Goal Setting: Breaking Down Big Goals into Monthly Ones

The last post discussed how to set overall goals for the whole year. Part of why people have trouble reaching their goals is that a year can seem like a long time so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a larger goal and not know where to start. Unfortunately, sometimes when people don’t know where to begin, they either don’t start at all … or they start but give up before reaching the goal.

If you have a larger goal for the end of 2020, you want to reverse engineer that goal and break it down month by month. This way, you start with small, manageable steps that build on each other and it becomes way easier to reach your goal. I’ll give you a few examples and I’ll also provide a free monthly planning template you can try out.

Health Goal Example:

If you have a year-end goal of being healthier, think of a step you could implement first. Not ten steps–like exercising more, drinking more water, eliminating sugar, cutting carbs, increasing vegetables, meditating, etc. Pick one thing first and do that. Also, try not to be extreme in that one step. For instance, if you are currently exercising ZERO times per week and you put that your goal is to exercise every day for two hours … well, you are most likely going to fail in that goal. You want to set yourself up for success which will cause increased motivation and happiness. So, for my clients who exercise zero or once a week, we set the goal for the first month to increase exercise 2X per week. That’s it. Then, if they exercise more days some week, it feels amazing to them, like they’ve gone above and beyond. Keep it simple.

Financial Goal Example:

If you have a goal of saving for a specific vacation, kitchen appliance, etc, then research what you need to save per month given your desired timeline and make that a monthly savings goal–and put that money into a separate account for that specific thing if possible. Some online banks let you name your savings accounts whatever you want which is a fabulous idea as it creates excitement and motivation. So you can name an account “European escapades” or “kitchen remodel” which makes it even more fun to put money into it.

You would apply these same concepts to career goals, relationship goals, spirituality goals, etc. Start with the first step the first month and then assess how it goes before deciding what to implement the following month. Next week, we will go into specific weekly goal planning in a way that sets you up for success. In the meantime, you can grab this Monthly Planning Sheet to use if you want somewhere to list your goals for this month.

Make sure to check out plenty of other tips on the blog such as 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Ideal Career.  Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

How to Set Realistic Goals for 2020!

Happy 2020! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday season with family and friends. I love this time of year as it’s a literal new beginning and is a great chance to set yourself up for a successful year. I’ve never been a fan of resolutions because they often don’t work for many reasons. However, I’m a huge fan of setting goals, because research has shown over and over again that people make progress in the things that they track.

This is the first in a series of 4 posts on goal-setting and we’ll start with the big overall goals you have for yourself for 2020 and the following posts will show you how to reverse engineer those goals into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks to set yourself up to succeed in those goals. Here are a few key tips to goal setting for 2020:

  1. First, you want to choose overall goals in no more than 3-4 areas of your life. Why? Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and then become paralyzed into inaction by those feelings. They don’t know which steps to take first, so they take no steps at all. I recommend choosing just 1-2 career goals and 1-2 personal goals for the year.
  2. Make the goals things you have control over. This is a big one. For instance, you can’t say you will get a promotion (unless you’re in charge of giving one to yourself) or that you will meet your future spouse but you can focus on doing things to improve your career such as obtain a new certification, exceed your quotas, etc. or put yourself out there on the dating market.
  3. Be specific. We’ll go more into this with the reverse engineering part of our goal setting in future posts. For now, just get as specific as possible with the overall goal. However, it’s fine to put something like “improve my relationship with my spouse,” “eat healthier,” or “change jobs” because we will drill down into more specificity in future posts.
  4. Use creative visualization. If you’re unsure where to begin as far as goal-setting, then try this creative visualization exercise. Imagine yourself at the end of 2020 and feeling like you just had the best year ever! Feel the glow of happiness and satisfaction until you’re actually smiling. Once you’re smiling because it feels real to you, you’re all set. Now think about this question while you’re still experiencing that happiness: what is different about my life in this visualization than how it is right now?
  5. What will make the biggest difference right now? That’s usually your biggest clue with where to start in terms of goal-setting. What area of your life is causing you the most frustration or discomfort? Start there. Think about that one area of your life getting better and that will help you determine your goal.

