“Moving on in a career can be about being in over your head, taking on more than you can do, and trying to please everybody. I achieved what I had set out to do, and that’s where I started to lose track. With the energy that you have in your twenties, you’re just fearless. At some point, some things start to slip away. ” These are the words of Mary Lou Quinlan, quoted in a recent issue of Fast Company, whose career-moved from being the CEO of an advertising firm to starting her own firm.
She explains that the pivotal action that allowed her to make this decision was that she took some serious time off from her job: she devised a 5-week leave of absence. “It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. ” At the end of the 5 weeks, she made a list of all the things she loved to do and was good at. And she made a second list of all the things she hated doing that she was not good at. The latter list looked a lot like her job. The former list became the vision for her business. Her advice: “Ask yourself: Am I happy? You have the right to ask that question – and then do something about it. ” I completely agree.
For many people, TAKING TIME OUT is the only way to get perspective on how they’re navigating their life and what course corrections are called for. For some, the time-out needs to be a 5-week leave. For others it can be a weekend disconnected from email and cell phone. And for others it can be a weekly coaching conversation, were the relationship facilitates enough “altitude” from daily concerns to allow for some strategic decisions to be made and implemented.
If you need time off the treadmill but can’t seem to take it, figure out what kind of support you need, and get it for yourself. It’s that important.
Copyright 2003, Sharon Teitelbaum. All rights reserved.
Sharon Teitelbaum, http://www.stcoach.com , a Work-Life and Career Coach, works with high achieving women with young children, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction and work-life balance. She coaches by phone and in person in Boston. Her newsletter, Strategies For Change , offers practical tips for work-life success.
Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance , Sharon's first book, was published in 2005.
A motivational speaker, Sharon also also delivers keynotes & workshops on work-life issues. Clients include Children’s Hospital Boston, SunLife Financial, Arnold Worldwide, and many parent and alumni groups. She's been featured in national publications including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Working Mother Magazine.
Married for 30 years, she is the mother of two amazing young women.
If you're considering hiring a coach to help you with challenges like these, contact me for an initial consultation at no charge.