"Those who wish to sing always find a song!” -Swedish Proverb
So, you are thinking about your career and how to upgrade it.
There are lots of options - get a job, earn a promotion, find a lateral move, etc. Despite the options, you find yourself stuck in a cycle of small steps that leaves you:
Confused. What to do first? What is important and what is not?
Feeling awkward. How to let others know that you are on the move?
Feeling inauthentic. Is this really who you are?
You need to step out of your own way and take Decisive Action!
Let me start with a basic assumption - much of what we do each day is of no consequence. Yes - food shopping is important, so is doing laundry. But these things are not pushing our boundaries - they keep us exactly where we are.
As in life, so in work. Much of what we do at work keeps us exactly where we are! Consider this - we go to meetings, we write reports, we create presentations, and even get the occasional promotion. These things are designed to keep us incrementally moving forward.
It all works fine, until you want to make a change. Then, you may find yourself at a huge deficit. So, when it comes to a job search, you need Decisive Action - actions that are 10X more effective than all the other stuff you do all day.
Have you ever had this experience. . .
You are trying to figure out a way to solve a problem, when someone joins the conversation with exactly the right answer that transports the conversation to a new level.
Recently, I was talking with some friends about weight loss, and we were all opining about the most effective methods for middle age weight loss. Paleo! No, do a Keto diet! No go vegan! No, Whole 30!!
It was after a few minutes, that one friend, who has lost 50 pounds recently, spoke up. He said, “All of these approaches may work, but often they fail. In my experience, it begins with a strong mindset around life change, not just diet, and focus on the end state.” We all sat quietly and listened as he continued. "In my case, I do a combination of high intensity interval training and 16:8 fasting, which is fasting for 16 hours per day and allowing a window of eight hours for eating. That is how I lost 50 pounds in six months.”
His words literally changed us all. It went from lots of opinions to a voice of wisdom. We all went home that night and looked up 16:8 fasting and high intensity interval training.
Our brains are attracted to the foundations - the core principles - the levers of change. We want to see underneath the shiny, glimmering surface details - and find the solid ground that we can operate from.
As in life, so in work. If you want a new career, the you must be willing to take Decisive Action. Taking decisive action changes the game. It creates a new set of results that moves you forward.
Decisive Action creates commitment and builds trust. Decisive Action often takes less time than all of the worry and stress you put into it. Once you get going, it just happens. Decisive Action is naturally efficient. You are moving the core levers, not playing around the edges. Decisive Action spurs action for others and for you - things happen!Decisive Action is less about process, instead focused on outcome.
What does Decisive Action Look Like?
Decisive Action is an act of "burning the boats” - committing to a path forward that does not allow you to retreat backwards to where you were. Here are some ideas for Decisive Action. Only you can really say what is decisive, and what is not.
Get some exercise. Perhaps the most effective act of Decision Action is exercise. It is immediate and
Commit to a new career. Commit is an action verb. Show your commitment by meeting with five people in five days to discuss careers, skills, opportunities, etc.
Meet a hero. Pick someone awesome, be diligent in getting the appointment, have an agenda, and go for it. Use the meeting as an opportunity to practice your networking.
Give it away. Stop being focused on you and give someone else a chance to shine. Maybe its a presentation, or even your undivided attention!
5 Steps for Taking Decisive Action
Okay, so here is a quick guide for getting to those very effective actions quickly.
Noise Elimination. If you are in a chaotic environment, you need to shut down the aural and mental noise. Block time, set some goals, and focus on outcomes.
Focus on Opportunities and Pain Points. Next, determine the areas that are more important. Are there immediate opportunities in front of you, even small ones, that will make a difference? Also, what are you avoiding - what is painful for you? Notice it and use that as a compass to find the areas that you need to focus on.
Do The One Thing. Next, figure out the ONE THING you will get done today - the one small mountain you will move, no matter what. Make phone calls until you get a meeting? Finish your resume? Practice your elevator pitch?
Move with Purpose. Now that you have it all lined up, take that Decisive Action. Move with purpose and do not be deterred by naysayers, pseudo-emergencies, or other BS. Do not spend time on the caveats, the possible failure points, the sidebar conversations.
Finish Strong. The key here is tenacity. Change is hard, so Decisive Action requires us to keep at it. Do the planning, and do not stop until you’ve reached your outcome. Complete the action and then make a clean stop. It is time to move on to the next Decisive Action!
A final word - Decisive Action is a gift from you, to you. It is a hard thing that you give to yourself because it will continue giving. You can do this.
“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow