A few years ago a client turned to me after a meeting and said he would hate to have my job. At the time and as you might expect this took me by surprise not least because the individual making the statement was himself a very successful lawyer and partner in a successful firm and actually the meeting had been very positive.
When asked to qualify why my role might present as a poisoned chalice to him he referred to the constant pressure to deliver results. One winning strategy or campaign would never be enough and that there was a constant demand for positive outcomes borne out of successfully winning work from the competition.
That might sound a bit odd certainly now we’re in such a competitive climate and expectations for delivery are not only directed at the marketers but each and every facet of the business.
What’s interesting is that this conversation stuck with me over the years. The reason is that it made me, for the first time, seriously question my own career path and if indeed the suggestion of unrelenting demand for results would make for a happy working life in the long term.
The reality of course is that there are stresses in everyone’s job from CEO, entrepreneur, director manager, homemaker, carer, doctor, parent, journalist you name it there’s pressure to be found. We can all question ourselves as to our performance, relationships, success and failures and when times have been tough with the economy many of us have been hard on ourselves or had others make unrealistic demands leading to unnecessary stress.
When I have a bad day and let’s face it we all have them, I revisit that conversation and remind myself why I do what I do and why over the years it’s proven to be a good career choice. That technique helps keep me focussed on the positives and avoids dwelling on negative thoughts that can seriously damage your working life MOJO. We all need a healthy dose of self-belief and confidence but it can be a greater challenge when events really turn against us and at those times a little external help might be required.
Questioning our own abilities can be caused by our mood and often the actions of others which can frequently be outside of our control. That doesn’t stop us worrying and spiralling into a feeding frenzy of stress as we think back to the minutiae of our working days or projects in a negative post match analysis that either finds you coming up short or blaming everyone else for their failures.
How do you overcome these thoughts and loss of confidence?
- Accept that there is a problem requiring a solution, don’t bury your head or find alternative releases such as alcohol, arguing with loved ones or pointing the finger at others.
- Seek out someone you trust and who understands you but is also capable of being clear and logical of thought and non-judgemental. Avoid engaging with a friend who will simply reflect what they think you want to hear.
- Be honest.
- If you can’t source someone consider running a self-diagnosis SWOT by looking at your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Be as honest as you can without being too negative or overly positive and glossing over the issues. The SWOT can be useful if you have someone to help you too by providing structure to your discussion.
- Be prepared to be challenged and to challenge yourself.
- List the key milestones in your career/ life that have provided the greatest moments of pride and satisfaction, remember the feeling.
- Review the current role and identify where positive changes can be made and what you can specifically influence by way of outcomes.
- Review relationships at work and how your behaviour may impact on others both positively and negatively.
- What are you passionate about, what excites you? Make a list, no matter how short that list may be we all have something that sparks our positivity and passion, remind yourself of yours.
- Looking at the working and home life what makes you happy? Find an activity that’s affordable and makes you smile and allow yourself regular opportunities to enjoy your favourite pastime.
Wherever you are in your career, just starting out, at a mid-point crossroads or towards the end you deserve to be making the very most of that time you spend on it. Re-discovering your MOJO, the element which drives you, makes you stand out from the crowd and defines who you are can provide the all-important spark to re-ignite your work life. It can also help you realise your ambitions and life goals by providing a fresh focus to the time you’re spending at work and your priorities and more effectively counteract those negative forces.