Taking stock of your life to see if it is on track is a bit like going to see your dentist for a regular check up! We all know we should do but lots of us don’t! We find lots of excuses for not actually getting on with it. For some of us we put it off until it’s forced on us, for example, at redundancy or some kind of personal tragedy. But most of us would probably gain from a simple check up periodically may be once a year! December is a superb time to take stock on where you are both on a professional and a personal level. You can then begin to think through your plan for next year and how you are going to make it brilliant!
So get your pad and pen – here are some thoughts to speed your on your way!
Most of us will probably find it easiest to start with work! What is your work all about? Why are you doing it now? Why did you choose it in the first place? Has it got meaning for you and is it fulfilling? Be specific and very honest! Think through how you would really like to spend that one third of your life. How does that match up against what you are doing? Identify the gap between the career anchors you aspire to and what you have – autonomy, expertise, security, creativity, the ability to use your professional knowledge! But be realistic about financial reward and how important that needs to be!
Identify what is non-negotiable for you! The factors in your work and personal life that you’d never contemplate compromising. This might include the type of work you’d consider doing and within what industries.
Be realistic as well about the present climate! Having a job is a great plus, so don’t immediately think you need to move. See what can be changed where you are now! Are there other ways of doing your work? Are there new challenges you can take on and new skills you can acquire? Does your boss know what you would really like to do – are there opportunities that your boss can give you access to? But don’t let your unwillingness to move from an existing comfort zone hold you back.
On a personal note, the “non-negotiable” factors could include things like the relationship with your partner, where you live, the house you live in, the friends and family about you, your willingness to travel, and the quality of life you enjoy. But again think about your relationships and how you manage them! Is there work you need to do to improve them? How could you make your life outside work richer for you and those about you?
Understand your strengths, your flaws and your fears. Be honest about who you are! What are you good at? Write it down and be proud! What do you think you can’t do and why? Where is the evidence? Decide what you are going to work on and decide what you are going to give up trying to do! Are there things you think you should be good at rather than things you want to be good at or need to be good at? Do you really want to waste your precious time on them?
Now make your Action Plan for next year! How are things going to change? What are you going to do? Above all don’t let lack of self confidence hold you back! Dream you dream! Believe in you and what you can achieve. And next year come here again and do another stock take! Reach higher and higher until you reach the star right at the top of your own personal Christmas Tree!