A friend shared recently that every seven years she goes through a change that impacts her life and career in new ways. She looks forward to the new lens through which she sees life and embraces the process of transition. The human body is constantly changing at a cellular level so the process of transformation runs deep within our very being.

As a career and leadership coach, I work with many individuals who are stalled or stuck in a stagnant routine of life and career that zaps energy and enthusiasm.

A simple exercise can transform your world. Keep, Stop, Start helps you clarify and define what’s important to you on a personal and/or professional level.

The Keep, Stop, Start reflection will help you unpack what’s working, what’s not, and what you want to seek out to make your life uniquely better.

Carve out reflection time to consider this exercise and discuss your findings with a trusted friend, mentor, or coach who can help you activate your plan and provide support and accountability.

  • Keep. Identify and continue to do the things that strengthen your career and/or personal life. This is positive pattern recognition. What are you doing that is having a powerful impact on your life and career? Spend some time journaling your Keep intentions.
  • Stop. Great leaders are effective and quick when it comes to recognizing negative patterns. Ask yourself if there are any thorns in your side — any frustrations you keep having to deal with? Any counterproductive measures you could eliminate or change? What has a negative impact on your career or personal life? Journal your Stop intentions.
  • Start. What actions or activities should you start doing that will increase your effectiveness and fulfillment? How can you enhance your personal life? What would you do if you were not afraid? Journal your Start intentions.

Consider the people in your world who can serve on your personal board of directors to discuss your findings. Offer to reciprocate and coach someone else through the same process and share the gift of this reflective exercise.

Getting stuck is not uncommon. Change in life is constant and comes by choice or necessity. You always have the power to design a new path on your personal journey and create a life and career that brings you meaning and fulfillment.

Here are some additional coaching questions to help you navigate change so you can design your future and not let it happen by default.

 

  • Am I being my authentic self in my career and personal life? If not, what is holding me back?
  • What would I do more of or less of if I had the option?
  • What would I do if I were not afraid? What do I need to do in order to make this a reality? 

 

Consider a stretch goal and write it down. Share it with your circle of trust and consider what small and incremental step you can take each day to move intentionally towards that goal. Goals should inspire you and not overwhelm so be realistic about how you work towards a goal at a steady and intentional pace.

Remember that designing your future is not a linear or one-solution process and you need not do it alone. Ask for help and provide help in return. There is no shame in asking for help and wanting to create a future that better aligns with your values, interests, and strengths. Having the courage to reach out to those you trust and ask them to support you on the journey will reveal that others are also on a quest to design a new future. Having a support system is empowering.

Input from others will help you gain clarity and focus but honor what you want and have the courage to define success on your own terms. Don’t put limits on your design plans and give yourself permission to test drive multiple new options. You need not have a perfectly linear plan. Most success happens after a myriad of trial and error and failing forward. Think like an entrepreneur and learn the art of recovery and resilience when you fail to unlock the teachable moment that will propel you forward.

Don’t let the inertia of life carry you into the future. Regain your control and design the future you deserve to enjoy.