Whether you are just starting out in the workforce, are looking to re-enter after some time off or are contemplating a career change, it’s important to set goals and check points for yourself. And with everything else we, as women, have going on in our daily lives, sometimes that can be difficult to do.
This is something that I struggle with every once in a while, too. Although I have big plans for my business and have seen success over the years, it can still be difficult to imagine what it’ll be like (or what I want things to be like) 3, 5 or 10 years down the road.
So before you start a career overhaul, I want you to think about the following questions honestly:
- Are you happy?
- Do you work because you have to or because you want to?
- When you think about the future, do you see yourself in your current position?
- If money wasn’t an issue and you could create your “dream job” what would that be?
- If the world ended tomorrow, would you look back on your life and be proud of what you’ve accomplished as it relates to your career? Your family? Other personal ventures?
Depending on your answers to any one of the questions above, it may be time to renew your career goals and to think about what will keep you motivated as you work on accomplishing those goals. It may be as simple as sitting down with a career counselor and talking about options or it could be more drastic such as quitting your current position and moving on to the unknown.
The point of the question activity above isn’t to get you down on where you are in life or where your current career is headed. Instead, it’s an activity that should motivate you to make the changes you need to in order to answer a resounding “YES!” to the first question asked.
So, how do we do that?
Replenish your motivation
It’s hard to stay motivated each day of the week. And for some of us, even though we adore our jobs or our chosen paths in life, we can’t help but feel down every now and again. Here are a few tips I found to be helpful in keeping your motivation going (these can also be applied to your personal life):
- Be a planner. Part of what can be overwhelming in life or setting career goals is that you don’t have a path in mind. Or, you feel overwhelmed because there is so much to get done each day that it seems there isn’t anything left for you. Plan your goals. Write them down. Make lists. Cross off the things you’ve accomplished. It’s therapeutic to see the amount of things you do in one single day.
- Engage with positive people. This means at work as much as it does in your personal life. If your co-workers are bringing you down, get out of there. Think about it: If you work 40+ hours a week, you’re spending more time with your work “family” than your own close family and friends. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll be more apt to think positively about where you’re headed next.
- Give yourself adequate “me” time. Again, this is true for personal endeavors as much as it is for building up your work skills and professional development. If you are thinking about a career change, for example, join a networking group focused in that new area. Want to learn a new skill that can be applied at work? Find a workshop or training session in your area. Invest in yourself; you’ll stay motivated longer.
- Concentrate on the good. In you, that is. Stop focusing on your faults or what you “should have, could have, would have” and think about what makes you great. So many times we rush through work or the highlights in our careers without stopping to appreciate the great things we’ve achieved. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back every once in awhile (and use that as motivation to think about where those great things can take you next).
At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective. You only get one life; live it well and live it to your full potential. Be happy. That’s what it’s all about.