The past few years have not turned out the way we thought they would, have they? On New Year’s Day 2020, none of us would have predicted the significant upheaval we were about to face. Even now, the twists keep coming, it’s exhausting and overwhelming. It’s easy to feel depleted and defeated and maintaining career resilience is challenging.
So what can you do to support yourself, and those who depend on you, during difficult and uncertain times. Almost every conversation I have, with clients, colleagues and friends, includes discussion about “how we’re coping”. The tone of these conversations varies from mild curiosity to significant concern for the current social and economic landscape.
Unplanned changes to your working life delivers a range of negative thoughts and emotions. Confusion, disappointment, frustration and anger, to name a few. And while this feels uncomfortable, it’s important to understand it’s completely normal.
When you’re facing unplanned changes in your career, focus on what you can control. Yourself and your immediate environment. Managing these things increases your confidence and with confidence you build career resilience.
I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.Maya Angelou
Faced with uncertainty in your career, these actions will help you build resilience so you can emerge on the other side with confidence –
1. Beware of your thoughts
This is super-important because it’s so easy to fall down the negativity rabbit hole. Spending a lot of time alone and “in your head” leads to unhelpful thinking. Get curious and assess what’s occupying your thoughts. Where they’re unhelpful, what steps you can take to minimise them? If your colleagues are caught in a cycle negative discussion, ask for a change to the tone of your conversations. If that’s not possible, aim to minimise your interaction with those who bring you down. Identifying and arresting negative thinking is a difficult habit to break. But it’s one of the most rewarding practices you can put in place to increase your resilience.
2. Get energised
Fill your tanks with the habits, actions and behaviours that provide you with the most energy. This one’s a bit of a no-brainer as we know we feel happier and are more motivated when we’re energised. But if it were easy, none of us would be suffering career burnout, right? Start with an audit of your energy “boosters” and “drainers”. In particular identify those “drainers” disguised as “boosters” (hello snacks, online shopping and Netflix!). Find “boosters” that leave you feeling refreshed and cheerful, build them into your daily schedule and maximise your energy levels.
3. Meet your emotions
Facing unexpected change drives a range of emotions, some of which you might not have experienced previously. This is normal! You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t experiencing the full range of feelings. Accept your feelings are not unusual or bad. Let yourself feel these feelings. Talk about how you’re feeling (reach out to specialist helplines or professional support, if needed). And, listen to what your emotions are telling you. Difficult times lead to growth, and this is the opportunity that lies on the other side of what you’re dealing with today.
4. Manage your space
Our homes are our sanctuaries, and this has never been truer. These days they’re often fulfilling many roles – work, school, gym, cafe, cinema etc. It’s important your daily environment works to support you. Take a look around and consider what changes might improve how your space feels, functions or flows. It could be as simple as clearing that pile of papers on the kitchen bench, or getting a new plant for the room you spend the most time in. Make a habit of doing one small thing each day (or week). You’ll be surprised how this one little practice provides a sense of accomplishment and improves self-confidence.
5. Engage and connect
Social connection is a priority for our well-being. So, find a way to engage with your family, friends and colleagues in spite feeling uncertainty and overwhelm. Use technology if you don’t feel like the extra effort of an in-person social occasion; check in with those you care about. Reach out and let someone know you’re thinking about them. It’s an absolute guarantee to make you both feel good.
You never know what circumstances lie just around the corner. Having the career resilience to bounce back in times of uncertainty is critically important. If you’re facing unexpected career upheaval that’s leading to a cycle of negative thinking or feeling exhausted, I’d love to provide you the support you need. Let’s have a virtual coffee and discuss the right next steps for you.