By Ryan Grady
So much of life is about getting insights, creating a vision, and then getting enough confidence to take action in moving that vision forward. The last year has really made it tough to reflect on our lives from a place of optimism, confidence, and clarity. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to really move forward in strengthening my vision and reality for my personal health, career, family, and my life in general.
If you find yourself similarly motivated but you are not sure where to start, here are five steps we all can start taking today:
1. Energize: Transitions are difficult for us all. To move through them with grace and a sense of awareness, you need some energy in your tank. Give yourself permission to hang out with friends, exercise, do the things you love and give yourself time to just be with yourself. Figure out what gives you energy and commit time to doing those things. You may feel pressure from yourself or others to do something “productive” but as long as you are doing these things to fill your tank to move yourself forward with purpose, you are being productive. Oh, one more thing, if you have big energy drains in your life, find a way to move back from them.
2. Reflect: Once you have some energy, create a ritual around reflecting on life’s most important questions. What are your strengths, interests, personality characteristics, beliefs, values, mission, goals and visions for tomorrow? Some people like to have these conversations with their personal journal. Others benefit from reflecting their thoughts with a spiritual leader, coach, counselor, or mentor.
3. Prepare for Opportunity: Insights and opportunities are gold in life. How many amazing opportunities pass us by because we aren’t ready to see them or we let ourselves off the hook because we simply aren’t ready? Make sure your resume is up to date and edited by professionals. Have a cover letter template out there that you can work from if any potential opportunity strikes your interest down the road. Know how to tell your story from a place of confidence and self-love. If you have these elements of your “professional portfolio” established, then you’ll be ready and confident to take that first step.
4. Connect: One of the most effective things you can do to gain purpose and direction is talking with others. This can look like conversations around hardships, goals and dreams with trusted loved ones, powerful insight conversations with coaches, or informational interviews with people in fields you are considering for yourself. Do you know of people who do the kind of work you are interested in? Some of my most pivotal professional conversations have been with people whom I never knew but was introduced to by a friend or mentor. Don’t be bashful; get out and start talking your dream into focus and fruition.
5. Take a Risk: It’s really easy to sit on the sidelines of life and not move because you are unsure of where to move. If you have been able to do the first four steps and still find yourself confused, do something. Some of my most important experiences that framed who I am and who I want to be have been the jobs I least enjoyed. Sometimes jobs are helpful in telling us what we don’t want. The key is, if you take a risk, don’t stop doing the first four steps. It’s easy to take a risk, lose energy, stop reflecting, stop preparing, and stop connecting. Don’t take a risk that will overwhelm you and keep you from getting insights into who you are and what you want.
One of my favorite questions is what is one thing you’d be doing right now if you had just a little more courage? Find the answer to that question and start making it happen.