Observing what is occurring in your life can yield results. Put yourself in a place of witness. Is there anything that has been repeating in your life that you would like to be gone? Perhaps you keep encountering a certain type of difficult personality, you keep getting assigned projects that do not reflect your strengths, you find yourself disappointed or discouraged often or you cannot get where you want to go, no matter what you do.
When things are repeating in your life, something may be asking for your attention. Ask yourself why these repeats are happening, what you are doing to contribute to them and what can you do to change the situation. Often, by addressing repeats, they will soon be gone. It is when they are not noticed, or they are ignored, that they stay around.
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In the northern hemisphere, spring is here. In the southern hemisphere, it is autumn. Seasons are clear markers of change in our lives. How can you use this change of season to your advantage? Here are a few questions to get you started:
• Is there a change you have wanted to make that you can get started on now?
• Is there something in your life or work that you want to let go of?
• Is there something you want to bring into your life or work that you can get started on now?
• What does this change in season mean or represent to you?
Using a change in season as a marker is a way to keep your life and career moving forward. Make the most of this change in season to transform your life and work in the same way nature transforms itself each season.
At various times in life, you can find yourself starting over. It may be of your own choosing, accompanied by excitement for the change or it may be not of your choosing, accompanied by some fear or unease. Whatever the situation, starting over is starting over and it is best to make the most of it.
Here are a few ways to approach a situation where you are starting over:
• Identify both the promise and the peril of your situation in a realistic manner so that your perspective is grounded and factual.
• Decide what you need to begin – Support? New skills? A certain attitude? Allies?
• Have a plan.
• Keep your mind open and observe the realities of your new situation.
• Accept that there is an element of the unknown in starting over.
• Do your best and strive for excellence in whatever you do.
“What’s so fascinating and frustrating and great about life is that you’re constantly starting over, all the time, and I love that.” – Billy Crystal
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Do you take notice of the markers in your work? Markers are events or major insights that stand out in your career. Examples of markers may be: a change in the management you report to, reaching a milestone goal in your work, an outstanding achievement, a failure that has impact, a turning point in your thinking or an important change.
Why take notice of markers? They focus you on what is happening and keep you conscious of your path forward. They also allow you to celebrate accomplishments, to be aware of the impacts of change and to learn from disappointments.
Are any markers visible to you now, or visible ahead?
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Sometimes it is hard to jump right in. You may have stepped back to the sidelines of your career for a good reason at one time – a bad experience, fear, need for a rest or confusion about your next step. Then, it got comfortable being there.
The problem is that you cannot move forward from the sidelines. You must act. At a certain point your career starts to go backwards without action. In order to change things, you can take a leap or a small step. Either will get you moving.
Being on the sidelines can get boring and really, it gets you nowhere. If you find yourself on the sidelines, do whatever you can to get moving again. Great things await you!
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Usually, you know if you have stayed too long in a place or situation. It doesn’t feel good, but you can’t get yourself moving. Perhaps you don’t know where to go, don’t like going outside of your comfort zone or have fear around your next step. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is in your best interest to get moving. Staying too long has negative consequences. Things can get worse. You can get increasingly frustrated or worried. You can lose control and get pushed out.
Once you have recognized that you have stayed too long, start looking forward. The past is over. Your world has changed. Create a new chapter that will bring you happiness and fulfillment. You can do it.
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What can you shift in your work that will give you a huge boost in your fulfillment and happiness? I hope that you are already working on making that shift. If you are not, go ahead and get started now. Here are some ways to get moving:
• Identify the shift you want to make.
• List the benefits you will gain by making the shift.
• Identify the practicalities of making the shift. What do you need in order to do it? What obstacles are in your way? What people and what support do you need to make it a reality?
• Set a plan to make the shift happen, including how you will do it, steps you will take, and deadlines.
• Create a “support plan” – how you will maintain your energy and commitment while you are making the shift happen.
It is within your capacity to change your life. Are you ready to shift?
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Many have advised that all will go well if you stay on the straight and narrow path. You will be safe, know exactly where you are heading and you won’t get lost. The problem with this is that work can be messy and anything but straight and narrow.
Some look at the straight and narrow path as the way of moral integrity. That’s a good thing and fundamental to ethical behavior. What I am looking at is seeing the world one way and not acknowledging that life is full of unknowns, curving roads and surprises. If you start out realizing that your path may not be straight and narrow, you have an immediate advantage.
So what do you do? As you traverse your career path, be ready for whatever comes by being flexible, staying fully in the present moment and seeing change as inevitable. That way, you can keep your feet on solid ground and get where you want to be.
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For generations, many organizations have relied on hierarchical structures. Hierarchies arrange organizations in a linear fashion and according to their designations of relative importance. Authority is paramount. People are “over” others and ranked determinedly. Hierarchies create a level of order, but also are confining and can limit innovation.
A group named The Next System Project has been looking at alternatives to current systems and recently sketched a model for a Participatory Workplace. Their concepts are quite a departure from hierarchical models, with democratically determined compensation and decision-making and emphasis on empowerment and engagement of all workers.
Changing workplace systems is no small undertaking. It is worthwhile to be aware of what new ideas are out there and also to look carefully at what type of organizational system you want to work within.
Change is all around us. My guess is that we may soon see hierarchical structures begin to fade as workers become more independent, we increase our focus on balance and technology empowers workers at all levels.
What do you think?
For many, it is preferable to know exactly where life is going. Predictability has its advantages. However, life does not always cooperate and you can find yourself experiencing unexpected turns. In your career, things can be going along smoothly and then your organization experiences a sudden downturn, for example. Or, you may change in an unexpected way and what you are doing is no longer a fit.
Unexpected turns ask you to come fully present to what is happening and chart a new course. They ask for your attention, courage, flexibility and intelligence, so that you can make them productive and meaningful for your life and career.
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