Setting Your Compass: reflect, reach out and review
(*There is a Free Download Pack at the bottom of this article)
Time for a new career but you don’t know what?
“Have I got it right?” you ask yourself.
“Should I still be doing what I’m doing?”
“Is it still what I want? Am I still who I was? Does there need to be so much traffic/commuting, grey skies and stress in my life? Is there another way?”
The questions stump you.
At some point you bring up the conversation over dinner. You talk about wanting more balance in your life. How can you have more of the good things, more of the important things, more family and friends? Is it just a case of asking for more holidays? Would that do? Maybe it will. But you know that it won’t.
Something’s amiss. It’s been so for a while. But you’ve been so busy IN your life, making it happen and following through on your multiple responsibilities, you barely have time to register the faint whisper – is this it?
Every year it’s the same. Every holiday the questions come. You resolve to do things differently when you return. Inevitably, you slide back into your life, put the questions to the back of your mind and busy yourself with things that you tell yourself are important.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s time to scratch beneath the surface of the discontent.
The reason why the questions don’t get answered isn’t because you don’t try, it’s because the questions are too big, too overwhelming.
Start with where you are, but more importantly start with who you are.
It’s time to change the question to the most accessing one of all: Who am I?
This is your vantage point.
From here you will be able to see for miles.
Not just who am I, but who am I now? Because you’ve evolved, grown, changed and so has what you need to be fulfilled. Maybe it’s more, maybe it’s less, probably it’s just different.
Where’s this going you’re asking yourself? Is she going to suggest therapy or coaching? No I’m not, although they’re also options.
I want to give you some tools that you can actually use WHILE STILL ON YOUR HOLIDAY or at least while you’re still in the moment of wanting to answer the questions. Let’s break the cycle, let’s send you home from the beach with some answers not just the same questions! You will find a FREE DOWNLOAD PACK with exercises at the bottom of the article!
So, where do we start?
There are many tools, techniques and exercises that we can use, but without speaking to you personally it’s impossible to know exactly what you need. So I’ve handpicked 3 tools which will be useful for anyone in this headspace. They require you to reflect, reach out and review. Together, I call them the Setting Your Compass- download pack.
Tool 1: The Wheel of Life
To begin with and before we go under the surface, let’s go up above. Let’s get a helicopter view of your life. One of the most powerful yet simple tools I start every coaching journey with is the Wheel of Life. It will give you a snapshot view of where you are and where you want to be. It takes about 5-10 mins to do – you can download it (just click the download button on the bottom of the article). Use it to identify which areas of life you need to focus on and where you need to place your energy. But also use it to predict what will happen when you reach your goal.
This will help you set your compass. It’s called the Wheel of Life and it’s the first exercise in the Setting Your Compass download pack.
Next we’ve got to find your foundations. Buildings have blueprints so you can see the layout, where the doors are, where the walls are, and if you’re in a Bruce Willis movie, where the secret passageways are! Just like buildings have blueprints I believe people do too, we have a “YouPrint,” if you like. When you uncover yours it makes answering the big questions in your life infinitely easier. There are 2 key aspects to your YouPrint that are fundamentals in unlocking the answer to the question – what next?
Your strengths and your values.
Tool 2: 6 Questions
Now, your strengths may seem like an obvious one, but the truth is that we’re not very good at knowing our strengths. We have a vague idea, but we’re much better and knowing our faults, what’s wrong with us, what we wish we could change. Well this exercise is unique because it doesn’t ask you what your strengths are (because we know you’d be too modest for it to be helpful). Instead, we turn to the people in your life and simply asking them 6 short questions. We’ve made this really easy for you by creating a ‘swipe file’ that you can literally copy and paste to send to at least 10 people in your life. I recommend that you choose a variety of people from your past, your present, from work, friends and family. Mix it up and get a range of opinions. The rest of the instructions are in the download pack Setting Your Compass.
Tool 3: Identifying your Core Values
Finally are our Values. Most people think they know their values, but the majority don’t. They know what they value, but that’s different, you may want to be a certain way….
When you quit any job or relationship in your life 9 out of 10 times it will be because there is an incongruence with your values.
Your values being met (or not) are a massive contributor to your general sense of happiness and satisfaction in life.
You may not always know when a value isn’t being met (because most of us don’t think on those terms and why would you!) but you can certainly feel it. You feel uncomfortable, uneasy, it feels like something is wrong.
Let’s take one of our clients, Liz, for example. She had a great idea for a new service in the tech world, so she wanted to quit her job and start a small business. When we did her values work together it became apparent that security was a very strong value for her. Being an entrepreneur and having security as a core value don’t always go hand in hand. It doesn’t mean they can’t, but they’re not natural bed-fellows like say entrepreneur & creativity.
This allowed us the chance to prepare Liz for the inevitable tension she would feel between the 2 need/wants. This doesn’t mean that Liz couldn’t follow her plans, it just meant she had to prepare in a different way to take into account her values. You don’t have to have all your values met by your work, but it’s important to get them all met somewhere. After some discussion it was clear that security meant money for Liz (it’s always important to dig further to find the definition as it’s different depending on who you talk to e.g. for many people security is love). Knowing this allowed us to be able to work out how much money Liz needed to save before feeling ‘secure’ enough to leave her job. It also informed her business plans as she was able to work out how much ‘security’ she needed to generate in year 1, 2 and so on.
When you know your values you are at a significant advantage when determining your next career move (or indeed even your next relationship it’s important you share similar values with the person you share your life with, otherwise the relationship will be short lived)
You can use your values as a filter for potential promotions or new job offers. If the majority of your values aren’t being met through the job you can save yourself a year or two of finding out the long way.
Ever known people who quit their job every 1-2yrs? For sure they’re just caught in a loop making the same mistake. I can guess that one of their values might be variety or even autonomy. Knowing your values can help you break the unhelpful patterns in your life. I have a card game called Values Poker I like to get my clients to play. But since you can’t download a deck of cards I have a simple exercise which will get you to the same end point.
So here you have it, 3 exercises to help set your compass and unlock those big questions you have. Let me know how you get on!