How to stop waiting and start leading a career that works for you

In the last article (article one of three) I suggested a number of things you could do if you were feeling stuck in a career rut.  All of those suggestions were intended to do one thing for you – get you much more curious.  Remember curiosity kick starts change!  In this article I will help you work out what to do with all of this curiosity.

When we change the way we look at things the things we look at change.
Dr Wayne Dyer

Now that you have become curious about your interests and values; motivated skills and strengths; abandoned career goals and emerging possibilities, you may notice that you are starting to think about yourself and your career differently.  This is a good space to be in.

As a first activity write down any career ideas that have occurred to you so far.  If you have a job title, write it down.  If you have become interested in an industry, write that down.  Perhaps you have a fuzzy notion of a type of work that you want to explore, write that down.  Dr. Tony Grant, professor of coaching psychology at the University of Sydney talks about the power of a fuzzy vision. A fuzzy vision is an idea that has enough structure to it that we can get a sense of direction from it.  But not so locked down with detail that we blind ourselves to new information and possibilities that we are sure to come across as we pursue our fuzzy vision.

In their book Solution-focused Coaching: Managing People in a Complex World, Tony Grant and Jane Greene talk about four pre-requisites for bringing about change in our lives.  The four conditions that they recommend you cultivate are:

Business team celebrating

  1. A vision of something better to strive for
  2. Sufficient dissatisfaction with the status quo
  3. A workable plan for change; and
  4. The confidence to pursue your plan

To help you continue your process of getting unstuck, I would like to suggest one more exercise for you to try.  It is an exercise in imaging what better might look like for you.  To carry out this exercise I draw upon the work of Peter DeJong and Insoo Kim Berg.  The activity is called “The Miracle Question.”  This activity is designed to help you re-imagine the future you want to move toward.  Unsurprisingly, The Miracle Question exercise begins with a question. Here is the question for you to answer:

“Suppose that while you are sleeping tonight and the entire house is quiet, a miracle happens.  The miracle is that the problems you are experiencing now are solved.  However, because you were sleeping, you don’t know that the miracle has happened.  So, when you wake up tomorrow morning, what will be different that will tell you a miracle has happened and the problems that you have been experiencing are solved?”[i]

Put aside some quiet time to think about your answer to this question.  Write it down.

Business woman winning a raceBy doing the exercises suggested in this blog you will go a long way to creating the first condition for change that Tony Grant and Jane Greene discuss.  I assume that if you identify with being stuck in a rut.  Then you have got sufficient dissatisfaction with your status quo.

We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that they may sprout.
Epictetus

So far we have considered two core activities you can do to get unstuck if you find yourself in a career-rut. The first was to become far more curious. Curious about your current situation. Curious too about goals you had abandoned and new and emerging possibilities that your curiosity has created. The second building block was to imagine what “better” looks like for you. Cultivate your fuzz vision by answering The Miracle Question.
In the next article, the final in this three-part series, I will discuss what stops many people from taking action to bring their career visions to life and what you can do about it.

Enjoy!

[i] Adapted from Peter DeJong and Insoo Kim Berg. (1998). Interviewing for Solutions. pages 77-78.)

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