Considering a career change? Thinking of going for that promotion? Looking for a job? Something is motivating you to consider your options, but have you asked yourself the one question which once answered really identifies what would happen if you didn't pursue the change? That question is simple in content yet profound in context: What do you have at stake? In other words, what do you have to lose in your life if you do NOT seek this transition?
I ask this question of all my clients and it causes them to pause and really think about what aspect of their life they are putting on the line. One of my clients said she had her health at stake. She knew if she didn't change some aspects of her position at work her health issues would increase. As a mid-level manager she worked 60+ hours a week, was continually stressed and ate mostly from the vending machines or nearby fast-food restaurants.
She liked her company and career direction so didn't want to leave or change careers. However, she couldn't go on working at the same level of intensity without jeopardizing her well being and life balance. This may be a common experience for many people, but it's a valid reason to seek change in our lives rather than the change happening to us - like a heart attack, diabetes, or the inability to work at all.
Regardless of our circumstances we all have something important to our vitality at stake that if we did not pursue making a difference we would lose. What do you have at stake? That which if it were lost, given up, sacrificed, could have a debilitating effect on your life or immediate future?
Let's take a look at the change you are considering: Is it a career change? Promotion? Employment? Choose one for this exercise and ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the impact your current situation has on you?
2. What do you get out of not doing anything about it?
3. If you did nothing about your situation, what would happen?
4. What is missing, that which if it existed, would make a difference in your situation?
5. What would be the result if you put what was missing into the picture?
The client whose health was at risk considered these questions and the answers made her very aware of what she had at stake, which then motivated her into action.
The impact of her current situation was on her health, fitness and partnership eligibility. What she was getting out of not doing anything was the bliss of being in denial and ignoring the issues which was really a way not to be responsible for herself or her future outcomes. If she didn't do anything she risked becoming a diabetic, obese and as she put it, pitched out of the dating game. What was missing for her was courage and a personal belief she could have a different yet fulfilling position at her company and better health. She saw if she reached out to her friends, coworkers and spoke to her boss about her condition and her future goals, she could make a difference in her current situation.
We worked together on a Well Being Campaign that included her creating a job description for herself that met the needs of her responsibilities yet gave her more life balance. Together we rehearsed what she would say to her boss about this new position by creating a powerful context for her to share, from such her boss would be inspired to help her make a difference.
Also, she started talking to family members and friends about joining a weight-loss program with her. She knew if she had support and people to hold her accountable for what she said she wanted, she would be more motivated to lose weight and reach her targeted health goals.
She reinvented herself as a courageous woman who believed in her personal happiness. She talked to her boss about her idea for a new position and the impact her current position was having on her life and health. He was so impressed with her presentation and enthusiasm he adjusted his budget to create the new position for her and gave her a raise! Also, to date she has lost 50 pounds and recently posted a profile on a popular online dating site.
Originally when asked, she said her health was at stake. However, when she distinguished what she would lose if she didn't address her weight she saw her job, her future in a long-term loving relationship and more importantly her integrity to herself. Any of these could have been what she had at stake and any of these would have shifted regardless of what she changed. Taking some aspect of our life we have at stake will profoundly change the direction of many areas of our lives, guaranteed, it will change anything in our lives to the good, to the dynamic, to the fulfilling.
She created a goal which in return provided her a future to live into. Having a future we declare creates a fulfilled life - thus beginning a brand new playing field for our game of life, career and relationships.
By answering the questions about what she had at stake and what could happen if she didn't do anything compared to what could happen if she were in action to change her situation, she was motivated to make a difference in her situation. She didn't want the results she would get if she continued to do nothing. Through the coaching she fully distinguished she is ultimately responsible for her happiness and alone was, and continues to be, her main motivator.