Back on July 9th I read an interesting article titled “How to Fix a Career in the Dumps”, by Grace L. Williams of The Wall Street Journal. In it, she provides excerpts from an interview with author and management consultant, Michelle DeAngelis. Ms. DeAngelis wrote the book Get A Life That Doesn’t Suck. Let me preface this post by saying that I have not yet read the book. But there are two points, actually three, that just jump right out at me and beg me to comment and reiterate to the Workforce50.com audience.
Many of our readers are in economic and varying levels of personal distress. Many feel as though they have lost control of their lives, they feel hopelessness and they feel confused. Whether unemployed or fearing unemployment, there are three points that Ms. DeAngelis shares with us in her interview that can help each of us take better care of ourselves by managing our stress through good times and bad.
First, close the Gap. She describes the gap as the space between what someone thinks and what they do. Each thought is like a promise we make to ourselves. It makes perfect sense. Have you ever made a promise to yourself only to not follow through and take action? Then, the lack of action makes you feel guilty, lazy, unhappy and miserable because you let the one person you should be able to count on down. Look in the mirror. You just let yourself down. And who suffers? You do. Ms. DeAngelis thinks that this is where our personal misery lives – in the gap we create for ourselves.
I can tell you that this concept really struck home for me. The things that bother me on a day to day basis are those things that I don’t follow through on that I’ve decided at some point are very important to me or, better yet, to someone else. Not following through on a thought or idea or plan makes me feel lazy and incapable. I can either inflate or deflate the reliance I have on myself by taking appropriate actions. So, close the gap.
Next, an important point she makes in the article is one about personal identity. Many of us tend to make a strong connection between our job or position or work and our personal identity. I’ve seen this many times with people approaching retirement. Their identity is all wrapped up in their position. They live for their title and all the stuff surrounding the title – assistants, staff, professional and community stature. These are all externally driven circumstances rather than an internal identity based on who the person really is. I remember back when my father retired from the position of bank president (successful, founding president actually) he learned pretty quickly who his real friends were. His real friends were not the ones hovering around their buddy, the title. Dad actually made the transition easily because he always maintained his identity as an exceptional (my word, he’s more humble) human being. And that’s still who he is 27 years later. So, to care for yourself in the long run, hitch your identity to the internal you. You have much more control over that.
Finally, many of us feel we are at the mercy of someone else or the organization or circumstances. This diminishes our feeling of self control or personal power. By recognizing that life is a series of choices that we make each day, we return the control to ourselves. Actively look at choices before you on a day to day basis. Make good choices. Make good choices for you and your circumstances.
Read the entire article at http://bit.ly/13q6NA .