Ep. 265 Three exercises for when you don’t know what’s next


In this week’s episode, Anna helps you get unstuck when you don’t know what’s next in your career.

What happens when, maybe for the first time in your career, you are feeling lost and you just don’t know what’s next?

In this week’s episode…

  • We walk you through 3 practical exercises to help get you unstuck
  • You are prompted to reflect on what you really want (and what you don’t want)
  • We explore what you can do to get more support

Have a listen to the full episode and start unlocking your next career move.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Success Assessment – Download this free assessment to consider what ‘success’ means to you across different areas of your life, evaluate where you are today, and prioritise the right goals to get you to where you want to be.  onestepoutside.com/success

Don’t know what’s next

So, one of my biggest insights since embarking I guess, on this personal and professional development journey, I guess I would trace it back to when I left my corporate marketing job back in 2013, which is now 10 years ago, but I’ve always been interested in personal development and wondering, wondering what life is all about. I studied philosophy at university, I always asked lots of curious impossible questions, my mum would say, when I was younger, I was interested in careers. And in fact, I was the careers and academic affairs officer at uni. And I loved all those different tests and quizzes you did when you’re younger. I was always wondering what’s next? And one of the things I’ve learned, the biggest insight is that you need to know what you want, and why before you start figuring out the how. And that’s very empowering. And it’s all well and good to say that, but what if you don’t know the what, what if you don’t know what’s next. And that’s a really scary, but also exciting moment, because it means you get to figure that out, right.

But it’s something that I think, especially when we’ve been on the same track for a really long time. And that goes for, you know, me and my corporate career. But actually, ironically, now, it also applies to having been working kind of the same kind of business for a number of years, you know, so it’s not just about quitting a particular job, it can happen at different moments in your life, it can happen when your personal circumstances change, you get married, you get divorced, you have children, you can’t have children, your children move out of the nest, and so on, right, there are lots of pivotal moments, when you suddenly go, Oh, now what. And so I want to give you three tangible exercises, and that you can have a go at doing it is hard to do by yourself this kind of reflection.

And that’s why it’s powerful to work with a coach to have that sounding board to have someone objective asking you probing and doing much more than I can give you in just a few minutes today. But I do want to give you exercises. And these have been so so powerful to me and to my clients in the years gone by, and I come back to these again again, as well. And the first one is the push pull exercise. So there are reasons, and I’ve talked about this in the context of push out of the corporate nine to five and then pull towards something else. But there are reasons why you don’t want to do what you’re doing right now. And those reasons are negatively phrased position, right, I don’t want to keep doing this commute, or work these hours. I don’t like the toxic work culture, there’s a bad boss, my values are not aligned with this company. The Hours don’t work. You know, some people work with both, you know, if we’re in the UK, here, you’re working both with Asia and America, and suddenly you’re working, you know, 24/7, the stress, the burnout, those are the push reasons why you don’t want to do this, whatever this is anymore. It could be that you’re just too comfortable, you haven’t grown, you haven’t challenged yourself in a while you kind of you’re so comfortable, you know how things work, and it’s not exciting anymore, you know, you’re not growing anymore.

So those are the push reasons. And then on the other side, you have the pull reasons, and that’s harder.

But it’s also more exciting. It’s, I want more freedom and autonomy, more flexibility, work life balance integration, and as I would call it, and time with family, I want to make a bigger difference. I want to fulfill a lifelong dream of doing X Y, Zed, or maybe even have an exciting idea, something very tangible of what I want to do. If that’s the case, maybe you don’t need this episode. But you know, there are things pulling you towards something else. So as the first exercise, I’d encourage you to sort of sit with this question. And you can even do love a bit of, you know, pros and cons and that kind of thing. But like just draw a line on your piece of paper, a vertical line to separate the two halves of the paper and put push on the top left and then pull on the right. And then maybe set yourself a timer. Two minutes, why don’t all the things you’d know you don’t want. And then two minute timer, right, all the things on the pool side are the things that you do want. So that’s the push pull reasons. And that may already be pretty enlightening in terms of, you know, even just having that piece of paper in your wallet on the wall, taking that with you to job interviews, or when you’re thinking of the next step and your business, what clients you want to work with or not work with and so on. Knowing what you do and don’t want can actually already give you some pretty good guiding principles. So that’s exercise, one push pull. The second one is your values.

And it’s one of my favorite exercises ever. I did it as one of the first ever exercises when I started training as a coach, my Greek peer coach gave it to me as an exercise she gave me a list of values and I think that’s an interesting way of doing it. You just kind of look at a list and and take the words that pop out at you. I quite like the organic approach also of just kind of going okay what’s important to me what are my values? And because that can come up with you know, you don’t want to be too influenced by if I say to you, and now I’m going to do anyway, if I say to you certain words, adventure, freedom and so on, and then you might get kind of led down that particular direction. And so before I even say any words, you know, try to really think, blank slate, grab a pen and paper, what are your What are your core values, and it’s, it’s really, it needs to be a judgment free zone. And that’s why I’m reluctant to even tell you what mine are, or you know, say, say them, because I may say them in a particular tone of voice. Obviously, there are certain things like freedom that I value a lot, and probably you do, too.

