Changing Your Future

When people take action and focus on their careers, it’s almost always in response to dissatisfaction they’re experiencing at work. And that dissatisfaction often gets in the way of finding a solution. You’re so consumed with what isn’t working that it’s difficult to let go of it, clear your head, and focus on what you really want.

Ruminating on what isn’t working, spending time evaluating what others are (or aren’t) doing, and imagining that it will be difficult to resolve your situation saps your energy. It also takes a surprising amount of time and can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have no energy to address where you want to go so you just remain there.

Focus. Use your time wisely. Prioritize yourself.

Tackle your personal thinking projects first thing in the morning—come to work early and start the day by putting yourself first. It is a powerful message to send yourself and it puts control back in your hands. You’re being proactive instead of reacting to the events of the day and the agendas of others. Decide what you really want, and don’t discount the possibility that you may find it within your present company. If you’re clear on what you want, you may just need to tweak your job duties to increase your happiness at work.

If you catch yourself going down an energy-wasting thinking path, stop. And if you can’t stop immediately, give yourself a time limit: “I am going to spend 5 more minutes trashing x, y, z and then I will move on to more productive things.” Sometimes you need to process what is happening to move beyond it—but keep those thoughts to yourself, try to be objective in what you’re saying, and then move on to what you can control…your future.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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