Ready to set some overall goals? You can use a notebook, laptop, planner, or just fill out the items below. Feel free to email me at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com if you’d like a prettier version of the planner sheet below or if you would like to set up a yearly planning session with me.

Personal Goals

Health:                                Spiritual/Mindfulness:  

________________________         _________________________

________________________          _________________________

Relationships/Social:                 Other:

________________________         _________________________

________________________         _________________________

Professional Goals

        Career Goal #1                       Career Goal #2

 __________________________      __________________________

Career Goal #3                      Career Goal #4

__________________________           ____________________________

Other:           ________________________________

Financial Goals

Savings Goals:                       Investment Goals:

____________________________                  _____________________________

____________________________                  _____________________________

Other Financial Goals

____________________________

____________________________

Why You Should Engage in Active Slacking Over the Holidays

You’re probably used to coaching posts about increasing productivity, time management tools, and maximizing each minute of the day—I’ve even written a few of those myself. 😉 However, this is not one of those posts. Part of being successful is figuring out the art of work/life balance. Notice I didn’t say “perfecting the art” because everyone reading this post is human (as far as I know anyway) and therefore will not attain perfection. I’m going to do a whole post on the concept of perfection in the near future but, for now, just know that I think the word hinders rather than helps people—it’s far better to focus on being a slightly better version of yourself than you were the day before.

The Case for Slacking

So, about this work/life balance thing. The holidays are a weird time when we have a combination of time off from work (for most people) yet still have a high level of stress due to the overall busyness of the season so it’s not always the most relaxing time. Combine that with the family dynamics involved in gatherings where relatives don’t always see eye-to-eye and it’s no wonder why some people are reaching for the nearest glass bottle of wine. Not that I’m against a good glass of pinot noir but in terms of more liver-friendly self-care techniques, I’m advocating for more slacking over the holidays.

The Science of Slacking

Why actively choose slacking? Because when you allow yourself time to decompress, chill out, get creative, have fun, and play, you are living more in the present moment—which is where all the good stuff happens anyway. In terms of basic science, your cortisol levels (stress hormones) go down and your endorphins (your body’s feel good hormones) go up. You will literally feel better, so by creating space to slack, you are making your body and mind healthier … and likely your relationships because you’re going to be more fun to be around. In turn, this will make you even more productive when you are ready to dive back into goals and activities because you’re more energized—you got your groove back. Choose to slack more over the holidays.

Slacking Summary

Life is filled with to-do lists, work demands, children’s activities, laundry, house payments, flu shots, and dental visits. It’s easy to get caught in a perpetual cycle of stress and frustration. Step back and try to simply your holidays this year by focusing on what’s most important. Spend less time on things that aren’t bringing you joy (like Marie Kondo but with activities instead of shirts) and more time doing things you love—play a game, watch a movie, take a walk, check out a museum exhibit (the new Pixar exhibit at the Nature and Science museum is awesome if you’re in Denver), go skiing, meditate, sit on the couch in front of the fireplace with a good book or Netflix show, or take a nap—or two.

In short, slack more and stress less. I hope everyone has a joyous and relaxing holiday season filled with love and family. I’ll be back in January with posts on goals for the New Year and hope you come back refreshed and energized. Until 2020…  

Life Coaching Worksheet: Year End Goal Assessment

I have to admit that I love this time of year! Not just because of all the cooking, family time, and snuggling with my dogs by the fireplace. I love that it’s a perfect time to take stock of the year and then make plans for the next one. Whether or not you reached all of your career goals, personal goals, or other goals, it’s so important to focus your energy ahead on what you want rather than dwell on your perceived shortcoming. Give yourself credit for every win you had, no matter how small you think it is. One of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer is: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

It’s your choice whether to see the glass as half-full versus half-empty! Did you have a goal to lose 10 pounds but “only” lost 5 pounds? Rejoice in losing 5 pounds. Have a goal to meditate daily or increase your income by a certain amount but didn’t quite reach it? Celebrate meditating at least several times a week or increasing your income at all. Then make a plan for 2020 where you set actionable and specific goals. Make the overall end of year goal big but make your daily action steps small and doable–even a marathon is only accomplished step by step.

