Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash
Last week, I had the privilege of attending a global conference for career coaches. Aside from the tremendous insights I learned from my colleagues, the speakers and materials, there was also built-in time for attendees to reflect on our own careers.
In recent times, reflection has become a relic. What we once did naturally in the elevator, when walking through a store or while waiting in line, is now something we need to schedule. Opportunities to make sense of new information, connect the dots between points and find meaning in ambiguity are all but lost.
By staying distracted with Netflix, mobile phones or other activities, we rob ourselves of the chance to stay centered, build resilience and remember that we’re capable of much more than we realize. It’s no coincidence that people are feeling more stressed, anxious and lonely these days.
If you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, here are some things I was reminded of during my reflection periods over the last week that may be helpful:
- We already have the answers. They usually lie beneath our fear, which comes in the form of being judged, making mistakes, disappointing others, being found out or losing something. When we can name and put aside the fear (journaling works wonders!), chances are, our path will become clear.
- Success is largely based on networking. While hard work is a key ingredient, learning and growing through others is unavoidable if you want to reach your full potential. And moments to connect are everywhere, already built into our daily lives. When you take advantage of them, you’ll begin to see the synchronicity of life seemingly falling into place. It’s not luck, it’s connections.
- Career security is about showing up, mentally and physically. Raise your hand. Be willing to be vulnerable to learn new things. Engage trial and error. Find the room where you feel the most intimidated. Seek out stretch assignments. Actively build a diverse group of contacts. Ask for feedback, coaching, and ideas. Security isn’t external with a company or job. It only can reside within you, in that moment when you realize that you already have what it takes to land on your feet.
- Labels are limiting. They offer a false sense of security and understanding, which often keeps us stuck in old patterns or habits that no longer serve us. We make judgments about what we (or others) can or cannot do based on labels, which tend to endure long after their usefulness. Labels make us lazy, failing to inquire, learn and understand. Take the time to go beyond them and chances are, you’ll quickly find many more opportunities waiting for you.
- Effective multitasking is a myth. But logistics management isn’t. Plan, schedule, organize, automate, delegate, say no, maintain boundaries, clean house and make lists. There are only 24 hours in a day, but we all have the ability to increase our productivity. Audit your time and see where the opportunities lie. You’ll be surprised at how much more time you’ll seem to have.
- To achieve great things, prepare for a marathon, not a sprint. Tomorrow seems ridiculously important until you realize that 10,000 tomorrows are now yesterdays. It’s the small, incremental, daily activities that build to create incredible achievements. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, and no one can catapult you over the obstacles as you climb. The pain, frustration, tears, anger, doubt, insomnia and anxiety are critical landmarks. You can’t sidestep them on the way to greatness of character – no one has yet.
- We’re all human struggling to figure things out. Perfect is an illusion that will rob us of our joy, and likely many would-be accomplishments. And even if you achieve “perfect,” others won’t see it, because perfect is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a no-win game. Instead, seek to grow, enjoy the journey and make an impact. And while you’re at it, stop judging if you disliked being judged. The temporary boost in ego isn’t worth the bad karma it creates in the world.
- Nothing is forever. Although many things feel that way, and we often live each day as if forever were real. But this delusion of "forever" is a disconnected, distracted place, void of gratitude, appreciation and contentedness. Maybe tomorrow is your last tomorrow. Maybe you’ll live another 100 years. It’s not the quantity of days, but rather the quality. Live each moment connected and intentionally if you want clarity and a sense of peace.
So, what are you missing while lost in the digital universe in your palm?
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a powerful motivator. But we have it backwards – the world we experience is largely based on our internal beliefs, which create our interpretations. We see through the lens of our own biases and assumptions, which are often formed by skimming the headlines. By avoiding reflection, we’re actually missing out on something much more important and enduring than what’s happening out there – the ability to be in the driver’s seat of our lives and create the outcomes we desire. So, what is getting in your way? More importantly, will you take a step to change it?
Reposted from: Forbes.com