ABCs Of Your Career Journey – Y Is For Yesterday

By E. Elizabeth Carter

 

When we look back on our lives, do you find yourself regretting that you did not come as far in your career journey as you had hoped to by now? You can convince yourself that there were external factors that hindered your journey but how many times can we play victim and not just accept that we are the problem? How do we stop procrastinating and instead become more proactive? What motivates some while others can barely get through the day?

The key thing is motivation. To start, we have to reflect on the “why”. Why are we so determined to travel down the path a certain way when there may be other options? Why are we even considering this goal now? Why is this goal even relevant and important in my life now? Why do we feel compelled to continue when maybe we should just stop trying?

The issue is that we may have regrets if we don’t achieve this goal or follow a certain route. Regret can be a very powerful emotion and can make us feel we missed out on a better opportunity. What we should do is allow ourselves to let go of some things that we wished we had achieved, however, some may remember these regrets years later. If we can’t change yesterday, why should we let it affect us today and even more importantly hinder our efforts in the future?

We may also be affected by outside influencers i.e. parents, significant others, teachers, etc. that make us think that we should do things a certain way. Although they have our best interests at heart, they also may be desirous of living vicariously through us. They also may have strong beliefs that “this is the way it worked for me so it should be the same for you”. In addition, others may inadvertently be sabotaging your efforts by saying things that cause you to doubt yourself or make you feel it is not worth your time to pursue that goal. As an example, it was suggested to me when I was younger not to bother getting my MBA because the thought was that I would get married, have children, and be a stay-at-home mother. I pushed back on that idea and although it was a tremendous amount of work while working full-time it is one of my greatest accomplishments that I am very proud of.

It is difficult at times to find the drive within us to keep moving forward. We have to accept the fact that some days may be very challenging. We may start our day receiving an email that we did not get a job offer or the search is on hold. Others may be told that raises and bonuses are frozen. Others may realize that the contacts that they thought would be a great help have failed to do anything for us. Or maybe we just want to have fun and not do anything productive.

You can’t change the past but you can plan for the future so figure out what lesson(s) you have learned from all of your yesterdays and make the changes that make sense. Good luck!

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