Later, I will share a sheet for setting your monthly goals to set you up for success in 2020, but for now, here is a free year-end worksheet for you to download so you can take stock of 2019 (download below). I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season!! Love and light, Kristi

Case Study of Client Using The Law of Attraction in Career Coaching

Dream Job just ahead

The term “law of attraction” has been widely used since the pop-culture breakout book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne in 2006. Simply put, it means that the universe draws similar energies together and allows you to create the life you want by being on the same vibrational level as whatever it is that you desire. Easier said than done, and I could write a whole series of posts on that topic and what holds people back (which I will do in the future), but for now, here is a real-life example of using this law specifically toward a new job with one of my career coaching clients.

*Jane was working in a job that she had enjoyed when she first started but after several years, she realized there were things about the job she didn’t love. Note: as people evolve and grow, it is normal to outgrow jobs that were a good fit at one time. Jane didn’t like being in the office 40 hours per week, didn’t like being on call on the weekends, and she wanted to do more project management type work which was more satisfying for her. One thing about the law of attraction is clarity: being clear on what exactly you DO want. Too often, people focus on what they dislike and don’t want which confuses the universe. Jane’s first challenge was gaining that clarity.

I had her do an exercise where she focused on what she wanted (rather than what she didn’t) and came up with ideal elements for her next job. For her, those things included working from home 2-3 days per week, no on-call hours on the weekend, and a promotion into a more senior role where she could use and better develop her project management skills. Then Jane did a creative visualization exercise I taught her where she imagined being in that ideal job until it felt real. The idea behind this was that once she had that clarity, she could browse job listings and the right thing would pop out at her. It’s like if you ask someone to notice red cars on the highway—you will soon see red cars everywhere! But something amazing happened before Jane even got the chance to look at Indeed…

Her current boss came to her the same week she did those exercises and told Jane that he and his supervisor were creating a new position and thought she would be a perfect fit. It was a project management position and involved no weekends and working from home several days a week. My client was actually a little freaked out. She said the job description was almost exactly what she had written down for our exercise. She accepted the job offer and ended up so much happier in the new role as she felt the job itself was more rewarding and her work/life balance allowed for more time with her family.

That is a perfect example of the law of attraction at work and how you can use it in your career. Once you get clarity, things can happen really quickly. However, when you aren’t clear, you tend to get muddled results. Where do you need clarity right now? What is one thing you know would be different if you were living your ideal life? Email me and let me know!

*Jane’s real name and identifying details have been changed due to client confidentiality

5 Benefits of Online Career Coaching

Years ago, I began my career as a Clinical Psychologist doing traditional therapy face-to-face with clients who had issues such as depression and anxiety. The in-office setting made the most sense for me at that time and it was important for me to physically be present with them and to offer support (and tissues!) as needed. However, once I obtained my professional coaching certification, I began to specialize in life and career coaching which drew different types of clients to me. While they expressed some transient anxiety or depressive feelings about not being in their dream career or living their best life (which would be expected), they did not have those symptoms at a clinical level. My coaching clients also were well-versed in mindfulness and the law of attraction which fit well with my own style and I felt an intuitive nudge to try something different.

Back when I first made the switch to distance coaching, either by phone or online, I have to admit that I was initially hesitant about meeting with people that way. Would we still be able to establish a strong working relationship? Would the sessions be as helpful as in-person? Would it be awkward looking at a camera or talking on the phone with someone instead of being face-to-face with them? Now that I’ve been doing online and phone coaching for years, I’ve seen some great benefits to this method:

