We can’t plan our lives and careers forensically and rationally, but we can create the time and space to check in with ourselves. If we stop to ask the right search questions from time to time, we can re-establish our paths to a better future.
Marriage Wittenberg-Cox, Future of a Gender and Work expert, recommends breaking our lives into seven-year blocks. Just as the body massively replaces itself with a new set of cells every seven years, we must take the time to contemplate, assess, and plan at the end of each block.
Some of it is coming to grips with how to leave behind what is no longer true, useful, or relevant. Just as a snake sheds skin that no longer fits, we need to recognize and discard those skills, practices, and ideas that no longer serve us. And some of it is deciding what to do next and how to adapt to new circumstances.
We don’t have to obsess about deadlines – check with yourself whenever you feel right – but seven years is a good rule of thumb. It’s long enough to transition from education to the workplace, to face some sort of crisis – life-changing or simply frustrating – or to move from one relationship to another. Yet it’s short enough to feel manageable, a period where it’s possible to really analyze how you’ve changed.
So here are three key questions we need to ask ourselves to re-examine our ambitions and make sure that our careers (and our lives) are reflecting our inner life compass.
What should I leave?
Getting what you don’t want is just as important as getting what you want; It allows you to define your own red flags and is non-negotiable. It leads us to businesses and cultures that align with our own needs and ideas.
wittenberg-cox believes that we need to get better at allowing us to move on: “We will need to be more efficient at letting go of what we were – our old identities, relationships, qualifications – what’s next – right now. until unknown, undefined, and unexplained.”
To figure out whether to quit, here are some areas to explore: Is the culture I’m working in holding me back or is the worst in me? have i experienced micro attack That chip away at me? Does my workplace encourage a culture of overwork and presenceism? What does this mean for me and my own limitations; Does work leak out in the evening? am i feeling burnt out? And outside of work, do I have relationships with people who make me feel bad, sad, lacking or lacking?
This is where the biggest question comes in: does it still work for me?
What has changed in my life?
Ambition does not follow a set path; Life has its ups and downs because life throws us curveballs. What has changed since the last time I checked in with me? It could be anything: An aging parent has collapsed or a partner’s new move creates havoc to drop out of school. Maybe you’re moving back home to live with parents, have health issues, or a relationship is crumbling.
All of these things dictate the way we want our careers to intertwine with the rest of our lives. At some points, life is purely about coping rather than taking on elaborate or ambitious projects.
So we need to ask ourselves what has changed. what can i take? The tug-of-war of home life can be intense at times; On others it may be imperceptible. Permission to define success the way we want—whether it’s raising a family or raising hell at work—is liberating.
what drives me
We are all inspired by different things. We can get motivated by more money, prestige, job title. We may see success because of Instagram likes or simply more autonomy. But the things that motivate us change over time. We need to ask ourselves: Are my values still the same? Do I still define success the same way?
Changing priorities can happen at any time in our lives. They can be as small as new interests or as big as changing perspectives on the world. They may inspire you to look for something different in your career – a time to pursue a hobby, or a time to quit to find a job that better reflects your new purpose.
Jonathan Rauch, author of “The Happiness Curve”, identifies such a change as being in mid life: “Usually this – contrary to stereotypes – is not a crisis. Rather it is a transition. During this period, our values, our priorities, even our minds shift away from competition and social effort and to others. Leads to adding and giving.
It can lead us to move towards a new industry; Former Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway retrains to become a teacher. She Explained: “For me, it was a long time coming. When my mother died, I thought I would have with journalism because it was too shallow. . . What’s the title, and I thought: ‘No, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to do something useful.’ ,
Dealing with these big questions regularly can help us figure out what we want to leave behind, what we really value in our lives, and what we want to prioritize moving forward.
It shouldn’t feel like something is off the to-do list. This is an ongoing process that you may wish to document in a journal or discuss with trusted confidants. Give yourself time to think, and don’t worry if the answers don’t come quickly.
We have to stop holding ourselves hostage to the people we were, and let ourselves and our ambitions develop. The ability to flex to change would be a superpower. As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and re-learn.”
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Annie Orbach is the author ofFlex: Rediscovering Work for a Smarter, Happier Life,,