Along with the many businesses that are having to discover a new way forward in this period of economic-pause, so too are many people at all levels of these businesses having to start again. Great ambitions and plans as we entered 2020, and today, well possibly a whole range of emotions. Being able to find solid footing upon which to build a career in challenging times is a strength you should seek.
Active Knowledge Question:
On what foundations do you build a lifelong career?
You may come to work today, physically or digitally, to discover:
- You no longer have a job;
- Your colleagues no longer have jobs;
- Your task is to notify and counsel those who are being tapped on the shoulder;
- Your task is to determine who will be asked to leave;
- You are one of the ‘lucky ones’, but now you’re working in a post-redundancy environment.
This reality is occurring every day in businesses, big and small, around the world. And no matter how hardened you may seek to make your heart it will impact you. For many, it is devastating, for some the response will be visible and for others, it will be hidden. Either way, it is likely to be with you for many years to come.
Few businesses manage this challenge well, they have processes, but the processes tend to be designed around making it easy for the business and protecting them from litigation and cost.
In anyone’s lifelong career, these realities will occur sometime or another. The issue, therefore, becomes finding a foundation upon which you can move forward, and I believe, more importantly, equipping yourself so you can support others to move forward.
It does start with empathy, but it must quickly move to encouragement and then practical advice upon which new foundations can be built.
Society seems to set us up for a big fall when it comes to career disruption. Why? Because we tend to define success in terms of position, wealth and power whether we admit or not. And these elements are assessed by what is visible – what is your job title, how much do you earn, are you climbing the leadership ladder, where do you live, what school do you kids go to, where do you holiday, what car do you drive, and so the list continues. And then when you lose your job, all of these external elements take a hit – and sometimes significantly.
And of course, it’s not just people who are employed, but also those who run their own business and have had to close them down that this impacts.
Many people are also so heavily invested in their careers that their identity and community connections are completely contained within that role. And when they no longer have that role, who are they and what has happened to their community? They can feel lost, ashamed and without hope.
How do you brace yourself? I believe there are five ways:
- Define success not upon elements that you do not control but upon what you can achieve?
- Do not think of a career but think of vocation – what you are made to do within this world?
- Don’t fall for the trap of always buying bigger to ‘match the Jones’.
- Surround yourself with family and friends who see your success in how you live out your life, and how treat with others.
- Live a life of enduring success built upon who you are, and want to be.
But there is a point I would like to highlight here, and that is money. You need to make a conscious decision about the importance of money in your life and balance your life with that decision. You could say this simply means don’t spend more than you have, but I think it’s a more basic question and asks you to balance the life you seek with the hours and stress you are willing to bear.
We can all find enduring success, but the path one person takes to achieve that outcome, will not be the path that another will take. Tailor your choices to who you are and want to be.
Direction and Support
Anchoring yourself in a knowledge that your life is a success, that you are journeying forward, that family and friends respect who you are and what you do – these are the foundations that you should build in your life.
And it all starts with finding success in what you do well, and that is not necessarily in the career you have found yourself in. It is in the pursuit of what you do well, what you excel at and enjoy doing, this is where your career, your vocation, should be built.
There is a process to assist you in discovering this calling which goes something like this:
The starting point to creating a future of enduring success is to gain a real understanding of what works well for you and what doesn’t – where your true strengths lie and where you are weak. You can spend an enormous amount of time trying to improve your areas of weakness and honestly not move them very far. Or you can focus on your areas of strength and truly excel. So, while you recognise your weaknesses and seek to address them, you should put your efforts into areas where you are strong – these will be the mainstay of your successes.
Create perspective by gaining an appreciation of where you have been and what lessons that journey carries for you. This will allow you to craft better goals and make better decisions in the future. This will include outstanding achievements, challenging experiences, absolute failures, best decisions and examples of the right focus and balance.
To sustain a life of enduring success, you will need to develop a level of courage that will enable you to face and overcome any challenges. This courage does not rest in a false or excessive pride but is built upon competence, capability and knowledge of oneself. You will learn and prove to yourself that you are capable and can set and deliver the right goals for you.
Recognise and list what your great achievements are and in what areas of your life they have been. Appreciate the fact that you have and can achieve. Identify what the enablers of success are for you and how you can use these enablers as your key strengths. Begin to redraw your self-image and recognise that you can achieve.
Ambition – the desire to achieve – is the energy that will power you every day. You should wake up each and every morning with an excitement for the opportunities this new day presents. The opportunities should be varied and enticing, exciting and challenging, and make you feel blessed and alive. At night you should fall asleep exhausted but satisfied with your day and the work you have done in striving for your goals.
Take a deep breath and write without reservation what it is you would like to achieve across all areas of your life. Review and highlight key ambitions.
Move now to focus-in on the ambitions that are central to who you are, and most important to you. Delete those which are not most and arrive at a list of say five core ambitions. Your ambitions should acknowledge all of your learnings as discovered under step one above. Make sure it’s the right list for you to take advantage of your strengths, bringing them to the forefront.
Make Them Compelling – Passion:
If a goal is worthy of pursuit, it must be accompanied by a compelling reason – that is, a reason that can’t be ignored and that will push you to achieve it. Review your list from step four above and write a compelling reason for each. If you can’t arrive at a compelling reason, then delete it off the list. Only keep those ambitions that really excite you.
Know The Impact:
You now have your goals (your core list of ambitions) clear, and it should be starting to feel ‘real’ for you. The excitement of crafting a new life and achieving your ambitions is becoming tangible. But it’s not all about talk. In fact, it’s all about action.
For each ambition, state the exact outcome that you seek and then what tasks will need to be achieved and challenges overcome to deliver on that outcome.
Momentum starts with the first step and builds with each step thereafter. Taking those steps is a lot easier when you know in advance what they are likely to be and if you can see where you are going.
For each goal, list out the key steps that will be required to deliver on each goal.
Big challenges are easy. You just take them on one small piece at a time, and before you know it, you will be over the summit and on the other side. Having set out bite-size steps to achieve each goal allows you to build a program that will underpin your achievements.
Compound, Compound, Compound:
Your commitment is real, your goals are enticing and exciting, you have set yourself up to succeed, and you are building your achiever trait with each step you take – keep going and don’t stop.
The hardest part of any journey is the first step, so you must set yourself up for an easy first step and a win. The goal is to build confidence, habit and endurance in developing your Achiever Trait and then through this yield the significant advantage and benefit of compounding. Don’t get caught up in proving that you’re tough and that you have what it takes by making the first step so hard that you will struggle to make it. Remember that it’s better to take 10 easy steps to reach your destination rather than attempting one massive leap and never making it.
As you complete this process, you will be crafting a new self-image of who you are, what you do and what is important to you. Valid, build and refine this self-image with trusted friends and family.
A solid footing for your career lies in crafting your job (vocation) in an area in which you naturally excel and thoroughly enjoy. And then no matter what happens, you will always be fulfilled. Find this place for yourself and be willing and able to help others do the same.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,