At the Intersection of Self-Reflection Self-Questions Self-Feedback and Self-Awareness

Your WorkLife Path Is One BIG Adventure

Photo by Alesia Kozik from Pexels

London had been good to Éimhear. She had lived in the city for fifteen years. But of late, she was growing tired of it. There’s a saying by Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” But this wasn’t true for Éimhear. In fact, the opposite was true. She yearned for more adventure in her WorkLife. She wanted to travel more. She wanted to work and live somewhere new and different.

Éimhear had recently turned sixty. The milestone birthday had brought with it a sense of unease. She felt she wasn’t living her WorkLife fully. She felt her WorkLife had been on hold for too long. She felt that somehow, somewhere along the road of her WorkLife path, she had lost her sense of adventure. She had always loved travel, exploring and discovering new places and cultures, but for so long now, she wasn’t doing this.

There were a few reasons for this.

When Éimhear had travelled, she had been in a contractor role in investment banking. The contracts were on a rollover basis, which meant it was as close to being employed as you can get. It didn’t have benefits such as health cover, learning programmes or holiday pay, but the rate of pay more than compensated for that and allowed her to do what she needed to do to cover those areas. It also meant at the end of each three-month rolling contract; she could take time out to travel, if she chose to, before recommencing the rollover contract. These were usually one week to one-month breaks, after which she would come back to London energised, ready to take on a new chapter of her WorkLife.

Then Éimhear left investment banking. The industry had gone through an economic downturn, and the bank decided to end all contract work to safeguard jobs for employees. She was offered a full-time role, but she declined. The reason she had always worked as a contractor was that she didn’t want to follow a career in finance. She had also become restless of late. She had been working in banking for fifteen years. She had been spinning the wheels at work. She felt it was time to move on. This was the push she needed to do that and to do something different.

Because Éimhear had experience delivering training programmes, albeit they were finance-focused, she managed to get work delivering a range of programmes while she was figuring out what the next chapter of her WorkLife was to be. It was through these training programmes that she found her path — many of them were focussed on workplace soft skills training — communication, negotiation, challenging conversations. She enjoyed the group work, and when there was an element of individual coaching required, she enjoyed that too. But she felt she needed to have formal training in coaching to better serve the people she worked with. So she embarked on undertaking a degree in Career Coaching. She did this part-time while continuing to deliver training to support herself financially.

Then once qualified, she began working more or less full-time as a career coach, just keeping her hand in with a little training work. She loved her work, but there were peaks and throughs in her workload. That meant there were times when she had a lot of work and money but didn’t have the time to travel. And there were times when she didn’t have a lot of work, so she had the time, but not the money to travel. She was OK with this because she made the most of her WorkLife in London, exploring and discovering new places, doing new things, and meeting new people.

But this approach to her WorkLife, somehow, somewhere, caused her to lose her sense of adventure. She feels it had something to do with the financial uncertainty of working independently as a career coach. In investment banking, she had never had to worry about her finances and how she could make ends meet, but now she did. She had somehow, somewhere, lost her mindset of abundance and had adopted a scarcity mindset, and this she feels contributed to the loss of her love of adventure.

But when she had turned fifty-nine, the looming BIG 60 milestone birthday hit her hard. It brought home to her that she hadn’t been living her WorkLife fully. That she had lost her sense of adventure. That she hadn’t for such a long time been exploring new places, meeting new people and doing new things. She knew she needed and wanted to do something to bring about the change she so yearned for.

Not knowing what she needed to do and how she could do it, Éimhear started to journal. Journalling was something she had done throughout her WorkLife, when she was stuck in her thinking, to work through things.

Journalling was also something she suggested to her clients to help them work through things. Time out for self-reflection, which enhanced their self-awareness. She prided herself on her ability to ask her clients insightful questions that elicited more profound answers that enabled them to give themselves effective self-feedback on the steps they needed to take to make the changes they wanted in their WorkLife. She thought of it as the loop or intersection of self-reflection, self-questions, self-feedback and self-awareness.

