Ways to create your roadmap for change
This question is right up there with other universal questions, like, what happens when I die? When should I retire? And like all good universal questions, the answer is likely, “it depends.” It depends on what you believe and what you value. Or, in some cases, on whether or not you have the means, say to retire, or to move somewhere else.
With the Great Resignation, more and more people are asking themselves this exact question, whether to stay or leave, their jobs, relationships, even their homes, and cities or states. This question provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on your individual values and purpose, and whether or not your current situation is allowing you to live out and realize your purpose. It also allows you to imagine a different future, if indeed, you decide you’d like one. In doing this work, you can then create a roadmap for change.
Step 1: Your Values
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Most of us go to our graves with our music still playing inside us, unplayed.” Before making your list of job pros and cons, take this opportunity to ask yourself some more expansive questions: Does your current situation allow you to play your own music, to your unique tune, and realize the promises and commitments you might have made to yourself, your relationships, your job or organization?
Doing the following values exercise will help you get started and create a backdrop for decision-making. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, for at least an hour. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for five minutes. Then, in your favorite journal, if you have one (if not, now is a good time to get one), reflect on and answer these questions:
- List the five values that are the most important to you in your life, those values that you live out every day.
- List the five most important people in your life.
- List five events that have been most important to you.
- List five problems or issues, in your neighborhood, community, or the world, that you would most like to address or solve.
- List five times or places when you felt the most at home, the happiest, or at your best.
Once you have this higher-level framing, consider your current situation, and determine, to what extent, you are living into this backdrop. Is your situation in alignment with your values? Are you able to care effectively for your most important people? Do you have time and space to address issues that are important to you? Do you feel at home where you are?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you might just be bored and need a greater challenge. Many people leave great jobs that are in alignment with their values because they just need something more. Take the time to think through whether you could do more while staying in your current position. You might take on additional responsibility, learn something new, or more fully engage in your local community.
If you’re a product manager, consider adjacent product lines, and conduct a research study on where you could drive more growth, for example. If you love being an expert, think about how you can extend your voice through a unique perspective on social media. If you love animals, contact your local humane society and volunteer. If you want to spend your retirement traveling but can’t, or aren’t ready to quit yet, start a travel research journal, noting and doing research on all of the places you’d like to visit and things you’d like to do.
Step 2: Your Imagined Future
If the answer to your value questions is no, then it might be time to make a change and reimagine a different future. Many ask whether or not they can afford to make a change. While this is a critical and practical question, it inevitably keeps us well-seated in our current positions or situations. Instead, imagine what you would rather be doing instead of what you’re doing today. Set the practicalities aside for this exercise, and think through the things you’d like to do, if you could do anything, and if money were no object.
Find another hour and your journal, and respond to this question: if I could have or improve anything, or if I could stop doing anything, in each of these areas, what would that be?
- Family (More quality time, clearer guidelines, more time in nature?)
- Career (Greater flexibility, more challenging work?)
- Self-expression (A stronger voice, more opportunities for creativity?)
- Money (Better budget, less worry?)
- Relationships (More time with friends, greater trust, more intimacy?)
- Body (Better workout schedule, healthier diet, more sleep?)
Next, prioritize the areas where you would most like to make a change or start a new practice. Some people find it very helpful to create a “vision board” where you can visually represent, in drawings, pictures from the web or magazines, poems or quotes, the future that you see on your horizon.
Step 3: A Roadmap for Change
Next you need a roadmap. You can't do everything at once, nor should you. Charles Duhigg, in his book, The Power of Habit, describes focusing on "keystone habits":
If you focus on changing or cultivating keystone habits, you can cause widespread shifts...Detecting keystone habits means searching out certain characteristics...They help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.
So, what is the most important thing for you to do or change first? If you decide you need to find a new job, or move to a new city, you can prioritize around that. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What change would you like to make?
2. When would you like to make the change?
3. What will you need to do make the change, and who will support you?
4. What do you need from others?
5. What roadblocks do you anticipate?
If your most important change is to find a new job, you may decide to make gradual changes. If, for example, you want to quit your well-paying job for a Fortune 500 company to work for a non-profit in Africa, but you can't sustain your mortgage, consider what can you do today to begin planning for this future state. You might think through how to reduce your possessions, rent out your house, research non-profits, consider a short-term leave to work for an NGO, or do non-profit work on the side.
If you just want more flexibility so that you can spend more time with family, but you love what you're doing, try to figure out if your company is willing to support remote work, and for how many days per week or month. If you want more leadership opportunities because this is how you'll make a greater impact in the world, and you don't see an upward path where you are, it's time to start looking to other organizations or to other companies.
Most importantly, don't stay to stay. Many of us do this because it's easy, comfortable, and change is hard. Consider change as an opportunity to do re-examine your values, try something new, learn a new skill, and more fully realize the purpose for your existence in this universe.
Blue Glass Company specifically works with individuals to help in this important decision-making process. Make it easier on yourself by contacting us at https://blueglasscompany.com/contact/ today for a free consultation.