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Staying power

Nurturing commitment and focus for your life and its changing phases.


By Maricel Laraya


AUGUST 2013


Either by choice or out of necessity, work has a way of eating up a big chunk of our day.  A new job, business or career is interesting, maybe even exhilarating; pretty much like relationships. But after some time, interest and commitment wanes. We then ask ourselves: “Do I see myself doing this for the next three, five or 10 years?”

 

This explains why we need to reflect and ask the question: “What is my life vision?” Much like a company’s vision statement, an individual’s life vision talks about the future, describes one’s hopes, dreams and ambitions. It serves as inspiration and gives direction. If you haven’t crafted it yet, it’s never too late to make one.

 

Creating the compass

People move around the corporate world and change careers. In fact, a successful marketing vice-president of a leading fast-food chain shares her wisdom: “I’ve had nine jobs in 15 years. Three were prompted by immature decisions. Changing jobs allowed me exposure in various industries. But I should have stayed longer in some positions for deeper learning and gaining more insights about the industry, the company and myself. If I could do things differently, I would not make a life-changing decision like changing jobs when [I was] emotional.”

 

Having a life vision is key, to help identify short, medium and long-term goals. My advice for clients who contemplate on a job change or career shift is to write these down: goals, options, pros and cons, action plans, timetable and commitments to themselves. This empowers them to make an informed and calculated choice. Together, we draw a clear picture and it ultimately serves as their basis for making a final decision. 

 

Here are some factors worthy of consideration when exploring options: economic impact, job nature, opportunities for advancement, and if the company’s core values are aligned with our own—for instance, do they champion life balance, integrity, excellence or teamwork?

 

There’s always a way to re-ignite enthusiasm and strengthen commitment to one’s current job. We all have the capacity to bloom where we are planted. It all starts with the decision to head in that direction. A person with a high level of commitment is unfazed. Disappointments and frustrations are regarded as mere parts of life. It takes maturity and discipline, and it obviously takes time. Here are some suggestions on how to nurture your commitment toward work:

 

Have a goal. It gives clarity to your vision, articulates desires and purpose for doing something—which compels and motivates you to move forward and stay focused. There are goals such as: live a dream, personal fulfillment, career growth, recognition, financial stability and independence, contribution to organization and community, and so on.

 

On a scale of one to 10, a caterer of 25 years ranks his fulfillment at 12, finding the vocation rewarding “despite the stress and tears.” An architect of 23 years professes, “What keeps me primarily focused in my job is the income to sustain my family. I also love the recognition for creating beautiful and functional structures.”

 

Our priorities change as we get older. A veteran of several companies, the chief operation officer of an IT firm says, “Before, it was about prestige, compensation and career advancement. Now it's about a job that keeps me challenged and engaged.” After working in a travel agency for 13 years, a nurse reflects on her six-year career, “My goal is to help others. Working with doctors and patients adds meaning to my work.”

 

Without a goal, we easily get sidetracked, get caught up in stress and give up too quickly.

 

Be resilient. The only thing constant in life is change. Adaptable individuals can shift gears and recover from setbacks. The general manager of a firm points out, “[O]ne needs to accept and embrace [change]. Although fear is present, one must still execute plans.”

 

Resilient people can direct their behavior because they master their thoughts and are able to keep things in perspective.

 

View challenges as character-building events. Even when we love what we do, patience and commitment can dwindle. Difficult people, stressful environments, a heavy workload, competition, a constant need to innovate and produce something better are examples of challenges we face. A popular saying likens certain people to tea bags, whose true strength emerges in hot water.

 

Sometimes, it’s simpler to accept people and circumstances as they are and focus on what we can control: our reactions. A bank executive of 15 years shares, “I pray when work gets toxic and overwhelming. I remind myself not to stress too much about things that are beyond my control.”

An insurance associate of 15 years says, “I love my job because of the flexibility of time and unlimited income I get. But it’s not a walk in the park. You deal with difficult clients, rejections and cancelled appointments. I am now a more patient and persevering person.”




Developing people skills and seeking life balance are two more tips from this life coach. Learn more about them in the August issue of HealthToday magazine, out now in newsstands and bookstores.









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