, or chiropractic adjustments, or yoga, or aimless road trips, though all of those things certainly helped. The real key was simply listening without borders, boundaries, or expectations. Letting go of the knowing and really just living in the experience. You are surrounded by people who are living in bliss. I was. I am. And it is our duty, as Kurt Vonnegut shared weeks before his passing in 2008, to help each other through this life in whatever ways we can.

As a journalist, it is my job to listen. So, discarding the third grade math lessons of Mrs. Bammel, I chose to listen. Really listen for gratitudelisten. What I found: Listening feels good. It feels great. I receive so much by simply being more present. This is an enormous gift I have been given. The more I listen to the gratitude of others, the more grateful I feel in my own life and the more compelled I feel to share with others that which has been given to me. You cannot listen to the gratitude of others without being reminded of the great gift that is your own life, without experiencing a profound ignition of your own passions and curiosities about the world in which we live, without discovering anew or for the first time high magic and low puns and great possibilities and unexpected delights that exist right here and now in this universe.

Your universe!

To listen to and be moved by others gratitude, then more importantly, to share in turn, might launch a revolution of sorts, a minor movement toward a higher consciousness that puts at a premium the simple act of counting our blessings and sharing them with others. How beautiful would this world be if we counted all that we have and not what we’ve lost or never had? Your gratitude means as much as anyone else’s. And so I am listening. We are listening. The world is listening. Wherever you are, let it begin now, like this:

I am grateful for…

What are you grateful for and how does truly listening support you in life?

By Todd Aaron Jensen