Two of my clients came to me recently with different problems, but a similar obstacle. One wanted to change her job; the other, her career. Yet both felt stuck and frustrated because they haven’t accomplished the change they are each seeking.
Been there? I certainly have. When we’re in the middle of any kind of change instigation, the waiting can be absolutely miserable. The pursuit of the next thing seems insatiable, and sometimes feels like you’ll never get there.
I can remember this treading water sort of experience when I’ve changed careers and jobs in the past. Honestly, it sucks. Not getting that new job perpetuates the experience of perceived failure day after day. It’s tiring and all-consuming.
In my experience, though, I have been able to go through a major shift in mindset when I wrote down everything I’m doing to pursue my goal. It started when I was trying to get a job in marketing but really had no experience or degree to backup my pursuit.
So, after every application and email and informational interview inquiry, I wrote down the actions I completed that moved me toward my goal. It could be updating your LinkedIn profile, listening to a podcast about an industry you’re interested in or contacting a friend of a friend who’s hiring for a really cool job.
Write it all down. I did this, expecting to only go at it for a couple weeks until I got tired of it. But instead, I experienced a really awesome side effect. After days and weeks of recording even the smallest actions I took toward my goal, I finally could feel the progress I’d made.
It can be easy to downplay or forget about the many small steps we take, on our way toward accomplishing great things. Writing them down allows you to celebrate the process, instead of feeling consumed by it.
And, a bonus: it keeps a paper trail of who you’ve reached out to and when, giving you precise records for when to follow-up with certain folks.
Progress harnesses momentum. And momentum is a very key characteristic employers want to see; it shows commitment, organization and work ethic. By recording your progress, it’ll make this in-between waiting period, which would normally go painfully slow, feel so much faster in the end.
Are you in the waiting and wondering place? Keep track of your progress, every little step toward the next thing, even if only for a week or two. It could shape your next career move more than you’d ever expect.