This summer has been a wonderful combination of downtime (that I’m now ready to enjoy!), experimenting with new opportunities, getting clear on what’s working and what’s not in my business and re-envisioning my plan for moving forward. I’ve covered my whiteboard in my still teenage bubbly scribble, I’ve reconnected with colleagues and mentors to discuss my progression and I hired my own coach to help me optimize this business that I already love.
When I sat down to write a future-focused vision for my first coaching session, I was swept up by the opportunity to think about the big picture instead of the tactical moves to getting there. I’ve always been more of a big-picture thinker, but coming out of the corporate hierarchy to run my own business has forced me to get granular and address the small steps to building your own dream.
A few hours after immersing myself in this exercise, relishing the clarity and ease within the life I put on paper, I realized there are many things I’m currently doing in my life and in my career that are not even mentioned in that document. I thought about a revision, but stopped myself. Do I want to include them? I have the choice. How do I want this to look and how do I want to feel in my life and in my work?
As a next step, I decided to create an energy map of all of the things I am currently doing in the business. I listed out all of my business activities in four categories:
All of the things I do that light me up. The things that make me bounce out of bed in the morning. The things I can’t wait to tell my daughters about. The moments I feel most alive.
2. Not Sure
I’ve been experimenting with these things and I enjoy them, but I’m not yet getting power and magic from them (and yes, I am seeking power and magic). I may not be skilled enough in the work yet or I may have some fear around these projects and activities that I haven’t yet addressed. I don’t have enough data to decide to do anything but stay the course with them right now. They’re not a hell yeah, but they’re also not a no.
3. Curious About
I’m hungry to learn more about these things. I may be far along in my journey with them or I may be just beginning. I don’t yet know how they will evolve into part of my work, but I am committed to staying on the path until I know.
This is not a judgment on the work, more of a statement that these activities are the wrong fit with my specific set of strengths. I’m not the person to be doing this work and by moving away from it, I’m opening up space for more that’s on my (long!) Igniting list.
Looking at my list, there was some clear low hanging fruit to address that could help me begin heading down the right path. And while the answer is not as simple as release everything on the draining list, it could be looking into what are my reasons for holding onto things on the draining list? Or where have I done that at other times in my career so I can get to the root of the problem and end a behavior pattern that’s not serving me. One of the most moving parts of this exercise was looking at that igniting list and asking myself, “What if I built my career with only those things?” I’m close enough to it right now that it’s quite easy to imagine, but the vision is peaceful and full and I’m grateful to even see these possibilities for my life.