After the year we had in 2020, it was easy to think that as we entered 2021, all that world-wide pandemic thing would be over and we’d be back to getting on with our lives. Er, no.
Instead, as we start 2021, it seems like it’s just more of the same, and the same feelings of feeling restricted and stopped in our tracks seem to have re-surfaced.
So where does this leave you, if you’d been thinking 2021 was the year you were going to finally take action and sort out your career?
Well it leaves you where it left you last year. If in 2020, or before, you weren’t happy in your job chances are that’s not going to change in 2021 if everything has remained the same.
But just because the country has come to a halt, it doesn’t mean that you have to put a stop to your career plans. In fact, it could be a great time to dig deep, do some soul searching and use the time now to get crystal clear about what exactly it is that you do want to do with your career. Then, when you’re good and ready, you can press the button and make the changes you need.
Often it’s the feeling that there’s nothing that can be done that makes us feel hopeless, not the actual options available to us. One thing I am clear on though, is that there is still plenty of opportunity out there, both in the jobs market and in the entrepreneurial space. Many of my clients last year went on to find new roles, redefine their existing roles and start new businesses, all within the “confines” of the pandemic.
So what can you be doing now? If you’re currently feeling the weight of lockdown and want to be doing something towards changing your situation, what actions can you take?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Clear some head space
When all around you feels fuzzy, with so much to juggle, take in and digest, and then with the extra addition of homeschooling, it can be difficult to focus. Clear some mental head space to make way for some more focused thought.
Carve out 10-15 minutes in your day, wherever posible to journal, meditate, visualise, walk – whatever works for you. Basically spend some time with yourself (which also means prioritising it as time to think) and start to create the space to let focus come in. I have a great tool that helps you to give some focused thought to your career whenever you want – click here to access it: http://www.jooogarah.com/career-clarity-visualisation/
2. Update your CV
Not necessarily to do anything with it just yet as you may not actually want to move jobs as such. But as a skills audit. Updating your CV is a great exercise in assessing what you’ve got to play with and to see how far you’ve come. It can also do wonders for improving your confidence levels about what you have to offer when you see it all laid out in front of you. And of course if another job then presents itself and you’d like to apply, then you’re good to go so it’s never a wasted exercise.
3. Start doing some research
Address any assumptions you’ve been carrying around with you that may have been stopping you change so far. Things like, “Oh I need to be qualified to do that” or “They just don’t offer part-time positions at that level”. Before you accept it as fact, why not use the time now to actually see if it’s true or not?
I’m always amazed at clients I see who have continued to worked on assumptions which have keep them stuck for years, only to delve a bit deeper when working with me and to realise that those assumptions actually aren’t true once they start to research the facts.
4. Do some self-reflection
Who are you really? What’s important to you? On the surface these seem like huge questions to begin to tackle by yourself, but you can make a start on them to begin to realise what might be driving you, in a couple of simple ways.
Firstly ask yourself, who am I? And then do this simple exercise. It’s actually one I stole from my 8 year old so it really can’t be that hard…
Draw a circle put your name in the centre and then spidergram all the positive words that you can think of that describe yourself. What do you like doing? What do you like to eat/favourite colour etc? Which words best describe you? How would others describe you? See how far you get and see what insights it gives you about your preferences and strengths.
Another simple exercise is to look at your values. These are one word beliefs or attitudes that help us determine what’s important to us. They aren’t tangible, so the test as to whether it’s a value is whether you can physically put it into a wheel barrow and cart it off. A simple values exercise is to ask yourself is “What is important to me in my career?” and then let the values come out on paper in a list. You can delve deeper if you want to, to see what they mean to you.
Once you’ve started to release some of the thoughts that are clogging up your mind, you’re already on the road to career clarity. So often the things that stop us moving forward are all wrapped up inside our head – assumptions, limiting beliefs, thoughts that we choose not to listen to.
Just because everything around you seems to have stopped, it doesn’t mean you have to too, especially when you can continue to keep taking steps to get you closer to what you want. What better way of using your time effectively during lockdown than by unlocking your own mind?
Career and Life Vision Coach
Helping career-focused women aim high, build a fulfilling career and lead a balanced life.
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If you want to make a head start and begin the process of getting clear about your career, download my free Career Clarity Visualisation to get things moving in the right direction: