If you’re reading this, you’ve found your way to Moment in Mind, my company that I’m growing… that I’ve been growing… forever. Ok, well, not really forever. But it feels like forever. I left my previous job a while back for lots of reason which I won’t go into, had a second baby, and started my own business. I suppose these things take time. And speaking of time…
If any of you have started your own business, I imagine you might be having a little chuckle, because you now have perspective being on the other side, or at the very least farther down the road. You know the struggle. You know how every little thing takes much longer than you anticipated. You know that you get stuck in unexpected places, and can feel like you’ll never “get there” (wherever there is). Building a successful career can feel very similarly. Constantly developing your skills, feeling like you’re not advancing as you wished. Feeling like you haven’t reached the leadership position you thought you’d be in by now.
And when you’re in this stuck place, what are the thoughts that go through your head? A [ahem…] friend once told me that when she’s feeling stuck, she has thoughts like, “What if I never feel successful?”, “What if I always feel this terrible?”, “What if I’m not destined for anything more than this? After all, most people ARE… average.” So, when my “friend” expresses these thoughts, I send her here, to watch a TED talk by Dr. Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness and psychologist at Harvard. If you haven’t watched this particular talk of his before, you should. Maybe even NOW.
There are two things he mentions that always make my brain flip back into place.
1. When speaking of why we get mired in the present, he speculates that it might be due to the “ease of remembering vs. the difficulty of imagining.” Preach. My “friend” could easily tell you the 20 failings she’s experienced over the last 2 years that’s making her feel stuck. But ask her what she imagines her career will look like in 5-10 years? On a good day, she might shrug. On a bad day… break out the tissues.
2. “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Bring it home, Dan. You might need to read that sentence again. And again. And then meditate on it. Then maybe journal about it.
Whenever I work with people, whether they’re struggling with the serious and complex, or common everyday struggles of life, they all want things to be better, but have a hard time imagining how that will ever come to pass. That’s hopelessness, my friends.
So, how do we go about gaining (or regaining) perspective that we are works in progress… that the present isn’t everything – The anti-Buddhist mindset, if you will?
Watching Dr. Gilbert’s talk gives me perspective. Know what else does? Running. [Short] Story time.
I live in a large city. I often run to this beautiful park that’s on the outskirts of downtown. Being in this park gives me perspective. It’s my forest for the trees (or rather, city for the buildings) place to go. Getting to this place reminds me that the world is bigger. Bigger than me, bigger than my work, bigger than any struggle I’m in right now. It reminds me that TIME is big. And that THIS time that I’m in, is fleeting. It reminds me that there are times I run to the park, and I feel like every step is heavy and takes enormous amounts of energy. And, there are times when I run to the park, and I feel great, light, and know that I’m going places.
Feeling stuck, like you’re finished is a very REAL struggle, especially in your career. It can feel ALL CONSUMING.
So, I have some questions for you.
1. What’s different in your career now compared to 5 years ago? How are you different? (Hint, if you’re having trouble with this one, you might consider talking to a trusted friend or colleague who knows you and your work)
2. Where do you want to be in 5 years? And what are you doing now to get yourself there?
3. If you are feeling stuck, feeling down about your career, feeling like you’ll never get anywhere, what cost might this have on your progress? Think hard about this one… because this is the kick-in-the-pants question that you need to address before you wake up 5 years from now feeling regret.
4. How do you go about gaining perspective?
That’s all for now. I wish you courage and confidence in your career pursuits! If you feel like chatting a bit more about this topic, schedule a 20 minute consultation call with me – I’d love to hear more about your career journey.