During my career in corporate America, the term “defining moment” was often used when the impetus for new projects was discussed. Basically, it was the trigger that moved a project from the back burner into the forefront.
In our personal lives, we all have projects that we have postponed. For me, it’s cleaning my closet. Daily I see the closet becoming more cluttered, yet I continue to move things around until one day it takes a considerable amount of time to find what I am looking for.
At that defining moment, I say, “OK enough is enough! I must organize this closet now!”
Far too often, we treat our careers in the same manner. In other words, a defining moment must occur to stimulate action. But should we wait for those moments to accidentally occur or can we create them through planned, systematic evaluation of options?
Evaluating options is no new feat for most of us; we’ve faced choices since high school. “Should I take PE to ensure an easy A or should I be more strategic by taking a meaningful African American History course to learn more about my heritage? “
Recently I attended a workshop entitled “Life Long Learning,” where one of the speakers told the story of a guy who took a class to learn Mandarin (Chinese). During this class, he met another gentleman who ultimately became his customer. Their new relationship resulted in a significant increase in business.
Begin discovering your new options today.
Here are a few quick tips:
Enroll in a class at a local community college or university. Acting on a lifelong dream may create a defining moment. Peruse through the course curriculum and discover your interests.
Read. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Expand your mind to create a defining moment by carving out some time each week to read a nonfiction book or an interesting article. Make it a priority to expand your knowledge base.
Self – Motivate. Extroverts typically get their energy from others, while introverts get their energy from within. Provide your own stimulus to create a defining moment by thinking about what motivates you, then move forward and schedule motivational activities. So, for all of you extroverts, engage with others through conversation, seminars, workshops, etc. For introverts, engage with others, then perform the self-reflection and internally process the event.
Volunteer. One of the easiest ways to try out new options is by volunteering, and the benefits are endless. Helping those in need will allow you to gain and utilize skills that aren’t available in your day-to-day career. You can test drive another occupation without actually leaving your present job. Ultimately, you can determine firsthand if you have the passion and skills to change positions. Identifying and exercising new skills can create a defining moment.
Seek a Mentor. A friend once told me that ideas become reality when you either write it down or you articulate it to another person. A mentor is a great resource to bounce off new ideas and receive invaluable feedback. Sometimes just explaining why something is not done is reason enough to “just do it” and creates a defining moment. Once you articulate an idea or plan, the mentor becomes your accountability partner. Funny how that works.
I’ll offer more ideas next time about how to get you Out of the Box.
Della B. Cauley, president of Best Innovative Consulting Inc. in Charlotte, specializes in career counseling and executive coaching. Visit her Web site at www.bestinnovativeconsulting.com.