Do you feel like you are stuck in a box? Doing the same thing each and every day. Maybe you lost your job, have gone through some changes in life or just feel like you are in a rut and can't get out. What ever the reason, feeling stuck is one of the worst feelings. For me, that came when I lost my job twice in one year (yes, one year) due to downsizing. This was a bit of a shock as I had been working since I was 13. I dreaded the feeling of being stuck and made it my goal to figure out ways to stop myself from feeling that way again.
At the beginning of 2019, we were told our positions were being eliminated and I had agreed to stay until our last case was resolved, which was going to be the end of May. Why did I do that? I thought it would be nice to have the summer off and enjoy my grand daughters. Instead, the summer ended up to be a lot of work instead of fun. There were projects to be done and life took a few unexpected turns. Regardless, I felt like the time off served a purpose. The second time around, I worked for 6 months, and when COVID hit, I found myself jobless....again. I won't deny, this time it hit a little harder than the first time.
After about a month, I decided that it was time to take a look at this second "jobless" state I was in and figure out what lessons I had learned. This is where the Dive in stage came in. Dive in? What does that mean? It means to take inventory of the skills acquired and which ones to focus on. For me, that meant I had to look at it as a learning opportunity and not as a "feel sorry for myself" moment. It meant reviewing my position, analyzing my skills and what improvements could be made. The first skill that I identified I needed to work on was my consulting skills. Consulting was a role in which I provided information on how to do something in the most efficient way along with meeting the client's needs. Was I confident in the information I provided? Did I explain the information clearly to the client? How could I improve my consulting skills and show more confidence? Once I answered those questions, I did some research and found courses to assist in my consulting skills. Sounds easy, right? Doing a dive in on ourselves isn't always easy. It can be hard to be honest when it comes to self improvement. A benefit of diving in on myself is that I learned that I had many interests and a want to continuously learn.
Call to Action to Dive in: When you find yourself in a similar position, either personal or profession, dive in by making yourself accountable for taking a step towards making a change. Doing so will ultimately help you work toward each step in making the change you aspire to. To dive in and analyze your skills and figure out how to move forward, I have some tips that could help you be successful.
Write what skills you have acquired throughout the years - Sit back and take inventory of the skills you know you have and brainstorm how you can refine those skills.
Decide which skills you would like to prioritize - Of all the skills you have, decide which ones you would like to enhance that would put you closer to your goal of making a change.
Create a checklist to keep you accountable - After prioritizing the skills you will be moving forward with, begin to write your checklist based on your previous brainstorming. The list will keep you accountable. Keep in mind this is a fluid checklist that will transform over time.
Once you dive in, the next step is to Develop those skills. After I came up with the top skills I wanted to learn, I did research on where I could develop these skills. Since I wanted to develop both personally and professionally, I decided to look at individual courses instead of a Degree course. Two learning platforms caught my eye because they were well-known and approved in my previous job; UDEMY and Centre of Excellence. Both of these learning platforms were for different levels and met different adult learning strategies. I signed up for 5 different certificate courses and started working on them immediately.
Call to Action for Developing: Developing these skills can be challenging because of time commitment, making sure you are getting the correct level you need and giving yourself a deadline to finish. To make it easier and hold yourself accountable, there are a few steps you could take.
Research learning opportunities - With the ever evolving technology, it is easy to find different learning platforms which can help you reach the goals you've identified. A benefit of today's technology is that you can learn new skills from virtually anywhere. This can help you balance your day to day life and can speak to your specific learning needs.
Do what is best for you, for your schedule and your family - Be sure to focus on your needs and how your journey will affect your every day life. Do not neglect your daily being because of your new found journey, but include your journey as part of you and your life.
Get a mentor or talk to someone that has been through a similar situation - Speaking to someone unbiased helps in any situation. They can give you insight into things that you may not have thought of and provide guidance on others that you feel you may fall short on. Not only can they help with advice, but speaking to others who have gone through a similar journey can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Update your checklist to add the Develop stage and hold yourself accountable - Like I said, your checklist is fluid. At every stage, it will be evolving with you.
Being the Change is the final stage. Completing all 5 courses took some time but I was able to polish my existing skills along with learning new ones. My ambitions have always included being organized, assisting others in looking outside the box and helping to problem solve. Completing those courses and focusing on new and existing skills gave me the tools I needed to work toward those ambitions and be the change I wanted to see. It is important to know that each one of us can make a change in the world, whether that is personally or professionally. Many times we don't realize that the skills we learn in our career are skills we can use in our personal life and vice versa. Be the change that needs to happen.
Call to Action for Being the Change: Being the change is up to you and will be different based what you want that change to be. It can be big or small, apparent or not, no matter what it looks like, you are making the effort to make a difference. That is something to be proud of. Now that you're ready to take that step, you need to build the confidence to move forward. There are many paths you can take to achieve the confidence, but here are some tips I have:
Be assertive - Do your homework and take time to understand how your development will impact your personal and professional life.
Utilize your new found confidence that you have worked towards and continue to evolve and be open to adversity.
Volunteer - Be the change that you have been wanting to make. Use this change for good. Help others and in turn you'll help yourself.
These steps are for you, not for anyone else. It is important to remember that you are making changes for yourself and stepping up by taking a look at how you can improve by diving in, developing your skills and knowledge and then making a change. You may change your plan a few times and you may have moments when you don't want to continue with the plan. That is ok - remember, this is for you and when you are ready to pick up that pen again, it is about you!
Remember, regardless of what is happening in your life, you can always turn it around by Diving in, Developing and Being the Change!