Crafting a Sustainable Career
Are You the Pilot of Your Own Career?

When You Can't Change What You Do, 3 Steps to Change How You Do It



I'm aware that for many people, a job change just isn't in the cards right now. They know that they are unhappy--or at least restless--but for a variety of reasons, changing jobs or changing careers just can't happen for awhile. 

This is OK. In fact, it can be a good thing. Your current job can be the home base from which you experiment with some new possibilities. You just have to move yourself into experimental mode. 

3 Steps For Change

1. Start by working with more intention--pay attention to where you feel positive energy in your work. 

What activities do you most enjoy doing? Who are the people who energize and inspire you? Where do you feel like you are really leveraging your strengths and being the most authentic and effective? 

I suggest logging these experiences for a week or two. Take a few minutes a few times throughout your day to note the energy of what's going on. Consider:

  • What have I been doing? What activities have you been engaged in? 
  • How do I feel about it? Note particularly the things you do that leave you feeling energized, interested and really "present" in your work. These may be things you want more of. 
  • Who am I doing it with? See if there's something about the people you are working with or the conversations you are having that feels energizing to you. Or are you doing things alone? What does that tell you? 

2. Write it down.

You will be tempted to just think about these things, but I promise you that you will get more from the exercise if you keep a written log. You will be able to go back through your notes to find patterns and ideas in a way that just won't happen without the written information. 

3. Follow the energy of More and find ways to change how you're working

As you begin to see more clearly what gives you energy and inspiration at work, you can begin to look for opportunities to pursue those activities and experiences more intentionally. 

Start with thinking about what you want MORE of at work. What relationships do you want more of? What conversations, experiences and activities do you want to have happen more often? How can you structure your day to encourage these? 

For example, one of the participants in last year's Career Clarity Camp identified that having more meaningful, authentic conversations with colleagues and co-workers gave him a lot of satisfaction. So each morning, he looked at the day's schedule and spent some time thinking about what he could do to have more meaningful discussions with the people he would be talking to that day. What questions could he ask that would invite more engagement? How could he create safe space for people to be more authentic? 

As he became more intentional about planning for what he most enjoyed, he found that he was more inspired and engaged than he'd been before. The tasks of his job hadn't changed. What had changed was the energy and intention he brought to the work. He changed HOW he worked and that began to create new enthusiasm for the work. 

Other ways to re-energize yourself for a job that can't change right now include:

  • Connecting with like-minded peers. Create a mastermind group for yourself, working with others who want to explore and expand their opportunities. Maybe you can work on some group projects together or support each other in finding ways to expand at work. Remember, these don't have to be people who work with you. There can be great benefit to connecting with people online who or who work other places. 
  • Experimenting with asking and reflecting on more positive questions. Often we begin to lose steam with our jobs because we are so mired in the day-to-day problems and negativity that can take over so much of our work lives. Reframing and approaching your work experiences from a more positive standpoint can help you begin to find new energy. 
  • Turning the job you have into the job you want. You may, in fact, have more flexibility to change your job than you think. This post on job crafting has some excellent advice on how to turn the job you have into the job you want. This could be a great discussion to have with your mastermind group. 

The ultimate goal here is to reframe your relationship to your work--finding ways to create within your existing job more of what you want to experience, as well as using your current position as a home base from which to further learn and develop. 

You can have a surprising amount of control over your current job if you choose to exercise it. The trick is in how you approach your situation, letting go of those things you can't control and putting your time, energy and focus into those things you can change. 


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Great suggestions! I plan to share this with my network.

Glad these help, Julie--I'd love to hear about which strategies work best for people!

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