Ready for a change, but not sure what, exactly, you need?
Updated: Jan 14
Does this resonate with you: “I need a change, but I’m not sure what, exactly, I need”?
What about these statements, below?
You’ve noticed changes in your work habits — your motivation, energy level and inspiration have all reduced, and you don’t know how to reverse them.
You feel burnt out at work, but you’re not sure you can pinpoint the exact root cause. Each root cause you point to feels too minute.
You feel like you’re hitting a wall at work.
You’re frustrated with critical relationships, and are either giving up on trying, or are turning the blame inward on yourself too harshly.
You’re pretty sure you want to leave your job or company, but you don’t know where to look next.
You feel you’ve been forced to be too reactive, flying by the seat of your pants lately, responding to every push and pull around you. You’re typically a proactive, goal-oriented and focused leader, so this is extra painful for you.
If any (or all) of these statements resonate with you, you’re not alone! These are the most frequently-stated pain points my clients share with me during our first few sessions.
What these statements all have in common is that they reflect leaders who know, intuitively, they’re needing some sort of change. They also reflect leaders who haven’t yet been able to connect the dots to figure out what, exactly, they need to start to feel renewed energy and more fulfilled.
There are two important things I want you to take away from this article, no matter who you are or where you are in your journey.
First, you should know that getting out of your limbo is realistic — you’re not doomed to feeling this way forever. I will share my five practical, doable tips to help you figure out what specific changes you need below.
Second, know that you deserve to love what you do, and to feel energized, inspired and motivated while you do it. You shouldn’t ignore these feeling you’ve been feeling, or settle for anything less than the best you’ve ever felt.
Here are my five steps to figuring out what specific changes you need make to get back to feeling inspired, motivated, and energized at work and in life:
1. Begin by listing out your core values. Each person lives according to a set of values, whether she realizes it or not. The most effective values are ones that are clearly defined, and that are explicitly used as frameworks within which to make decisions. Less effective values are ones that are implicit, less well understood by their owner, or are regularly overridden. Your job in step one: make your core values explicit. Literally list them out. This core values exercise should be simple: write down a list of values that resonate with you (aim for 3-5) and edit down until they feel right. If you feel stumped, head here for some samples.
2. Understand your strengths, passions, and what sets you on fire. This step is critical and requires you to spend some time on it. Ask a friend, mentor, manager or coach to help, if you can. Consider taking a comprehensive assessment, like MBTI or MAPP. Read through past annual reviews that talk about your super-powers. Reflect on questions like, “what would you be doing if you had all the money in the world?” Make a list and don’t be shy — no one needs to see it but you.
3. Use steps one and two to create a non-negotiables list. This non-negotiables list will be a lens through which you choose any future projects, jobs, goals, etc. Don’t take into account whether your current job/life fits this list yet; try to block that out completely! Here are your directions:
Come up with a list of five characteristics that make you feel most fulfilled. Some criteria for this list:
Your list should be aligned with your strengths, passions, and core values (from steps 1 and 2 above).
Your list should focus on bringing you internal fulfillment, rather than on external accolades (e.g. prestige).
The characteristics can be inspired by current or past roles/projects, or any “extracurriculars” you’ve participated in.
Finally, your list should be broad enough to encapsulate a variety of different opportunities. For example – “something that lets me coach others” is sufficiently broad, whereas “being the director of an ad sales team” is not.
One word of caution – these are truly meant to be non-negotiables, not “nice to haves.” When push comes to shove, you should be willing to turn a role or project down if it doesn’t meet the criteria on this list.
4. Create short- and long-term goals based on your non-negotiables list. This is the most interesting (and for some, the hardest) part — in order to do this, you first have to ask yourself whether your current job and life situation meet each item on your non-negotiables list. If they do not, don’t despair — the good news is, you’ve finally validated the reason(s) why you were feeling the need for change! Your job now is to craft short- and long-term goals that do meet your non-negotiables. Go slowly here; no need to rush this process. For help, I’m including a link to the official Haven Coaching goals worksheet — instructions are on the first tab. If you need more help with this, don’t hesitate to contact me!
5. Have an entourage of people who will hold you accountable. Yes, it’s important to get help with accountability when going after big goals — this has been scientifically proven — but having others in your corner is also critical to keep you accountable with your non-negotiables. It’s helpful to have people around you who will call you out if you start to go after jobs, projects and opportunities based on some external factor (e.g. prestige) rather than sticking with your non-negotiable list (which is crafted to ensure you remain fulfilled). Great members of your entourage can include mentors, trusted friends, and, of course, an ICF-certified coach.
These five steps require a great deal of introspection; at the end, you should feel a sense of clarity around who you are and what, specifically, you want. You may discover that small tweaks will make a big difference in your life — simply having a hard conversation or setting some boundaries, for example — or you may discover that you do, indeed, need a bigger change. The important point is that you will finally know.
What other steps have you tried? What has worked? What hasn’t?
Hit me up in comments to share your thoughts!
P.S. a vision board is a fantastic supplement to setting authentic goals and envisioning a life for yourself that will fulfill you. Haven Coaching has teamed up with Crystal Wellness Company to host a Vision Board Workshop on 1/31 in Snoqualmie, WA and we’re providing everything you need to create a gorgeous vision board for 2020! Grab tickets here to reserve your spot — it’s filling up fast!
P.P.S. need a little more one-on-one support? Head here to schedule a free 20-minute consultation with me — I’d love to help you understand what adds or takes away from your energy/inspiration, discover what changes you need, and guide you through those changes today.