Small Tweaks

Small Tweaks

After a year of the pandemic, some folks are still working from home – and are kind of over it. I love this piece written by a former client, Catherine, who not only expresses what a lot of us are feeling, but also invites us to get creative with small tweaks before making big changes. Enjoy! ~Jen

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The chair had lost its fluff. I was sinking into the frame of the second hand dining room chair. Probably because I’d been sitting in that chair for forty plus hours a week since March 2020. When the pandemic started, I, like millions of people around the world, swapped an ergonomically designed office chair for a dining room chair.

Around the same time the pandemic drove people to start working from home en masse, I also started a new job. Because the job was new, it fed my inquisitive nature and desire to be challenged. Now, a year in, the job has lost some of its fluff. What was once a welcome challenge is now mundane. But I’m not ready to completely scrap what I have and start over. So instead I’ll make some tweaks. I’ll also keep doing the mundane – the bookkeeping, the data entry, and the scheduling – because those things need to be done and because I need a job. But I’ll also ask for some more of what I want – something that’s a challenge, something that involves solving a problem with more than one right answer. And maybe those small changes will be enough until I find the next right thing. 

I swapped my chair with the chair across the table. It’s still a second hand dining room chair, but it has a little more oomph than the one I’ve been using. For now, that small tweak has been enough. Enough to get me through to whatever is next. Whether that’s returning to the office, or giving in and spending some extra money to bring part of the office to me.  

Do you feel like your job has lost its fluff? Maybe a few tweaks will be enough to get you through to the next step. Ask for the type of tasks you want to be doing. Take a daily walking break. Pick up a hobby to feed the creativity your job lacks. Small changes can have an impact larger than expected. And if tweaks aren’t enough, you can always buy the office chair or scrap the job. 

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I would love to claim that I came to these realizations on my own. In reality, it took Jen Frank’s career coaching group to help me understand that while some situations do call for a complete overhaul, less drastic changes such as advocating for yourself within your current role or making changes outside of work are also effective routes to job satisfaction. If you want to explore what’s next in your work life, consider joining one of Jen’s career coaching groups!

p.s. from Jen: As always, your comments are welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching.

p.p.s. from Jen: The spring career coaching group is already underway, but if you want to be part of a future group see: https://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group/

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What kind of tired are you? (and a new online career group starts in early April)

What kind of tired are you? (and a new online career group starts in early April)

I know that as a mature adult, it’s my job to meet my own needs: spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Sometimes it feels like a bigger job than others, especially while dealing with the pandemic, working too many days without a day off, and spending hours a day rehabbing my elbow.

More often than usual, I’m finding myself feeling what I call “soul tired.” This is when I am beyond physical fatigue; I feel ground down to a nub and just want to crawl under the covers for a week. It’s not just sleepiness, but rather a need for days off and nature and no obligations. A need for time to cook, play, read, be creative, go for spring walks, catch up with friends, and even tackle a home project. (That’s my best version of self-care; yours will look different.)

I recently read the article The 7 types of rest that every person needs by Saundra Dalton-Smith MD. It does a great job detailing the different kinds of rest. From their descriptions, I am in need of creative, emotional and spiritual rest. When I get to that soul tired place, I tend to dig in and double down – powering through my work and gutting it out. No time (or energy) for a walk, a phone call with a friend, or a bit of crafting (i.e., my new interest: Japanese boro stitching).

Yes, I get things done, but I actually end up more tired and more in need of rest. It’s counterintuitive for a lot of us to stop when we have so much to do. However, if we can take more breaks for the kind of rest we need along the way, we can avoid getting to that burnt-out, soul tired place. And, more importantly, we can better enjoy and engage in the present.

So what will I do differently today? Some cooking, I’ll phone a friend, go for a little walk and get some sunshine. And I’ll block a couple days off in my calendar.

What kind of rest do you need? What will you do differently to ensure you get it?

Happy resting!

p.s. As always, your comments are welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching.

p.p.s. If taking care of your career helps take care of you, I have an online career coaching group starting April 6. The group can help get you clarity around your career direction and position you for success as the pandemic restrictions lift. Contact me for more information, and see: https://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group/

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Comfortable

Comfortable

This week’s topic in my online career coaching group was Visioning. Folks had wonderful visions of their ideal work which they reported made them feel satisfied, purposeful, content, fulfilled, excited, energized, inspired, pleasantly tired at the end of the day, and… Comfortable.

Comfortable? Hmm.

Here is what I know about comfortable:

  1. The best stuff typically happens outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Experts say there is a proportional relationship between how much discomfort you can handle and how successful you will be.

If you have a goal of comfortable with regards to your work, think about what that word means to you. If it means complacent, protected from being afraid or failing, or never having to learn or try something new, you may need to consider taking more risks.

In contrast, if comfortable means you feel authentic, unafraid of others’ judgment, and/or aligned with work that is purposeful to you, then please continue. You are on track!

What’s your version of comfortable? Do you need to adjust it? What small, pandemic-sized steps could you take to move your right work forward and get you more of those good feelings above?

Comfortable is for pajamas, not for purposeful careers. So get comfortable being uncomfortable!

p.s. As always, your comments are welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching.

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Brave

Brave

I talk to my clients about courage and bravery a lot. It’s not because potential clients approach me and say they want to be more courageous or braver, but rather because most of them tell me they want to feel more confident.

But if you want to grow your confidence, first you have to show courage. You have to try new things, gain experience with success and failure, and be kind to yourself regardless of your results.

Usually I have people experiment with something small that sounds reasonably fun that they don’t think they will be very good at. They go try the new thing, get so-so results, notice how much they still enjoy themselves, and watch what their self-talk is like. Because once you can be kind to yourself even when you get a bad result, then you have the confidence to take bigger risks.

But it’s not always doing a new thing. Sometimes it takes courage to stop doing an old thing: taking a break from over-working; letting go of relationships that no longer fit; moving on from an old hobby that’s no longer of interest; or saying “no” to something you would usually have said “yes” to.

For example, “no, I’m sorry I can’t help you with that because I have too much on my plate right now.” Or “no, I can’t come to your out-of-state wedding during the pandemic because I can’t put vulnerable family members at risk.” (What takes more courage than a “no?” One without any explanation!)

Saying “no” and stopping old behaviors that no longer serve you takes real courage. Leaving empty space can feel really scary – the unknown often is. What will come to fill that space? What if nothing does?! What will other people think?!!

What’s the brave thing you need to do? Do you need the courage to try something new or let go of something old? What’s something you could say “no” to that would serve you? (Bonus points for not explaining why you really are a good person!) How will you take care of yourself in the discomfort of trying something new?

You can do it! Be brave!

p.s. As always, your comments are welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching.

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