Transforming your career is not something you can just think about and *poof* it happens. It requires incremental activity over a sustained period of time. The effort required is easy to overlook and discount, especially in our instant gratification culture. As a result, you may find yourself in a repeating cycle. First feeling a sense of unhappiness and pain in your current situation. Next, quickly trying a couple things to fix the situation such as reading an article or book or sending out a resume or two. Then sliding back into complacency and inertia as the immediate discomfort resides, waiting until the next pain spike occurs. Not a formula for systemic transformation!
Truly evolving your professional life from one that feels like it is happening to you to one where you hold the reins requires a diligent approach, building room for intention and action in your regular schedule and routine. Embracing intention requires you to hold the tension of “slowing down to speed up.”
How much time does it take? The reality is that it takes the time you give it. The velocity at which you can move is directly proportional to the amount of time, energy, and focused attention you invest. If your current schedule limits you to an hour or two per week, your transformation may occur at a slower pace. If you are extremely motivated to change your situation as soon as possible, the weekly time allotment may require 5-10 hours or more. The good news is that any amount of time you can carve out on a regular basis is valuable, and better than nothing. The amount of time you spend, and the quality of your attention, determine how long it will take to realize the changes you long for.
An incremental approach can be powerful, with a few hours per week devoted to working on what is important to you, like exercising regularly or eating whole, unprocessed foods. The time and effort you devote to ushering in more of what you want for your professional life is a career-long practice providing long-term benefits. Think of it as a savings account where you make regular deposits over time to grow your wealth – your ongoing investment in cultivating a meaningful career will pay dividends throughout your life.
A best practice is to actually pencil time into your schedule to focus on big picture thinking so that you remember the commitment long after your keenness for making progress has worn off.
A second practice is to get yourself into a situation where you have support and structure to make sure you can accomplish quick wins and build your momentum from week to week, even with all the noise of real life going on around you.
If you sense you need help to establish and hold the space, structure and accountability that living a life of intention requires, consider exploring working with us with a complimentary introductory session. We offer a variety of programs designed to help you reach your goals. Sign up here for a complimentary session to determine which one is right for you.
This article originally appeared on the Merideth Mehlberg Group website.