  1. I can help way more people! Whereas I used to be limited to serving clients who happened to live in my general proximity (Denver), I now have clients all over the U.S. and the world—including Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. Working with such a diverse population of clientele is not only incredibly rewarding but has greatly enriched my knowledge of other cultures which allows me to be a well-rounded coach. It’s amazing how similar people are in terms of wanting to live their best possible life!
  2. It’s convenient. I’ve had people do sessions in their office on their lunch break, outside on a street in Dubai, at an airport terminal while waiting for a flight, from their car (parked of course!) and in their living room while their kiddo was napping. You can do it (almost) anywhere.
  3. It takes less time. Whereas an in-person session means the client also has to allot time for traffic time with driving to and from the appointment, parking the car, checking in with the receptionist, finding a baby sitter, etc., online coaching is easier to fit into a packed schedule—and my clients are very busy people.
  4. It’s flexible. Sometimes, my clients want to see my smiling face so we do Skype or Zoom; while other times, they may be traveling and so phone works better on certain weeks. Or technology blips happen (because life) and we just switch from one mode to another.
  5. It’s effective (which I think is the most important factor for my clients). Developing a strong working relationship has been just as easy, and I’ve even found the session time to be more effective because we are laser-focused during those 45 minutes. I had multiple local clients whom I initially saw in my office who decided to switch to online coaching due to their busy schedules. An interesting outcome of that was that most ended up preferring the phone even over Skype/Zoom. Why? Many told me that they can better process ideas and think more while they walk around, so the phone allows them to do that during our session.

If you’ve never given online or phone coaching a try, I think you will find the process engaging and rewarding. Changing your life for the better is definitely an investment of your time, energy, and resources but living your best life is worth it!

Make sure to check out plenty of other tips on the blog such as 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Ideal Career.  Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Career Coaching Insights: 5 Questions to Help Determine Your Ideal Career

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

The difference between a job and a career

While a job is something that one does solely for the money involved, a career involves a chosen occupation which often has room for progression in that specific field. Delivering pizzas for extra pocket money would be an example of a job, while teaching or medicine are possible career paths. If you work a typical 40-hours per week, that is 2,080 hours each year that you are spending at work, and a career often spans decades of a person’s life. Decades. That is a lot of hours devoted to one’s career and why it is so important to make sure you are doing what you love. The goal should be that you wake up excited by what you get to do each day—that you are thriving, not just surviving. While it’s never too late to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, the sooner you’re able to identify your ideal career, the more time you’ll have being happy and energized at work.

Here are 5 mindful questions to help determine your ideal career:

#1: What are your values?

In general, people are happiest when what they do in life matches their values. Examples of values can be things such as family, relationships, health, nature, travel, honesty, financial freedom, spirituality, success, and knowledge. There are many other values as well, but the key is that your day is spent in line with at least some of your core values. For instance, if two of your core values were social justice and equality, you would likely be miserable in a job on Wall Street, but might thrive in a non-profit setting.

There’s no right or wrong regarding values; just be honest in what yours are. If you aren’t sure what your top values are, the fastest way to figure it out is to ask yourself this question: where do you spend your 1) free time and your 2) money? People with family as their top value tend to spend their time and money on family activities, or someone who values the outdoors might go hiking or biking every weekend. List your values and then determine if your current career lines up with any of your top ones.

#2: When are you in the flow where you lose track of time?

The goal of mindfulness is to live as much as possible in the present moment, which is where all of the good stuff in life happens. When you are so absorbed in something that you lose track of time, you are fully immersed in the present. For many people, this state of flow occurs when they are involved in a favorite hobby. The definition of a hobby is: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. It’s something done due to the love of doing it, rather than for a secondary gain such as money. Some potential responses could be: when you’re gardening, taking photos, building model cars, skiing, rock climbing, jewelry-making, writing, woodworking, or playing with your children. You get the idea. When answering this question, you will probably come up with more than one answer, which is great so think of all incidents where you lose track of time.

A fun extension of this question is: as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? No matter how far-fetched the answer might be, it often highlights what excited you as a child, and we often lose touch with that inner child as we grow. When you identify when you are most in the flow, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that your answer means you should make that hobby a career. Some people worry that making something they love into a job will cause them to lose their passion for it, whereas others would be thrilled to get to do their hobby full-time. The key is just to tap into those things that excite you, because you can use that passion to determine what is missing from your current career.

#3: What skills do you have that are unique?

Everyone has a combination of strengths, personality traits, and life experiences that make them unique. When you identify the things that make you stand out, you can better explore how to use those strengths. This could be having an amazing aptitude with numbers, whipping up an amazing meal without a recipe, or being someone who easily makes new friends.