But you know, somebody might value power, or professionalism. Someone else might value generosity, creativity, I’m trying to keep a flat tone of voice, I’m not adding any judgment. Because the point is, you don’t, no one’s going to see this.

By the way, if we work together, obviously, I would see it but it’s fully confidential. You don’t have to choose things that you think you should choose. If prosperity and significance and I don’t know, I’m trying to leadership, you know, finance, whatever, if those are important to you, then those are important to you. If it spiritualism if it’s self respect, Grace, gratitude, justice, you know, that doesn’t matter what other people think of those things that they’re important to you. So the exercise is to have those kind of guiding principles values of knowing, well, no family is a core value family first, I’m always going to be loyal to my family. And that’s going to take precedence over any job, or even perhaps friendship, even, you know, external obligations, and so on. Right. So that’s just something that will really help you to decide going forwards. And, you know, to use a metaphor of juggling balls to decide which balls you can drop or have to drop, because the other ones are kind of non negotiable, and really cannot and must not be dropped. And so it can be powerful. And there are other things we can do to kind of dig deeper into this together. But you know, thinking back at momentous occasions in your life and understanding what were the values that were driving you, they’re both positive highlights, and the negative because that will really highlight him sorry to use the word highlight twice in different senses, but that will really bring to light, what values are important to you, and, and what perhaps, needs to be more present in your life. So that’s the values exercise, the first is push pool. Second is values. And again, just literally grab a pen and paper, maybe three minutes on this timer, just write down the words you can find lists online, you know, but it’s, it’s doesn’t matter if you don’t have to worry about the semantics. So this value is not value. You know, the point is, it’s important to you, and it’s kind of a guiding principle, I usually say, I think three To be honest, so maybe biased, because three is my lucky number, up to five more than that, and it becomes you know, just a shopping list of value everything. And it needs to be specific enough to to actually guide your decisions, to be clear that IE this and not that, for example, this is my priority over that. So that’s the values.

And then the final exercise, and it will be familiar to you if you’re you’ve been part of my community, but it’s this idea of balance and holistic success. And it’s considering the different areas of your life. And so it’s not just what I want from my career, it’s what’s important to me more broadly. Meaning I have my five L’s if you’ve in any way done coaching before some people and this is the original tool that I used have the wheel of life, where you divide your you know your life into finances, and family and so on. I like my version, it’s a bit simpler and higher level, but it’s a similar in its in a similar vein to really consider those different areas of your life. And so the first one is live, that’s your wellness, your health, well being. The second one is love relationships, belonging, that can be romance, it can be friendship, family community. So live love learn is your development, your growth, challenging yourself, getting out of your comfort zone learning new things.

The fourth love, the fourth L is lead, which is yes, your work. So career business, the impact you’re making the legacy you’re leaving, the difference you’re making. And then the final l is laugh fun, spontaneity, the things that give you joy in your life. So this exercise you can write down those five hours live love, learn lead, love. And then you can reflect on both number one you can give yourself a score from zero to 10 of where you are on that particular L so if you feel you haven’t been taking care of your mental or physical health very much then obviously you can give yourself a lower score there.

If you feel that you haven’t been growing and developing, if you feel you haven’t been progressing in your career or making the difference you want to make you can give yourself a lower score there.

And even just that simple exercise of scoring those areas. It’s far more nuanced than that, of course, but that will give you a sense of Oh, wow, I’ve really neglected my health or my family and friendships. And actually, that needs more attention. So those are the three exercises when you don’t know what’s next. And the first one is the person pool that can really guide you on okay, this is what I don’t want as well as Okay, I want more of these things. Secondly, then your values, having 345 values that are going to guide your decisions going forwards, you know, valuing family friendship, compassion, kindness gives you a very different direction to valuing power, wealth, innovation and abundance, spiritualism, humanity, connection, Grace, you know, you can see just randomly putting those names together, how different that could be for you moving forwards. And then the final exercise was the five L’s I do have a resource, and I’ll talk about in the outro, as well. But the five L’s success assessment, I call it or life assessment, however, you want to think of it as a little quiz of those five L’s to ask yourself, check in where you are in each of those areas. So you can do just the, you know, quick score of 10, as I just said, or you can use this PDF resource as a guide to work through those questions as well. So I hope you find those exercises useful and very tangible things you can do if you’re really feeling completely lost and you know, are flying to free now happens. And whether you’re thinking of leaving a job, you’d be made redundant, you’ve been in your business for too long and you kind of lost your way a bit. And this can really help you to get back to basics and understand what what matters to you what you want, what you don’t want, and hopefully get you moving forwards again towards a new and exciting destination. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.


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