Every year at this time we are bombarded by stories of new life and new beginnings. For many of us, excited by the coming of a new year, these stories inspire us to resolve to make changes in our lives and careers. We may have resolved to find a new career/job, to add to our leadership toolbox, or become healthier.
Now it’s January, and we go back to work and our workaday routines. The cold reality of January has set in. The obstacles to our intentions loom a little larger. The lightness in our hearts when we made those resolutions feels as remote as the holidays. Why is that?
There is a side of personal transformation that is less talked about. It’s the dark underside of the story, namely that the change happened because something in their life was not working. In other words, they were failing. Most people hate change, and it was only when the discomfort of failure became so acute that they took action.
They took a clear-eyed look at their lives, acknowledged failure, and moved forward. In all likelihood, it didn’t happen all at once. Although movies and books don’t depict this, confronting feelings of failure was probably repeated several times each day, maybe even more. Feelings of failure are persistent buggers - most of us don’t just stare them down once and they never come back. Letting go of feelings of failure is a long process.
One new year, I resolved to change jobs. Yet as the month of January ended, I was faced with the realization that I hadn’t even updated my resume. As I thought about it, I realized that I was ashamed to admit to myself that I had made a mistake in taking my current job. It took several more months for me to accept that failure to the point where I could move on and act to get a better job.
What did I do differently the next time I decided to make a change?
1. Recognize that feelings of failure and shame are natural and that I was going to have them.
2. Anticipate them and develop strategies for what I was going to tell myself when they make an appearance. I developed several things that I would tell myself to neutralize those feelings.
3. Enlist support. A friend or coach to talk to about the process was invaluable. Getting someone else involved helped me to be more accountable and gave me an opportunity to talk out the effectiveness of my strategies. The discussions helped me to make my self-talk more effective.
The year is young and full of possibilities. I wish you the best in realizing your intentions in 2018.
QUESTION: What do you do when nagging feelings of failure are in your way?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi is a certified Hogan provider. She works with professionals to transform themselves into the leaders that they want to be. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.