As we start a new year, I wanted to write about two topics: a new year’s resolution to focus on the process and a reflection on our expectations of work.
A resolution for the New Year: focus on the process
A New Year inevitably has us thinking about new goals and what might be possible in the coming year. While we often jump enthusiastically to set goals for a new year, our commitment to the process is often quickly abandoned.
If we focus solely on one or more intractable goal(s), we can easily lose sight of the present moment and our living engagement in the very process that can bring us insight and perspective on our daily experiences – both the accomplishments and the setbacks.
Many clients I have worked with feel they should have clearly defined career goals, for example. But having a goal – career or otherwise - is not the same thing as being committed to, and active in, the process.
Process is the foundation for realistic, adjustable, attainable and meaningful goals.
When we are fully engaged in the process:
- We feel connected to our daily experiences, connected to our energy, to what motivates us, all the while being aware of inevitable fluctuations
- We feel connected to and aware of our daily choices, decisions and actions
- We gain insights from our experiences, from what we are learning, and we deepen our perspective
- We become better able to understand, contextualize, accept and manage mistakes and setbacks
- We contribute directly (in the moment) to the expansion and progress of our capacities, skills and expertise.
- We recognize ourselves as the authors of OUR lives, capable of and responsible for creating and re-creating of our lives.
- we feel the overall value of our daily lives
As you think about the year ahead, take some time to reflect on your process.
From process to expectations…
What are your expectations of work?
How often are we told to seek out or discover work that we are passionate about? I have written about the increasing desire for fulfillment as a criterion for work and career, a desire I witness in my work with clients.
We expect a great deal from our work and careers.
I am often tempted to write at length about what work environments could do to help contribute to experiences of fulfillment for their personnel! But this month I will focus on how we can develop a reflective practice and an awareness of our own engagement in the work we do and how our unique ways of being influence and create experiences of meaning, fulfillment, purpose and value.
Working with clients, I often hear our expectations of work as a “career want list”. I have listed some examples below. For each example, I have posed several reflective questions to help us describe and better understand our expectations and gage our engagement with the work we do.
The career “want” list:
- We want careers or jobs that are personally meaningful and that have purpose. What would make a job or career personally meaningful? What would that look like, feel like? How do you define meaningful or purposeful work?
- We want to feel connected, committed and contributing to our place of work. What do you value about your work environment? How would you assess your commitment to the work you do or to the organization you work for? How do you relate to your colleagues? What is important, at this stage in your life, for you to be involved in?
- We want work that better reflects our experiences and skills – work roles that move or adjust with our expanding expertise. At this stage in your life, and if you were to look at the totality of your work experiences, how would you define your skills – both natural and learned - your expertise, and what you have learned about your own capacities?
- We want to be recognized for the work we do and to have our unique skills and capacities recognized, valued and utilized. What personal skills or expertise do you bring to your job, position or role? What do you want to be recognized for on the job?
- We want work that aligns with our personal values. Can you define several personal values? What kinds of work, roles or positions do you feel would match or align with these values?
- We want to be mentored, guided and fully trained in order to feel comfortable and confident in our work. Do you feel you need more guidance, assistance or training to do your job well? Do you feel you need more or less structure around you to do your job well? What kind of structure(s) do you need around you?
- Most of us want access to further training and professional development. What would you like to develop further? How would you like to expand your current role or professional interests?
- We want to feel passionate, excited and motivated about our work. What attracts your attention, motivates you, and makes you feel fully engaged in what you are doing?
- We want more balance in our lives and time to rest, to recuperate, and to rejuvenate. Time away from work enhances our productivity, creativity, overall well-being, reduces stress, gives us perspective and a chance to feel nourished by other areas of our lives: family, friends, hobbies. How do you rest and recuperate? How do you deal with daily stress? What other activities besides work do you engage in? How do these other activities, or other ways of expressing yourself, enhance your life and well-being?
Britt-Mari helps her clients to create personally empowered and meaningful solutions to career development, career transition, and the management of stress and burnout. For more information on coaching sessions or to schedule a consultation call contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org