The end of the financial year generates a variety of actions for organisations and individuals. As we are mostly a record keeping or scoring beast, much of our actions are around numbers. How much did I/We make; not make; achieve; not achieve; what does the ATO owe us, or what do we owe them. From this quick assessment, we then determine how much we want to change those outcomes next year – granted, we may already have a budget in place, but not always and generally not from an individual perspective. We may also be required to prepare and participate in our annual Performance Appraisal with our Employer.
Reflection and Review are two words that spring to mind for me at this time of year.
I recently came across a great book, “Rethink Your Career in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s”, by Joanna Maxwell, an Australian career trainer, coach and writer. It’s a practical, yet refreshing illustration with several examples from her clients on how and why they changed their careers. As I read through the book it struck me that this time of year lends itself to stepping through some, or all of the exercises outlined in the book. Now I’m not looking to encourage a “rush to the exits”, but it is a good way to reinforce your current career path, or highlight the need for an adjustment in your thinking.
Here is a summary of some of the points listed in the book that might trigger some different thinking.
Time for some reflection. Note down what are your current interests (personally and career); what types of work do you enjoy, or gravitate towards normally? How would you rate your level of Life Satisfaction in some, or all of the following subjects:
• Finances • Work
• Friends • Family
• Community • Health
• Adventures • Creativity
What have been some significant achievements and learnings to this point in your career and life in general? What jobs have you enjoyed the most? Understand that it will most likely be the tasks and interactions with others that will be most obvious when asking yourself this question.
Referring to the previous list, what are your current areas of focus (some, or all of the above)? At what stage are those focus items – early, medium, advanced? Again, regarding the focus items and the stage of development, the gap between where you are and where you would like it to be – is it caused by time, knowledge, or opportunity?
My understanding of the purpose here is to have an honest discussion with yourself around your expectations versus the outcomes. Have you achieved what you were hoping to, or has life/work got in the way? Often when conducting a personal review, we can be either too harsh, or too soft on ourselves and both actions can dilute the outcome of the exercise. So, try and keep your review as factual as possible.
This section is an opportunity to take a broader scan of what lies outside your day to day environment. While you need to be mindful of any personal restrictions, that fit within either, or several of the 5 Functions of work:
1. Financial remuneration – we all have a baseline requirement and we need to understand what that might be. A broader reflection might provide an interesting outcome;
2. Time management – the provision of structure, whatever the format is important;
3. Socialisation – often taken for granted, but you need to be cognisant of what suits you best;
4. Status and Identity – we all want to be successful in life, so what does that look like for you and how would you like to be defined; and
5. Usefulness – we all need a purpose in life and it would be great if this aligns with your individual ability and desire.
During this process, Joanna’s book highlights that it is important to test your thinking by talking to a broad disparate group of people within your network and research information via media that you don’t normally access. If you explore within you existing environment, you will likely come up with limited possibilities.
The pragmatic and practical you needs to step up at this point. Hopefully you will have identified several different possibilities and scenarios that you might consider, so it is important to apply a type of thinking known as AcdB Thinking:
A = Where are we now?
B = Where do we want to be?
c = How will we get there?
d = How do we make this happen?
This section of thinking/planning is all about action and requires considered steps along the path. It will also test your will and that is why you need to be pragmatic.
The thing to remember is that you may have gone through similar steps and processes in business, but when it is all about you, personal feelings and anxieties will be more evident. You will likely need to step through this process more than once, so don’t be disheartened by this, because the end result could be exceptional!
Overall, the book offers a highly readable and instructive process of how to step outside of your current environment and check if things are “still on track”. Well worth a read.