Are you thinking for yourself?

Many of us like to think of ourselves as being independent. Independent in our actions, spoken and written words as well as our thoughts. Attaining a level of independence is certainly a goal many of us have. Although getting there will require you to ultimately do something you may not be prepared to do, or well prepared for. Making decisions on your own.

When we are growing up, we need to heavily rely upon others with our decision making. Namely because we do not have enough experience to consider the potential consequences of certain decision paths. More importantly their outcomes.

Regardless of your age, think back to when you realized you were both old enough and capable enough to make a decision without having to consult with everyone around you. Everyone will have a different response. In fact, some people’s attainment might be decades apart from one another. It’s also possible, you might not have reached this level yet. Although you or others would expect you have done so. It’s OK if you are not there yet, as there are likely contributing factors as to why you have not arrived.

Seeking other people’s opinions, advice or direction is something everyone does. There are also times in our life when we should be doing this, and other times when we ourselves will have to be the one we consult with.

When we achieve the point of being able to rely upon our own judgement, sans others weighing in, consider yourself arriving at a place in life that many people struggle to get to. This applies to both work and our personal life. In fact, most of our life decisions will be far more difficult to make than our workplace ones. This is typically due to the fact there are more emotions tied into them.

Leaders of both workplace and sports teams (e.g., coaches) are accustomed to making decisions with others involved. Often, they need a consensus of opinions to make sure their final decision will serve the majority of the people impacted by the decision in a positive manner. Not always, as they too will need to make difficult, gut wrenching decisions that will negatively impact others. Naturally, no one wants to be in the position of doing this, but their role requires them to own the responsibility for doing so.

Upon considering this topic, I thought about how do people learn to become better at, and ultimately able to completely make independent decisions? If I was asked to come up with a word to do this, it would be experience. It’s unavoidable to think you can attain being able to think independently without this. The conundrum for some, and those who have struggled to get to the point where they are, and without having achieved being able to think for themselves can be altered. If they want it to be.

Let’s say you or someone you know is in need of being able to think for themselves. Even at the most basic level. Ultimately at the critical thinking level. There are steps they will need to take in order to reach this achievement, and they will need to be willing to put in the effort to get there. If they are not, they will remain in their purgatory of always relying on others to assist them with all of their decision making.

So, if you want to begin your journey of being able to think for yourself, or help someone else do this, below are some suggestions I have for you to consider.

  • What is your favorite color? I’m sure you were able to answer this without consulting with someone. Ultimately you want to be able to reach a point where you won’t have to consult with someone with more difficult decisions to make.
  • Think of your favorite hobby you do when you have spare time. One that is family friendly. How did you determine this hobby was something you enjoyed doing? It was likely introduced or suggested to you at some point. Then you determined you made this decision to continue doing it. Perhaps because it provided you with some type of benefit (e.g., it was relaxing, artistic, helped someone else).
  • We all make numerous decisions on a daily basis. Try challenging yourself to see if you can make half of your decisions without consulting someone else on them. Ultimately work up to one hundred percent over a self-determined time line.
  • Consider a difficult decision you recently made, and that you conferred with someone about. Could you have made the decision without them? If not, what were the factors that contributed to you needing input from this person?
  • Are you challenging yourself or not challenging yourself enough to create opportunities for you to practice independent decision making? If you do not have enough challenging opportunities, is it due to a factor you have stopped to think about why this is the case? For many, it’s fear of failure. Or, ironically, perhaps fear of succeeding.

Eventually everyone will reach the point of being able to think for themselves. Especially if they are aware of this as a goal they wish to attain. Even if it is much later in your life than you think it should be.

We all reach different achievement milestones at the time which serves us best, and based on our life experiences which contribute to them. My hope is that you will reach this goal if you desire to do so. If not, that’s your decision. However, I will tell you, your career and life can be extraordinarily more rewarding when you reach this achievement.

Tags: #Business #Critical Thinking #Decision Making #Success #Work #Thinking for yourself #Independent thinking

Feeling trapped by a title or industry?

Perhaps it’s the ongoing Pandemic, but I feel like I have hit a wall with being trapped inside for too long. The more challenging part of this realization, is that I don’t see my personal situation changing any day soon. Yes, I know it will, and that plenty of others feel this way too, but patience is not one of my specialties. Results are, which makes feeling like I am trapped even tougher.

