I know I am overdue a holiday when I stare wistfully at the departure board at the airport and actually imagine that I am boarding a plane for a long haul flight. When the longing for far off adventure includes the tedium of a 24 hour plus journey, I know it is time to pack a suitcase and go somewhere, anywhere, preferably with a passport.
But where to go? Travel junkies now have the choice of websites, blogs, youtube, Discovery channel, online reviews, articles, books via Amazon or abebooks.com or even a good old-fashioned book shop. Every corner in the world is open to our imagination and choice is overwhelming. We make a choice based on someone else’s recommendation or desires, but it is slightly disappointing. Or we read and research so much that we begin to filter out options based on someone else experiences. We don’t know where to go or become too afraid to go anywhere new.
Many clients come to coaching with exactly these feelings and experiences when making decisions about the world of work. Does any of these sound familiar?
· There are so many choices of projects and possibilities that you do not know what to choose or where to focus your attention.
· You are in a role or working on a project that should be great and stimulating – but somehow it does not meet your expectations and you feel let down.
· You have been doing something you used to love, but things have changed and now it no longer satisfies you.
· You would love to do something new, but am afraid to give up the comfort of what you have to try something different.
· You would go anywhere, do anything as long as it’s not turn up to the office tomorrow.
A great travel experience is often not about the planning, the expense or even the destination. It is about having the experience match your needs at the time. A yoga retreat in Bali is not going to satisfy you if you crave the decadent thrills of Las Vegas. Just as kayaking down the Mekong River is going to just stress you out if you really want to be pampered in a Pacific Island resort. You may want to do all of these things, but not all at once and not at the same time.
The same can be said for career choices. You may want to be a CEO in your 30s but want the freedom to write a novel in your 40s. You may want an interesting role with a certain amount of security whilst you are raising children and buying a home, but are willing to go without that for the risks of your own business in your 20s or even your 50s and 60s. You may have trained as an accountant but become fascinated by filmmaking. Or the other way around. You may never be comfortable in a customer service or sales role, just as you would never want to camp in the Blue Mountains.
A great career will not always meet every want, need or desire all the time, but you are more likely to feel satisfied if it meets some of your most priority needs and values for that time of your life. Knowing your values and needs allows you to make more powerful choices.
Of course most of us do not change jobs as often as we go on holiday, but if you know what your needs and values are you may be able to get more of those met and expressed, even in your current role. If you need solitude, you may be able to negotiate to work from home. If you crave company, you can volunteer for a new project or team. If you need to expand your horizons you can try pro-bono work for a charity or arts company. The key is knowing and acknowledging your own wants and needs, and how to have them met.
That way on your next holiday you will be cycling in France, shopping in New York, or spending time with friends and family at your favourite beach get away. Whatever works best for you.
You can read more about how your career wants and needs change and develop in the Albany Lane white paper: the Leadership Life Cycle at http://albanylane.com.au/leadership-lifecycle/
Next week – how to gather your resources to support you through change.