Submitted by: Big Little Wolf
Defining Personal and Professional Goads
When it comes to resetting professional goals following divorce, we may not want to rock the boat because we’re shaken by the personal changes we’ve been through. But the dynamics of money, logistics, location, kids, and schools may require a careful look at work, and how it fits into your new, reassembled lifestyle.
You don’t necessarily have to run out and secure the services of a life coach, though it’s not a bad idea! I had several sessions with a very skilled life coach, and she was of immediate assistance, opening my eyes to new avenues and approaches. I would seek out her services again, much as I would use the services of a psychologist or other counselor. These are professionals who are trained to help clarify and redirect our understanding of what we need, and possible actions to be taken.
Like most people, I imagine I’ve put mixed signals out into the universe, and usually not intentionally. Certainly with men (sorry guys – my bad), and possibly in the professional realm as well. After all, we don’t always know why we do what we do. And it’s only natural that we feel our way along, trying a variety of jobs, careers, roles, and variations on a “self.” This is how we learn what we like and what we don’t, where we excel and where we coast.
When it comes to career, I once pursued a traditional corporate path. My choices provided tremendous challenge, world travel, ample income, and suited me at a certain time in life. That route also allowed me to pay off my college and graduate school loans – something I couldn’t have done on a beginning writer’s pay. Yet my heart was always in writing. So to reconcile that, I wrote at night for myself, and I incorporated writing into every aspect of my work that I could.
Do you know your passion?
I’ve tried my hand at a variety of jobs in the business world, including as a manager in marketing and technology, as an independent consultant, as well as in journalism, freelancing. I’ve also volunteered at my children’s schools, and over the years, my passion became more difficult to deny. When I’m involved in anything to do with communications – writing, speaking, educating, motivating – I suspect that I shine, and it shows.
In those instances, I know what I want. I know my passion. And I’m pursuing it.
- Do you have a passion? Can you define it?
- Are you ready to embrace it, or find ways to incorporate it into your new life?
What if the professional side of things seems easy, but the personal side keeps slip-sliding away?
For a lot of us, personal goals are hard to define, and if you can’t define them, how can you achieve them? I know I’ve struggled with this, and as a parent and a writer, I’ve forced myself to be clearer in articulating what I want. I try to be as specific as possible, while staying flexible. No easy task! It requires setting goals that are achievable, even if some are ambitious. It also means setting limits.
By way of example, here are a few of my current goals and limits.
- Supporting my sons in their dreams, until they’re off to college
- Setting clear performance expectations and “wiggle room” as they grow
- Writing daily, in a set amount of time, on a variety of subjects
- Expanding my universe of smart, compassionate women
- Focusing more actively on my health and well-being
- Staying open to opportunities to grow professionally
- No more all-nighters, whatever the project
You may note that the romantic part of the equation is not on that list. It isn’t off the table; it simply isn’t a priority at this time, and that feels just fine. My focus is on finishing the job of parenting, living in a healthy manner, and filling my life with more people with whom I’ll be comfortable and happy.
When you’re a single parent, or simply no longer part of a couple, setting goals of any sort is more difficult. There’s no one to give you the “you can do it” speech, or to take the reins and give you a break. And we all know that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Flexibility is essential, because there will be curve balls, adjustments, or you may just change your mind. But you still need to identify what you want. How else can you possibly get it?
What do you want out of life?
So what do you want out of life? I know, I know. It’s a big question! But think about it. You’re in a new phase, and big questions open up dreams. So go on. No holds barred. There’s nothing too silly, too small, too personal, or too ambitious, and no such thing as a dream that is unworthy. Some of the seemingly simplest dreams – to love and be loved – are the most elusive, and we all know it.
So what do you want out of life?
- Marriage and family? Is it something you want to try again? If yes, under what circumstances, having the experience of marriage previously?
- A new “you?” Perhaps you want a mini makeover for your new life that may be as much about health and well-being as it is about your appearance.
- A change of address? To a new region, neighborhood, or a house with fewer memories? Would you prefer a cabin in the mountains? A loft in the city?
- Do you know what your dreams are, or what they were? Is it time you dusted them off, surveyed carefully, and considered refurbishing a few for the future?
Managing change and making room for more
Don’t get me wrong. None of this is easy, or uncomplicated. That’s especially the case if you’re still raising children. Divorce is change enough for most of us, and the ripple effects can be dramatic. But as things settle down (and they will), don’t settle. Take the opportunity that change affords to become a self you may have a lost, or a self you always wanted to be. Yes, you’re a little older, a lot wiser, and you are most definitely different. Take time to assess. If it works for you – try a life coach, a psychologist, or other counselor to assist.
Making change and managing ongoing change are not the same things. To facilitate positive change that is ongoing, you need to understand your past patterns that are effective and healthy, and those that are not. Think about what you want, now, in this evolving version of you. Consider who you are, who you want to become, and what options are available.
Isn’t it time you traded in the life you do not lead for the life you want? It may not happen overnight, but don’t be afraid to dream.
These days, Big Little Wolf (”Ms. Big”) reflects on life and her Daily Plate of Crazy, where she writes essays on everything – sometimes serious, sometimes fun – whatever strikes her on a given day as interesting, unusual, entertaining, or of concern.
Opportunity is Knocking: Will You Make Excuses?