By Janice Burch, Co-Founder, Pro Resume Center, LLC
One day we may wake up and discover we have avoided living most of our lives in the manner we wanted because of the excuses we told ourselves.
My favorite show is on tonight. I'm too tired after work to do anything else. I am too old to start that or learn that. I like my downtime. Learn – at my age? I am far too young to be planning for my future. I’ll do that next month. I won't ever be able to achieve that – why start? I want to do that, but it’s not what I went to school for. Ugh, that’s probably beyond me. Eh, that will take too much of my time. I can’t squeeze in another thing.
Ya know I think I’ll just settle. This is not what I want to do, but it’s not so bad really…it’s a paycheck, right?
Any of this sound familiar?
Guess what? Tick tock. Tick tock. Time keeps marching on – and you keep making the same choice to not take action toward your dream job, goals or plans.
Ponder on this: The only thing we truly have is time. That is – until it’s gone.
How we choose to spend it rests in our own corner. We can blame all we want on surroundings, circumstances, demands and more but in the end, we truly do have the ability to master our time and design our days to be sure we can do the things we need to do to further ourselves, help our families, build value on the job, get in shape or find a new job or career.
Give yourself the gift of time
We often excel at making time to build up others, be there for a friend, listen to a colleague’s issues, meet deadlines for a boss or demanding client, raise a hand to help with a project or volunteer at our kids’ school to lead this or plan that.
But when was the last time you made one of YOUR goals a priority in your life and actually said “Sorry, can’t do that for you now” to others’ requests, in order to focus on your career path and goals?
I am NOT saying put kids, spouse, family, and friends behind career. I am a single mom and raised my children physically and financially on my own since they were both toddlers. They are grown now and successfully grabbing the world by the horns. Every moment I spent with them as they grew was a gift and continues to be.
But after more than half a century of living and career experience, I AM saying it is important to establish milestones you want to make to further your career or business. Then treat your goals with the same respect you would had you promised delivery on a project or results to a boss or client or a friend. Would you keep making excuses to a client as to why you weren’t able to get them their proposal by the deadline or deliver their campaign in time for their new product launch?
Explore Your Options
Perhaps you have always wanted to take a class or get another degree. There are options out there even if you have little time or little money. Look into it. Grants, scholarships and financial aid await the continuing education student and online classes and programming will give you the flexibility you need to work it in between your other priorities like family, current job or a social schedule. Check into your current employer’s benefit program as they may offset your tuition costs for returning to school or getting certification in something that may be useful in your career.
Maybe you want to explore another type of career or starting a business, but find you have little time to do so? Network. Read. Learn. Research. Take some weekend time or take a vacation day from work and spend it exploring your options. Try to make connections on LinkedIn with someone who is doing what you want to do and then pick their brain, do an informational interview, ask them to lunch or coffee. Discover what you need to do in order to get qualified for that next career choice. It’s all in your hands.
Where do you want to be?
If you don’t start taking action toward your future today, when will you? Tomorrow or next month is the easy reach for most of us. Many of us are skilled at the art of procrastination especially when it comes to doing things for ourselves vs. others.
Don’t wait any longer. Fire your old self and hire a new you to take charge of your career.
Carve out 30 minutes each day and claim it as your own. Make it yours to do the things you need to do in order to get from here to there in three months, six months, a year or five years. Find a quiet spot, turn off your phone, the television, and laser in on your plan for today and take daily action that will lead you to tomorrow’s success.
Time – it’s always fleeting but it’s all we really control. Every single day we choose how we use it. It’s there – until of course, it’s gone.
So – tell me. What are you going to do right now, tonight or tomorrow to get further toward your goals? In the midst of all the other demands in your life, will you carve out the time you need for you?
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