I am putting you on alert. You are not stuck. You are, however, on the hamster wheel of self-doubt and excuses. One of my favorite online coaches is Molesey Crawford of The Queen Code. Her advice was always if you are feeling stuck, it’s because you are not saying yes to something.
How do you get to yes? You have to learn the art of asking the right questions. Asking yourself “why” is not the right question. Asking yourself why do I get pleasure from being a insert your dream job here, i.e. travel writer, personal vegetarian chef, a tour guide for local haunted hot spots. It’s the specifics in the questions that count. The first letter of the S.M.A.R.T. Goal acronym is Specific.
If you pull out your phone or tablet and tap on the Google Map app, you are going to have to type in a destination. The same with your career. If you don’t know the why of what you are doing, then where exactly are you going? I’ve played the game of get the job and see where I can grow in the company. But when I got the position, I realized I didn’t really like the job. I didn’t like the the work. And if I was truthful with myself, I didn’t like the company. I only had a map open, but no destination.
I was just going where the wind took me. Then I felt stuck. My only goal was to provide for my family. As important as that goal is, there was no specifics to it. Besides, what good am I providing financially if I’m not providing emotionally because I am miserable.
If I tell the truth, my goal is not to just only provide for my family. My truth is happiness. You can be happy AND provide for your family.
Here are examples of the questions I used to get on my path:
1. Why do I get pleasure from again, insert dream job here.
- Think about the root of the pleasure you get when you are doing what makes you happy.
For me, the root of my pleasure in writing stems from one particular memory. It was junior high school, PE, an audience of five or six of us walking around the track over a span of three days. I told a story disguised as a dream. My pleasure, or happiness, came from the creativity of my imagination and the range of emotions on my friend’s faces. I wanted to relive that moment over and over.
2. What would it take to live in bliss?
- Sacrifice. Ask, what am I willing to give up to make it happen?
If you have a why, than now you need a plan. Sacrifice looks like giving up time, money, television, rearranging priorities, etc. It requires a plan of action and yes, more questions.
Do I need to take some courses at the local college? is there an online course? Is there some software I need to purchase? Do I need money for a website? A photographer? A copywriter? Will I want to get up earlier in the morning, or stay up later at night?
Of course, these questions will be different based on what your why is. Not all why’s require a website or more schooling. But all why’s require questions and a plan. You are going to have to give up some habits you have on autopilot. That is sacrifice.
Now that you’ve gotten going, knowing your why, written your plan, we have another question.
3. What’s working?
- Revisit your strategy and ask what’s working and what’s not working?
- Refine as needed to stay on course.
Just like in corporate, you have to schedule regular reviews. I still like to stick to the every 90 day plan.
Reviewing taught me that I write better in the afternoon when my teenager is out of the house. It also meant sacrificing spending my lunch hour with coworkers and eating alone so I can write or research.
The point of these questions is to check in and make sure you are aligning yourself with your goals.
The hardest part of all of this? Every day life will happen. It will feel like it’s taking forever. Some days will feel fruitless. Your family will look at you and tell you that you are wasting your time.
Don’t quit! Measure your progress. You are closer than you know. I always remind people that when they look at their mentors and idols, they are seeing the results of the “long, boring, drawn out process” of getting to the end.
Recap: Why do we get pleasure from that one thing?
What would it take to accomplish it?
And finally, what’s working? What’s not working?
Don’t ever stop asking yourself questions.
You are so worth it!