by Lori Milner, author, entrepreneur, thought leader, and founder of Beyond the Dress
As entrepreneurs, we are always on the go. We are everything to everybody both in the business and in our personal lives. We know how demanding our roles are as women so it is vitally important we schedule what Essentialism author, Greg McKeown, calls a quarterly offsite meeting with yourself. This can be a half or full day that you schedule into the diary just for you to take a few hours and press pause. This allows us the space to reflect on our priorities and what is truly the most important thing we need to be focusing on for 2019. I can hear you thinking, ‘I could never take that time off’ but it will be the greatest investment for yourself. If we don’t have a clear view of our goals and priorities, we are making decisions with no road map.
In a previous blog, I quoted Beth Kempton from her beautiful book Wabi Sabi. She said we should ask the kind of questions that prompt inspired answers. More specifically, questions we can ask to invite a different kind of career journey for ourselves. So now that you have planned your offsite time, ponder these questions regarding your current career journey.
Even if you love your business and what you do, it provides a new perspective on what is working, perhaps what we don’t realise is not working and how to create a bridge between the two.
Here we go:
What inspires you?
What matters to you?
What would you like to create?
What would you like to change?
What would you like to experience?
How could you help people?
What kind of place would you like to work in?
What kind of people would you like to work with?
How would you like to spend your days?
How do you want to feel about your work?
What assumptions are you making about your opportunities that may not be true?
What are you grateful for?
Now that you have created an image in your mind of the new possibility, we need to understand that change is inevitable. Beth provides us with following the questions below to help us identify what kind of changes might be involved:
• What needs to be different by this time next year in order for that dream to be even a remote possibility several years from now?
• How would you like to describe yourself a year from now?
• How would you like to describe your home a year from now?
• How would you like to describe your work life a year from now?
• How would you like to describe your finances a year from now?
• What would you like to have created a year from now?
For me, when I did this exercise, what really stood out was ‘how do I want to feel’ a year from now. It was less about the outcome of my work for example book sales or number of talks – this is to serve my ego. But what I realize now is that the most important area for me is to have a sense of presence and ease. My kids are 4 and 6 and I found a lot of the times last year, I wasn’t truly present with them even when I was around in the afternoons. I was ‘just quickly checking mails’ or thinking about a new keynote I had to write. I wasn’t in the present moment, I was in the future and that is the breeding ground for anxiety. When I did this exercise – the most important change was presence, focus and being conscious of my own feelings and emotions so I can respond rather than react.
And finally, I would like to add one more question ‘What will excite you?’ That thing that just writing it down, triggers a sparkle in your eyes. When you write the answer – make sure it is something you want to do, not something you think you should do. To go even deeper, ask yourself ‘does this goal still serve me today?’ It may have been something on your bucket list a few years ago and back then it was your ‘true bliss’. Perhaps you have changed or circumstances or maybe you actually just don’t want it anymore. So be honest with yourself and make sure you are pursuing those goals that serve you today.
Here’s to owning your career journey,
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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