I’m a fairly patient person when it comes to everyday matters. I’m content to wait in line (and daydream) at the coffee shop, post office, and the grocery store (even when the person in front of me is having a coupon crisis). Unfortunately, I’m less patient when it comes to larger matters: Will I get to move back to the west coast eventually? Will my fiancé ever become tenure-track? (At a university he really likes?) How long until I master a flawless winged liner? (Just kidding … Sorta.)
And also—What will my ultimate career be? And will I have an “ultimate” career?
Recently, I’ve shared how confusing (yet formative) the process of finding my career purpose has been. Perhaps to my detriment, I’ve been focused on the idea of having a single, clear career purpose to which I could devote my whole working self. While this thought hasn’t vanished completely, I do realize that it’s probably informed by a more traditional concept of a career—one that, in my mind, is more stable, more routine, but, admittedly, less flexible.
As a part-time blogger, part-time teacher, part-time writing consultant, and social media dabbler, my “career” is less defined (and kind of complicated to explain to relatives), but I’m starting to understand that hard and fast boundaries aren’t the Be-All-End-All. And a lack of them doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t dive right in and give everything my all. Deep down, I know that if I work hard and open my self to professional growth, answers will find their way to me in their own time. I just need to be patient and commit to where I am right now.
The following are a few ways that anyone can commit or recommit to her career–whatever that may be at the moment!
1. Establish productive routines. Whether or not they’re directly related to your current or dream career, getting into healthy routines can aid your professional growth. For example, committing to a daily exercise regimen, like 20 minutes of yoga each morning, can relieve stress, improve immunity, and boost your self-confidence, putting you in a better frame of mind for any challenges that come your way. Also, you may want to incorporate career-related routines that will help you stay current in your field while providing nuggets of inspiration to keep you creative and excited. For example, why not commit to reading a few articles a week from a trusted blog related to your field or challenge yourself to reach out to another person in your field at least once a week?
2. Take things one day at a time. Dreams of the future are absolutely necessary. They can help get us up in morning and push through the grittiest of times. Focusing solely on the future, however, can leave us dissatisfied with the present. Moreover, if we get to thinking about everything we must accomplish in order to reach a certain goal, we can feel overwhelmed and anxious. I know I do sometimes. Giving the majority of your focus to what you can accomplish today can allay that anxiety. Try assigning yourself three major things to get done a day. Focus on one goal at a time (multitasking can really wig us out). If it helps, create a daily or weekly schedule to keep you organized and on task.
3. Get out of the placeholder mentality. While we’re on the topic of staying in the present, try to avoid viewing your current career (and life) situation as a mere placeholder. It’s easy for me to think: Well, once I get to this point, then my real career/life will begin. But my real life (and yours) is now! Make the present moment as rich as possible. Indulge in the aspects of you current career that you really love. Teach yourself more about these areas and others to build your talents. While you’re at it, own your work. Give your heart to the work your doing now—even if it’s not quite what you want to do for the long term. Commit to creating something you’re proud to attach your name to. This can do wonders for reframing your mentality about the present—plus, this invaluable habit will serve your wherever your career takes you.
How do you plan on re-committing to your career in 2015?
Also on Career: 5 Tips to Working from Home
Photo: brandyusa.tumblr.com; Sario Re via Flickr