BAN THE WORD SHOULD FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
There must have been something in the air last week. I was speaking with a colleague on the phone and he sounded rather flat, like the spring was missing from his step so to speak. When I asked him about it, he told me that lately he had begun to question his career and why he was doing what he does. Only a few hours later, I was speaking with another colleague who also told me that he just wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do with his career from this point on. Now, both of my colleagues have been in their respective careers for quite a considerable period of time, they are exceptionally good at what they do and they have good reputations in their industries. I decided to offer them some input by reminding them that it’s actually okay from time to time to question why we do what we do. Taking the time to remind ourselves of the value of our work and the rewards that we obtain from it is truly a healthy way to maintain incentive and motivation for what we do in life.
One of my colleagues said to me that he knew what he “should” be doing and that he should just get on and do what had to be done. This reminded me of how much I hated the word should.When I have clients say to me that they should be doing this or they should be doing that, I always pose the question, “Who says so?” So who is it that says that we should do this or that? I always encourage my clients to take the view that we either do something or we don’t. And we do it because there is a reason for it, because it is part of a plan or because it’s something spontaneous, but attaching the word should to what we do for a living turns a career, profession or enjoyable employment into a task or a chore. So think about banning the word should from your vocabulary, particularly if you are looking to maintain motivation for what you are doing. Viewing what you do as something you really should do as opposed to something you want to do is a surefire way to take the motivation, incentive and quite possibly even the enjoyment out of what you are doing.
As for the questioning of where you want to be, comments like that always remind me of a song from the nineties known as the Sunscreen Song. I love the lyrics from that song and have often used them with my teenage children as they were trying to work out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. The song is actually called Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen and I think it was written by Mary Schmich. The song in fact started as a newspaper column and was turned into a narrative song by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann and the line I always love from it is this: “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.”
Planning is always good and I encourage my clients to have a plan for the development of their business, to develop a timeline and to plan ahead. But it’s also very important to remember that plans don’t have to be cast in stone. The very best plan should always leave the option open to keep an eye out for opportunities. Look at your dreams, set your goals, develop your plan and move toward it. It is what we at Red Monkey Coaching help our clients to do and it’s what we love doing, but we always remind them to keep an eye out for other opportunities that come along the way, whether they decide to take them up or not.
Questioning where you are now and where you want to be is a great way of simply reassessing the plan and re-examining your goals, and once you’ve done that and decided your goals are still fine then you can get back on track and keep heading in the direction that you seek.
I’m pleased to say that both of my colleagues took the time to do exactly that. They assessed where they were at, decided that their goals were still the same and jumped straight back into the plan. Reviewing your progress and reassessing your aims and strategies is an invaluable part of the goal-setting and planning process so make sure that you take time out of your schedule to do it. Oh and trust me on the sunscreen!