Do I have a choice to leave my job?

PrintRather than regurgitate the points made in the article, I’d like to focus on the point he made almost off-handedly at the very end of the article.

“Assuming, of course, that you have a choice.”

That should probably be point 5 in this article, and it begs for further exploration. Our inertia and utter paralysis often comes about because we feel like we are stuck, we don’t have the right to make a choice that supports us, or we have responsibilities that make such a choice impossible to make.

I will try not to make this a shameless plug for the value of working with a coach.  But the common denominator of everyone who comes to coaching is this:  they feel stuck about something and they want a different future.  By being willing to work on feeling unstuck, they start to see the choices available to them.

I do think, obviously, that a professionally trained coach offers something above and beyond talking to a friend, family member or trusted colleague.  There’s the objectivity; the bias we have toward your greatness and ultimate success; the accountability; the training we receive to engage in provocative conversations and activities that open up your brain to new ways of thinking. There’s all that.

But if you don’t want to go to the trouble of hiring a coach, then try this:  ask yourself these questions, “How can my future be different? What do I want that future to look like? How can I bring this about in my life? What would be the first steps I would need to take to move toward this goal?”  Make sure to write down your answers and, for good measure, read them out loud once you’re done.

I am a big fan of my gigantic whiteboard (4 foot by 6 foot, seriously! I went to Lowe’s and bought this special wall paneling – maybe melamine?).  You could have another person Drew teaching at whiteboardwrite down your thoughts and later help you make sense of it all. A trick I use at the end of a coaching session is to have my client stand up in front of the whiteboard and ask themselves, “What else is there that I haven’t captured yet? Is there more? What is the most important thing I need to see here to move me forward?”

From here, you can start to develop a plan to follow to create your brilliant future.  Break this plan down into manageable baby steps.  Ask your friend to nag you about your progress on completing these steps. (Okay, I admit it. Here I start to get heavy-handed on the idea of why working with a coach is better than working with a friend.)

Saying you don’t have a choice is the same as saying you are stuck. And you really don’t have to feel stuck.  You always have a choice.  You just need to clearly understand all the possibilities and opportunities available to you for consideration.

Does this process ensure you will get your dream job outside of your current company? No, it doesn’t.  It does guarantee that you will look at your situation differently and you will try new things.  Something we coaches call “ecological questioning” is simply about checking in with our clients and asking if a goal is realistic. If you have an elderly parent and it’s important for you to stay in the same city to provide support, then that is a factor you will have to consider.  If you make $60,000 a year and are the primary wage earner and have 3 kids to support, then your dream job of becoming a forest ranger and making $22,000 is not, as we say, “ecological.”  But it does mean you will discover other possibilities that fulfill you, and you will be trying something new that will bring passion back to your life. The act of taking action creates excitement and the will to  change.

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So create your fearless choices and work to make them a reality. It is possible. And it will bring you new-found energy and enthusiasm for the life you have – right now.