If this question is hard for you, think about the last time you received a compliment. Has someone told you that you’re great at solving puzzles, a great cook or that they admire your homemade curtains? Did someone ask you where you got that awesome table or bookcase only to find out that you made it? NOTE: Don’t discount a skill based on not liking an aspect of it. For instance, if you are great with numbers, but didn’t enjoy being an accountant, it doesn’t mean there isn’t another great fit for you, such as data analysis or forecast modeling.

#4: What does your ideal work day look like?

You can try a fun visualization exercise before answering this one. Try closing your eyes and visualize what an ideal day at work would look like, and more importantly, feel like, for you. Don’t focus on what the actual job involves. What type of co-workers do you have in this ideal job, e.g. motivated, collaborative, creative, or independent? Or do you not picture co-workers at all, and see yourself working mostly alone? What is the management style of your dream boss, such as detail-oriented or more unstructured but supportive? Or are you the boss or business owner? What does the environment look like, e.g. bright open space, private office with door, your own house, or frequent traveling to different cities or countries?

When you feel excited and happy in the visualization, like it almost seems real, then you’ve succeeded in tricking your brain, so now you can open your eyes. Jot down everything you experienced in this visualization. Notice how close or far this ideal work day is from your current work experience. Also, keep in mind, that your ideal work day may look very different than your friends or family’s version, and that’s okay—own your vision and don’t let peer pressure talk you out of it.

#5: What would you be doing right now if money was no object?

What would you be doing if money did not matter at all to you? Even if your first inclination is to say “nothing,” think past the initial period of lounging on the couch playing video games or binge-watching Game of Thrones. People thrive when they feel they are living up to their full potential. Would you start your own charitable foundation? Your own business? Would you travel the world and experience new cultures? Move closer to family or loved ones?  Hint: Answering this question also helps you identify your true values in life.

Begin the Journey Toward Your New Career

Your new career starts now.

Too often people stay stuck in careers that aren’t satisfying to them, many times to fears or limiting beliefs about what they think is possible for them. So many of our challenges in life are mental, rather than physical, so use these questions as a starting point. Read through all your responses and notice any common themes, words, or ideas. These repetitions give clues as to potential career ideas. Keep in mind that there is usually not one perfect job out there for you, just like there’s not one perfect partner, so you’re just opening yourself up to possibilities at this point. Use your answers as food for thought in your journey toward a new career, and take the first step today. Did you notice any similarities in your responses to these questions? Did any of your answers surprise you? What step will you take next?

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional life and career coach who works with clients all over the world via the magic of Skype. Contact Dr. Kristi to set up a free coaching consultation at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com.

Life Coaching Insights: 2019 Mid-Year Goal Check

I can’t believe half of 2019 is over already! Mid-year is a great time to take a few minutes and assess how you’re doing so far with your goals for this year. If you’re on track to meet your personal and professional goals, that’s awesome! *throws confetti* You’re doing great and should be proud so take a moment to celebrate and then keep on truckin’ along. However, if instead you are feeling like you blinked and the year is already half-over and you haven’t accomplished anywhere near what you wanted to by this point—don’t despair. You still have time. Six months, in fact. You still have half the year to focus on making 2019 a success for you.

Ready?

Step 1) Assess where you are now. What is the personal or professional goal you wanted to accomplish? What steps did you accomplish so far? What held you back or got in your way? Examine the goal itself—is it a specific enough goal with small attainable steps? Write down the goal below and make sure it is specific to what you have control over. For example, instead of “lose 10 pounds,” you would write something like “exercise 30 minutes per day.” Instead of “make more money,” you would have something specific like “work “x” hours per week on my side hustle” or “make 5 sales calls per day.” You get the idea.

GOAL: ____________________________________________________

Step 2) Break the goal down into smaller steps. Over the next 6 months, if you even take one small step per day or complete one action item, imagine where you’ll be in half a year. You can only climb a mountain one step at a time so instead of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sheer size of your goal, just take one step today. And then another one tomorrow. Movement creates movement, so even small steps will motivate and energize you.

What is one thing you can do today to get you on your next step to your bigger goal? Examples might include: set up a savings account, go for a walk with a friend, organize one drawer, create a profile on a dating app, make a website, etc.