Ok, thanks for letting me vent. I feel better now, and can get on with talking about another form of feeling, or being trapped professionally and what you can do about this. For me, having a solution, even just one, makes me feel empowered and able to conquer any obstacle in my way. In terms of a person who is feeling defined by the work they do, or the industry they are in was something I was having a conversation about this morning.

The conversation was in fact energizing. It also made me consider some alternatives to how I could offer advice to others who might be feeling trapped. Either personally or professionally by the role they play in an organization.

Although you might not consider people at the top of an organization would feel trapped or isolated in their roles, I can tell you for a fact and through experience this isn’t the case. Many top executives or leaders have experienced a sense of being defined by their roles, the organization they work for, or the industry they are in. Many of them are proud of having achieved the roles they are in, but many of these same people are not experiencing the satisfaction you might imagine they would be.

I was reading an article the other day and came across an interesting title. The title was Chief Wellness Officer. The role was loosely defined, and underscored the fact this was not a human resource role. I found that to be interesting, but given the mental health crisis occurring in our society currently, and the fact it is being exacerbated by the Pandemic, I thought this newly defined role was refreshing to learn about. Also, quite timely.

Although the definition of the Chief Wellness Officer role wasn’t clearly defined, it struck me as a moment in time when reality and the needs of employees were catching up to be in synch. Now, the challenge will be to see this role better defined and implemented.

Let’s circle back to the situation you might be in where you are feeling unfairly defined by your title. If you are in a supportive role, there is a greater chance you are feeling trapped in playing a follower role, versus a leadership one. However, not everyone is meant to take on the role of a leader, but if you think you are, and you not in this role yet, I guarantee you know what I am referring to. Now, let’s imagine for a moment no one had a title. What would this type of work environment look like, and how would it exist without structure and by well-defined rules to play by? It might be completely chaotic, or it might flow well. Most would say it would be chaotic, but I would bet they have not experienced the type of work environment which would make them think differently.

If you are wondering how to do what I’ll refer to as reassemble the direction of your title or the industry you are in, one of the things you will need to do is to embody one word. That word is “pivot”. It’s become one of my favorite words. One in fact I have embraced and lived by as a guiding support the last four years as a business entrepreneur. I’ll credit a wise woman name Anita Brearton for introducing me to both this word, and the concept of it. Thank you, Anita, for sharing this with me at exactly the time I needed to hear it.

Although by definition the word pivot is clearly defined, the exact direction you go in from your pivot will depend. It will depend on how you want to leverage your skills, your knowledge and your network to help you to head you in a more preferable direction. I like the word pivot because it factors in leveraging all of your acquired experience and then taking it into the direction of your preference. Whether that be into a new role with a completely different type of title, or potentially a different industry.

Since I generally provide suggestions in each of my articles, I’ll continue with this tradition. Here are some ways you can pivot in your current title or industry.

  • Clearly define and write down why you want to change from the role or industry you are in.
  • Do you feel held back, incomplete, underutilized or invisible in the role you are playing? Consider the factors contributing to this. Are the majority of the reasons based on circumstances beyond your current control (e.g., You want to own a surf shop and you live in Oklahoma)?
  • It’s easier to cast blame on others for why you are potentially stuck or trapped in your role or industry. Honestly think about whether this may or may not be true.
  • Are you leveraging your network to help you to pivot? Have you expressed to anyone that this is something you want to do?
  • You know the old adage of “Those without a plan, are setting themselves up to fail”. Make sure you have some version of a plan to set yourself up for success.

I could add numerous other suggestions, but at some point, if you are going to seek and change a situation you are in, you have to be the one in charge of doing so. Yes, you can ask and should seek support, but ultimately only you can be the one to put your foot on the accelerator to move forward. Just make sure you have enough fuel or that your battery life is charged up enough to take you to where you ultimately want to go. I’ll see you there!

TAGS: #Leadership #Management #CareerAdvice #Motivation #ChangeManagement #PeopleDevelopment #Business #AnitaBrearton #Success #Howtopivot #Pivotingyourcareer #Pivotingyourexperience #Mindset #Professionalnetwork #Pandemic #Feelingtrapped #Feelingtrappedinyourrole