The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this; decide what you want. – Ben Stein
One exercise I give all of my clients when deciding on the ideal next job is to make a list of everything they want. This typically numbers in the dozens – salary, bonus, flexibility, great boss, mentorship, etc. Then, they pick their top half. Then, the top half of that. Then, they keep dividing in half until they can no longer imagine taking a job that doesn’t meet the remaining criteria. These things are the real deal breakers. These things are what you really want.
You can do the same exercise outside of career – with your personal goals, your weekly to do list, even your list of approved cheat foods (my deal-breakers here are chocolate-covered nuts and ice cream).
What are the nice-to-haves and what are the MUST-haves? How much time and attention are you giving the MUST-haves? How can you better preserve your limited bandwidth for what you really want?
If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself. – Stephen Covey
I am guilty of the blame game, myself – if only he had followed up on that, if only their budget wasn’t so restrictive, if only she wasn’t favoring her preferred vendors.
Instead I need to stay focused on what I can do: How can I follow up? How can I rework my proposal to fit the budget? How can I get on the preferred list?
In what areas of life and career are you giving up control? Where do you assume “this is just the way things are”? What is your role in keeping (and therefore upending) business-as-usual?
I think the key is for women not to set any limits — Martina Navratilova
I would say that not setting limits is the key for everyone. Can I do one more push-up? Can I fill my boss’ role? Can I do what I love, live the life I want to lead, and get paid fabulously well for it? Why not?
I was freelancing when my two children were very young, and one of my clients was an organization where I could see myself in-house. I didn’t want to work the traditional 9-5, and I still wanted the flexibility to pursue creative projects (I was acting at the time), and I still expected to make six-figures. So that’s what happened. It’s not typical, but it can be done.
Where are you setting limits or making assumptions? There are no limits.
I never worry about action, but only inaction – Winston Churchill
Inaction is a choice to do nothing. You do take an action by doing nothing – you watch possibilities pass by.
Maybe it feels less risky to do nothing. Well, you have minimized the risk from taking action. But you have increased any risks that come from the inaction. It can be risky to do nothing – inertia sets in, problems become larger, opportunities become more distant.
It’s easier to course correct than to get started. That’s why I love Churchill’s quote. With action, you’re in motion and you can tweak, adjust, refine as needed. With inaction, you have to amass the momentous energy to lift off and start from nothing.
What action can you take today?