Your one thing for today: _______________________________________

Step 3) Set aside a few minutes per week to review progress and determine steps for the next week. Many of my career coaching and life coaching clients tell me they prefer to do this on Sunday evening because it gives them focus for the coming week but you do you and see what works best. Assess your completed items for the past week and decide what you need to put on your daily list for the following week. Note: Only assign 1 task per day. You can always do more than one thing which is bonus but you want to set yourself up to succeed. A common mistake is when people put 20 things on their daily task list, and being that they’re human, they don’t complete them and then feel like a failure—plus, when you re-write the same unfinished tasks over and over each day, it makes them lose their impact.

Weekly goal for upcoming week:___________________________________

Then, just rinse and repeat each week. The prior week’s tasks will help determine your next steps. When a certain task feels larger than others, break that down into smaller ones that seem doable. For instance, if you’re decluttering your entire house and this week’s overall goal is the garage which is so crammed with things that you want to cry thinking about it, break that one task down into manageable pieces, e.g. Monday: the shelves by the door, Tuesday: the box of holiday decorations, etc. One of my clients who started her own business broke things down into different days and: set up her LLC, obtained liability insurance, got a logo design, created her tagline and designed her website by picking one thing per day to do. You can do anything if you break it down into small enough steps!

Here is wishing you a successful second half of 2019 and that you finish this year amazed at all that you accomplished!

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

Career Coaching Insights: 5 Reasons People Stay in Jobs They Don’t Love

If you’ve read my prior post on determining whether your job is a good energetic fit for you or not, and you also believe that life is short (because it is), then you may wonder why on Earth someone would choose to stay in a job they don’t love? Everyone knows that one person who complains endlessly about their job yet never does anything about it. Why would they do that? There are actually multiple reasons why people stay too long in unsatisfactory jobs and there are even valid reasons for doing so. If you’re a single parent with six children to feed and put through school, it’s risky to chuck your day job to pursue your dream of becoming a slam poet. Also, in general, people don’t love change—it’s uncomfortable. But as I’ve said before, all true growth happens outside of your comfort zone and you can use mindfulness to help you through the process of change.

Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve heard from my career coaching clients for staying in jobs they don’t love:

  1. Fear of the Unknown. This is commonly known as “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t” excuse. Your job may have exhausting demands that involve over-time and having to skip your child’s ballgame or you may have the boss from hell but at least you know what to expect…and what if the next job/boss/commute is even worse?   
  2. Fear of Starting Over/Change. Even if you know you absolutely do not want to keep doing the job you are doing, you’ve been doing it for enough time that you are making decent money at it; therefore, starting in a new field could involve taking lower pay or having to start at a more entry level job. Also, who wants to hire someone [whatever age you are]? I’ve had clients think they were “too old” for a new job at 35! Though ageism in our society is unfortunately a real thing, I’ve had clients successfully change careers well in their 60’s.
  3. Fear of Stepping Outside the Box. This one has to do with societal norms and I hear this one from people who are thinking of starting their own business rather than finding another traditional job. Things like a steady paycheck, 401K match, and paid vacation days are not generally associated with being an entrepreneur and therefore more risk is involved. Some people are naturally more risk-averse than others, which is totally okay, and you just need to know where you fall on this spectrum. Not everyone wants to own their own business.
  4. Fear of Who You Are If You Aren’t [This] Job. This is usually the ego talking. For instance, if someone has been in corporate finance for decades, you may attach your identity to your career and wonder who you would be if you weren’t “Bob from accounting.” Or maybe you’ve invested a ton of money and time into becoming “Sally the lawyer.” (Side note: it’s interesting to me how many lawyers I’ve had as clients!) Sometimes, pressure comes from society, friends, or family to be in a certain job due to perceived benefits such as pay, status, or credibility. The key is to tap into what you want because it’s you, not them, doing that job every day.
  5. Fear of What You Would Do Instead. Sometimes people come to me for career coaching because they know they don’t want to do their current job but they have no idea what they want to do instead. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure what their true strengths or passions are. There are many exercises you can do to figure this out but it’s still scary when you don’t know exactly what you want to do next.

