Just because you can pursue a goal, dream, or promotion doesn’t mean you should. Unfortunately, many well-meaning people give us advice on what we “should” do, but it’s not necessarily a good fit for us.
The problem is that only we know what we should pursue and how we should go about pursuing it, but we won’t often give ourselves the space to figure it out. As a result, we don’t tap into our own inner wisdom and answers. Instead, we keep moving toward the “next thing” or the next position because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do.
But what if that strategy is actually taking you further away from who you are, and what will truly fulfill you?
Last week I launched The Clarity Community, a coaching community that helps smart women figure out their “next” surrounded by others looking to do the same thing, but each on their own terms. On our first call, I repeatedly heard that women want to find themselves again and be true to themselves while pursuing their next, but they don’t know what that is.
I’ve been pondering this lately as I’ve been working with my clients to get clear on their next steps in career and life. And I’ve come up with a question that I’d like to share with you:
Why is it important to you?
Anytime you are you have a choice of direction, options to consider, or decisions to be made about what could be next for you, ask yourself to get clear what you’d get out of it, not from a surface level, but from a deeper, more emotional level.
If you are considering the next step in your career, determine what that next step does for you. Be curious about what it gives you, as well as what it takes away. Understanding if it aligns with who you are or adds more stress or makes it more complicated for you and your life.
Does it align with the other areas of life that are important to you, or does it perhaps take you in another direction that isn’t favorable?
Here’s a brain twister in the form of a Cartesian Quadrant. Consider the answers to these four questions to help answer the question of importance.
We’ll use the promotion as an example.
1. What will happen if you do get the promotion?
Maybe you make more money, and it helps support your household in a bigger way. It might make you feel more validated for your efforts. It could be an essential step to helping more people. Be clear on what the answers are. Do these answers align with your career values?
2. What will happen if you don’t get the promotion?
It could be that you might feel that it would be ok. You might be disappointed, but perhaps it was a big stretch for you, and you’re ok not getting it now. But, on the other hand, it could be a good practice run, and you’d get some good visibility by putting your name in the ring, and that’s good information too.
3. What won’t happen if you do get the promotion
Maybe you’re not home as much. This could be that it would require more help at home and perhaps more time away from the family. On the other hand, if you are aware of this going in, it could be a choice you are willing to make, and you have a plan in place. Or, it could be that family is something you don’t wish to sacrifice.
4. What won’t happen if you don’t get the promotion?
It might be that I won’t have to travel as much, or I don’t get to purchase my dream home just yet.
Take these questions and put them at the top of a piece of paper, and tease out your answers. Be curious about what comes up and how it helps you make decisions aligned with who you are and what’s most important to you.
Many times we are so in our heads that we can’t find our answers. This process helps you to dig under the surface of your next choice and tap into your own inner Clarity, and get the answers you deserve!