I have had a wonderful year of self-reflection. In looking back on my career, I have always made some type of career transition in the Spring. It's appropriate that I am writing this on the first full day of the season (our meteorologists made sure to clarify that Spring officially started at 11a MDT yesterday!).
Recently I purchased the book Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0. It has changed the way I look at myself. For the past 10+ years, I have primarily seen myself as the co-owner of Data-Scribe. Now, there's nothing wrong with this. It's just that my professional identity has BEEN this instead of having it be a PART of it. This book has helped me to define myself in a new way. You can see some of this reflected in my LinkedIn profile. For instance, I've added this blog and my food blog to my current positions and I've rebranded myself as an information professional, which ties in all of my skills. (NOTE: Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn as I am eager to grow my network!)
The past few weeks have been great. You may have noticed that I haven't been writing on my blog or interacting on Facebook or Twitter very much lately. Here's why.
During the summer, we usually experience a lull in our Web development business. Everything is pretty much status quo except for an occasional small project or support request. As we approach August, new projects tend to pick up. This summer has been no different.
I have experienced one significant change in the writing side of our business. We have always offered technical writing and content development services, but for the past 3 years the Web part has taken precedence. We were fortunate enough to get a contract to develop a business school curriculum. Sweet! (Thanks to Peri Pakroo for the referral!) I really feel like this connection was no accident. The Universe re-aligned me and I am feeling thankful.
You see, it wasn't too long ago that I remember telling my husband how much I missed writing. Sure, you'll find that I've had a chance to develop content for our business whether it be for our blogs, newsletters, or Web site. However, there's just something different about doing the work for someone else and helping them reach a goal. I've always enjoyed writing and felt like a piece of me was missing from our business since my focus was diverted to more technical matters.
Since I tend to take on the bulk of the writing work, I have had to shift my schedule and delegate responsibilities differently. The perfectionist side of me tends to come out right around this time. I have to trust that the work that I normally do is being taken care of. So, long story short, I also feel thankful because of the great team of people I work with (including my husband, of course). Things are just clicking and I haven't had to stress about it.
My Spirit is driving and I am enjoying the scenery!
As I mentioned in my last post, I had some insights about actual driving and Spirit Driving while on my recent roadtrip. This first one cracks me up.
When we're driving, my husband likes using the cruise control once we're on a nice stretch of highway without a lot of traffic. He always encourages me to do the same. I've used it a few times, but something about it makes me feel out of control. I always worry that I'm going to have to change lanes or slow down suddenly and that I'm going to forget which button to press.
My husband will say, "Don't worry. You know how to do it. Hold down this button to slow down and this one to speed up." Inevitably, when the time comes when I need to accelerate or decelerate, I get flustered and decide to stomp on the gas or the brake. It still accomplishes the same task, but defeats the purpose of cruise control. Then, I tell my husband, "See, I told you I would forget."
The reason this cracks me up so much is that our little exchange about driving is very similar to the way we converse about goals. It's very hard for me to just go with the flow. I'm always trying to plan ahead and anticipate the next step. I feel that I can only get ahead if I'm in control and don't have some outside force guiding me.
But, guess what? There are outside forces that guide all of us. They aren't steering for us, but they do help us to move forward. It might not be at the speed that we want. And it might not be exactly the way that we envisioned. Nevertheless, it's going to happen. And we can't completely control it. Yes, even the author of Driving to Success has to remind herself of this sometimes.
No matter how in control you feel when it comes to your goals, no amount of planning can guarantee "success". I put that in quotes because success defined in this way means getting what YOU want. If you've read my book, you'll know that that isn't the true definition of success. When your Spirit is driving, what you get in the end might look quite different from what you envisioned. But it is exactly where you needed to be.
While in Denver on vacation, I drove past my old graduate school and had a bit of a flashback. I remember going to the lab sometimes late at night and checking on an experiment. I would imagine the day when I would be a professor and have my own lab. Had I continued on that path, I would probably be finishing my postdoc or starting my first job in academia right about now. My goals revolved around that. I hadn't thought about having a family or having my own business in a completely different field.
Don't get me wrong. It's not that I've completely denounced that scientific part of myself. Sometimes I reminisce about my days doing experiments in the lab. I still have plans to incorporate that in my professional life, but in a different way. My Spirit has driven me elsewhere and I'm better for it.
We've all had to deal with situations where we didn't get the praise we were expecting. Whether you have a high position in a company or own a business, it's still nice to get recognition.
As a Web developer, I hear about the things that are wrong more than the things that are right. Usually the negative feedback comes soon after a time when I've been working long hours to solve a problem or meet a deadline. It just comes with the territory. But how do you deal with the feedback and feel some sense of self-worth in your job?
I've found that it's dangerous to put your sense of self-worth in someone else's hands. Do you start to feel horrible when you don't get the "thank you" that you were expecting? That's a tell-tale sign that your Personality is waiting for praise from someone else.
Once your Spirit is in the driver's seat, you will look at the other person's comments differently. A friend of mine has the perfect internal response to negative feedback: "Thanks for the contrast." Try saying this to yourself when you don't get the praise you were expecting. Then, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back to acknowledge the good work you've done.
Your accomplishment is important because it might:
- Teach you something in an indirect way
- Help you solve a future problem more quickly
- Present a challenge that your Personality needed to conquer (with help from your Spirit, of course)
Any other thoughts on spiritual responses to negative feedback on the job?
This blog title probably goes against all that you would expect to see on a site about success. Let me explain.
We all go through it. The high of the promise of a new year. We begin telling ourselves, "It's time to turn over a new leaf", "Everything's going to be better this year", and "I'm definitely going to make some changes". It sounds so easy on January 1st.
We're almost two weeks into the New Year. So, this is about the time when you figure out if their New Year's resolutions are going to stick. There is a theory that you have to do something for 21 days straight to make it a habit. Today, we're a little over the halfway point.
This might be the time when you run into a challenge that makes you almost slip back into your old ways. In the last blog posting, I suggested that you Let Your Spirit Take a Spin in 2010. I was referring to letting your Spirit drive in your professional life. If you took me up on that suggestion, now is about the time when you realize something interesting about yourself and all humans: it's just easier to let your Personality drive.
When your Personality is driving, you don't have to worry about looking at the bigger picture of a situation. You can let your feelings out in whatever way you want. You also can make decisions without needing to reflect on them. Sounds a lot easier, doesn't it?
Well, it is for the short term. You'll find that if you continue to let your Personality drive, you won't get the success results that you're expecting. You'll struggle to get where you want to go.
Letting your Spirit drive isn't actually hard, it just takes more of a conscious effort. Eventually, with practice, it will seem effortless.
Here's to going beyond New Year's resolutions and letting your Spirit drive year-round!
We're kicking off the New Year with some low-cost, introductory 1-hour Webinars based on the concepts from Leila's forthcoming book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel.
Thu, Jan 21, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MST
Thu, Feb 18, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MST
Thu, Mar 18, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Apr 15, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, May 20, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Jun 17, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Jul 15, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Aug 19, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Sep 16, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Thu, Oct 21, 2010 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Each Webinar is led by Leila Johnson and costs $10. You can register online and pay via PayPal.
We'll schedule our 3-part series of Webinars starting in Spring 2010.