What do these all have in common?  FEAR. All of these are fear-based responses. Does that mean the fears are unrealistic? No, some of them are very real, hence why many people stay stuck in jobs they don’t like. But overall, people are happiest in life when they make decisions based on what they want rather than what they fear. I’m going to repeat that in a different way because it’s so important. When you live your life as much as possible focused on what you want rather than what you don’t want, you are placing your energy on the good instead of the negative—and wherever you place your energy grows. Some call this the law of attraction but it’s really a law of energy. You can be realistic about mitigating the concerns and fears you have while still taking steps toward your dream career. Too often, people use their fears as a reason to stand still and take no steps at all. It’s easier to by overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear than to break through it and take small action steps.

Now what?

Do any of these fears sound familiar to you? Which one resonated most with you? Are there other reasons you have stayed in a job you didn’t like? Usually, there is a tipping point for my clients—they reach out to me when their desire for change is greater than their fears. Notice that I didn’t say the fears magically disappear—but they have decided to take steps despite those fears, which is always the fastest way to overcome them and create a more fulfilling life. This quote by George Eliot sums it up pretty well:

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

Career Coaching Question: Is Your Job an Energetic Match for You?

          Does your office environment fit you?

People tend to be happiest when their job is a match for them in several key areas. I’ve talked before about the importance of your job matching at least some of your core values. What’s also important to career happiness is that your job feels like a vibrational, or energetic, match for you. When your job is a good fit, you tend to feel more excited, content, satisfied, and rewarded by your work. And by energy, I don’t mean the physical kind, though obviously if your job involves say, shepherding people up a steep mountain, you do need to have the physical stamina to match your job duties. 😉 If you’re not even sure what type of job may be ideal for you, then go back and start with my earlier post on 5 Mindful Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Determine Your Ideal Career.

In terms of a good vibrational match, if you are more introverted, an open and loud office might feel overwhelming to you yet doing the same exact job in a quiet and peaceful space may feel entirely different. An emergency room doctor who thrives in a chaotic environment is going to have a different vibrational set-point than a scientist or researcher who prefers working alone in a lab, so the key is just figuring out your personal energy and whether what you’re doing for work fits that energy well.

The best way to assess the energy or vibration of a job is how you feel both when you are there and when you leave at the end of the day. When you walk out the door, do you feel happy and content? Or tired, but rewarded, like you made a difference that day? Or do you just feel drained when you’re there and when you leave, like all you want is to lay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix?

Do negative thoughts about work overshadow your personal time when you are with your family or doing social activities, even on the weekends? For many of my career coaching clients, this is the point at which they reach out for coaching because they feel their important relationships are being impacted by their dissatisfaction with work. Pay attention to what is causing the negative feelings in you and try journaling those things to gain clarity. Some clients realize they love the job itself, but it’s their co-workers or the actual environment and/or building itself that is not a good energetic match. For instance, they may work in a dark space without much light or windows, or they walk away from a meeting with their supervisor feeling unheard rather than supported. Or conversely, they love their co-workers and feel great energy with them but realize the corporate culture or the organization is not a great fit. I had a client who loved sales and her co-workers but realized the energetic disconnect was that she did not believe in the specific product she was required to sell and felt she was “scamming” people which also goes back to the values exercise I recommended previously.

Energetic Fit Exercise:

When you begin your job tomorrow (whether it’s in an office, at home, on the road, etc.) pay attention to how you feel when you begin the workday and notice the emotions that arise during the day. When you get home, how do you feel? Jot down notes around specifics, including a) feelings about the job tasks you completed (or started) that day, b) the people: your co-workers, your clients, your supervisor(s), c) the workspace itself from the parking lot to the office to the break room, etc. and d) anything else that struck you as important. Now, which things made you feel good or happy? Which things made you feel drained or stressed?

Now What?

If you have a match with multiple things on your list, yay, you’re likely fairly satisfied with your job. But if you notice that you only love one thing, such as your office window or that one co-worker who brings in donuts every week, you might not be in the best possible fit for you. If you realize you have more negative feelings about your job than positive ones, it might be worth exploring a change. Whether you pursue a career change on your own or want to try online career coaching, take a step today. Life is too short to spend it doing a job you don’t love.

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., CPC is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Life Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you would like more help reaching your goals or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.