I recently had a Career Planing session @ work with my Manager. Every quarter I meet with my Manager and we talk about my personal goals, my work goals and what training I need to take to achieve my goals.
I’ve always enjoyed this process… well “enjoyed” is the wrong word, I get value of out of the process but it can be overwhelming to try to plan the unknown. I’m a person who has (does) struggle with anxiety so planning for an unknown future can be nerve racking. A great example would be if the “Plan” is that I eventually move into a Management position, not knowing if that’s the best option, not knowing when exactly it’s happening is going to be a problem for me. I can quickly lose sight of the present and start to worry about when the planned future will happen and if it will be exactly like I imagine it to be.
This anxiety actually posed a real problem for me at work a couple of years ago. I had the opportunity to back fill my Manager while she was away on Maternity Leave. I got so anxious about whether or not I would do a good job and what was going to happen to my career when she got back that it actually impacted my health. I gained 12 lbs, I couldn’t sleep and I was drinking more than I was comfortable with. Basically this “opportunity” was taking it’s toll on me and I was counting down the days until my Manager was back. Once she returned to work I thought everything would go back to normal… nope! I went from feeling anxious about the future to feeling resentful about the year that had passed. I felt undervalued as though my internal sacrifices (that no one knew about) were not being acknowledged. I realize now how strange that sounds.
In hindsight this was all my doing, my personal expectations of myself and others were not reasonable. It wasn’t until I began studying to become a Coach through The Newfield Network that I began to unravel my part in all of this internal drama. When I could see the Observer I was and the story I was telling myself I had a sense of clarity about what had happened and what was coming down the road.
I’ve mentioned “The Present Moment” in other posts and this was the big lesson for me. Focus on living the best life I can now and that will influence the future I want.
My career planning sessions have changed these days, and I happy to say for the better. Now the focus is more about the activities I’m doing today. I’m focused on the journey, not the destination. Are there still moments of panic and anxiety about the future? You bet, but those moments don’t define me, they remind me that the Path to Mastery (a topic for another post) is about appreciating every moment along the way.
It’s funny, the less I worry about the future, the more excited I am about it.