But she hadn’t been doing the same for herself. She hadn’t been walking her talk. But that was about to change as Éimhear got back to journalling and to the loop/intersection of self-reflection, self-questions, self-feedback, and self-awareness.

To get started to help her self-reflection and to strengthen her self-awareness, she posed self-questions which led to self-feedback.

She began with the bigger picture — the future. The questions she journaled on were:

If I had a magic wand, how would my WorkLife be better in one year?

For Éimhear, this would be travelling more and living somewhere new for at least one month of the year, but maybe even a full-time move to somewhere new.

If I change nothing, how will my WorkLife be one year from now? How does this make me feel?

For Éimhear, this would mean she would still be in London, living a WorkLife that’s unfilled in so many ways. She’ll feel resentful because she’ll know that her WorkLife is not everything it can and needs to be.

Then she moved to the detail — the day-to-day of her WorkLife. Journalling on these questions:

What activities am I doing when time flies by?

For Éimhear, this was writing. For a long time, she had kept a blog about the amazing things people had achieved in their WorkLife. She had turned these into stories, which she used as case studies in her coaching and training work. She had added exercises that she had presented as assignments for her clients to work through.

What actions, if taken, would make me feel accomplished, regardless of the outcome?

For Éimhear, that was to turn her written work into a book — her stories and assignments. It was something that had been at the back of her mind for a while, but she had never done anything about it.

Then she moved to a place that connected the day-to-day of her WorkLife to her future. The detail to the bigger picture by asking herself:

What motivates me to make progress?

For Éimhear, that was that a book could help launch a new chapter of her WorkLife. She could begin to establish herself as a writer. This would mean that she could work from anywhere, which in turn would allow her to travel more, and to live somewhere new for a short or long period of time.

Epilogue

Éimhear followed through on actioning what she had been thinking about for such a long time. She wrote and self-published her first book. The wonderful thing was, she discovered it was already 85% written. She included the stories she had written for her blog, which she had turned into case studies, and she included the exercises she had turned into assignments. She needed to write just a few more stories and create a few more exercises and that she found easy.

Once she started writing, she couldn’t stop. She loved writing, and she knew it was the key to moving her WorkLife to a new place of adventure.

On hitting her 60th birthday, Éimhear wasn’t quite ready to make the move out of London, but she had planned her first ‘One Month Living in a New City Adventure’. She has chosen Paris because she wanted to experience Paris life, and she also wanted to use it as a base to explore the country. She wanted her first longer adventure to be about experiencing French life, and so she’s on an adventure to explore and discover where she wants to lay her beret for a few months or maybe even a year – she’s sure it will be a good year.

Self-Reflection Self-Questioning Self-Feedback Self-Awareness Journalling Assignment

When you find yourself at a place where your WorkLife is feeling stuck, and you’re not living it as fully as you want and need to be, take out your journal to begin your loop of self-reflection, self-questions, self-feedback and self-awareness, to allow you to know which steps to take at the intersection of your WorkLife path, to move in the direction that’s best for you.

Do this by journaling on the following questions:

If I had a magic wand, how would my WorkLife be better in one year?

If I change nothing, how will my WorkLife be one year from now? How does this make me feel?

What activities am I doing when time flies by?

What actions, if taken, would make me feel accomplished, regardless of the outcome?

What motivates me to make progress?

Words Of Wisdom

Start with who you are, with what you have, and with where you are, and you will find you have a lot to support you in doing what you need and want to do next, and what you don’t have; you will figure out easily when you need to.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.

The focus of my work begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.

I bring you stories created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different solutions, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow.

Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and hopefully, it motivates you to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the motivation to get started. The motivation to follow your vision.

My book, Your WorkLife Your Way, focuses on helping you live your best WorkLife by managing your learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful questions and the ability to shape and tell your unique story. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of School Of WorkLife Books & Your WorkLife Your Way: Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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