By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM
Are you in a new season in your life? Whether it is the beginning of a new year, a milestone birthday, family changes such as an empty nest, a challenge such as losing your job, or simply being fed up with the status quo in your life, you may find yourself wanting a fresh start. But you may wonder, is it really possible for me to change my life?
Most of us know from personal experience that we are easily sidetracked from making positive life changes. You make a New Year's resolution, and find that by January 3rd it has slipped away and you're back to your old habits. You decide that you are finally going to lose weight, get out of debt, or find a job you love; take some initial steps, but find yourself getting distracted, discouraged and eventually give up. We've all been there, but we just don't want to stay there.
Three Tips for Turning Desires into Accomplishments
1. Banish "magical thinking." Magical thinking means believing that our lives will change without our having to take sustained action. Most of us have dabbled in magical thinking at one time or another. Have any of these thoughts ever crossed your mind?
"If I read this book on (career change, weight loss, financial management), it will change my life."
"If I sign up for this health club membership, I'll finally be slim and physically fit!"
"If I win the lottery, I'll be able to have the life I really want!"
We nurture a hope that some day, some set of circumstances will somehow sweep into our lives from somewhere (you can see that thoughts of this sort are rather vague) and transform our lives-without our having to take any risks or exert ourselves to take action. If you want to lose weight, however, you have to do more than just dream about being slim. If you are in debt and your financial situation is a mess, you have to do more than just worry about the negative balance in your checking account. If you want to discover your vocational calling, you need to do more than just pray about it; you also need to learn how to find it. Without taking the right actions, there can be no real change in our lives.
2. Set goals that energize you. One reason we don't accomplish our goals is that we really don't care enough about the goal to exert much effort. Your motivation to do something needs to be more than feeling you "should" do it. Ask yourself why you want to accomplish something, and keep asking until you come up with a reason that is enough to motivate you to take action.
Each of our career coaching clients who has made a successful career transition found his or her own source of motivation. For some, it is wanting to find the work God has created them uniquely to do; for others, to make a contribution and leave a legacy; to earn more money for their family; to become a leader in their field; to be a positive example to their children; to finally achieve a lifelong dream.
For maximum impact, make your goal statements:
- Inspiring: Aim for something you would be excited about achieving as you partner with God; stretch yourself and your faith; push yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Specific: Create a clear picture of what you want and need to do.
- Measurable: Determine how you will know when you have accomplished it.
-Time-limited: Assign dates and deadlines to create accountability, energy, and activity.
3. Take action. Don't let what you can't do get in the way of what you can do. You can have well-crafted goals, but nothing is going to happen until you actually do something. John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, said," Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." His advice is a key for turning your goals into your reality. Large changes in your life are not accomplished in one step; rather, significant change is accomplished by taking a series of small steps. Don't focus on what you can't do; find out what you can do, and do it!
Also, don't let yourself get paralyzed into inaction because you can't see the end from where you stand now. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase." God's leading is often like a flashlight on a dark path. He enables us to see just far enough ahead to move forward, and as we take steps, more of the path is lit. Set good goals, then step out. God will use the journey of accomplishing your goals to transform you into the person you need to be when you reach them.
If you would like professional assistance with determining your career direction and goals, we invite you to look into our career coaching services. After reading about our services, you can schedule a free career services consultation session to discuss which career services would best meet your needs. We would consider it a privilege to help you discover who God has created you to be and what He has designed you to do!
Excerpts from Live Your Calling (2005) by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint.
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.