When did you last take some time out to relax and let your mind consider limitless possibilities?
Last week? Last month? Last year?
Most of us are so caught up with the notion of career success and the relentless demands of our working lives that relaxation is the last thing on our mind.
More often than not, we then spend our weekends and free time exhausted or wrapped up in domestic duties.
Yet if we just allow ourselves time to reflect and explore future possibilities, it can positively impact our long-term career success.
You may often think about your job and your current responsibilities, but how often do you consider your long-term career goals?
Are they outdated? Do you need to raise the bar and set your sights higher?
Relaxing and allowing yourself time to reflect is vital to fulfil your true career potential.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Where do you see yourself in two years’, five years’ and 10 years’ time?
• Do you picture yourself as a senior executive at your current company or in your boss’s job (or his boss’s job)?
• Are you nurturing a secret passion to completely change your career?
• Do you want to set up your own business one day?
• What do you need to do to achieve your ambitions?
When you plan, you habitually focus on career aspirations based on your current experience and abilities.
Relaxing and allowing yourself to consider all of the options available to you — not just the logical ones based on where you are now — can open up a whole new realm of possibilities and potential.
Learn to relax and reflect
Many people find the very concept of relaxing quite an alien one.
Try some of the following techniques to create the mental space and freedom you need.
The one golden rule is that you must allow your mind to soar. Do not place limits on yourself.
• Take some time out to sit quietly: Sit in a room listening to some music and take deep breaths or escape outdoors to absorb the beauty of nature in a park, woodlands or at a lake.
• Write it out: Journaling is acknowledged by psychologists and counsellors as a way of learning to express your feelings and to alleviate stress. Relax and allow yourself to explore career ambitions you have never dared to consider openly but secretly nurtured.
• Share your thoughts: Some of us need the rapport of a trusted friend or colleague to enable us to understand the possibilities available to us. While they may make suggestions that you had not previously considered, your career and your goals are unique to you.
• Laugh: Whether it is watching a funny movie or a DVD of your favourite comedy, laughter will help you to relax, putting you in the right frame of mind to reflect and explore those long-term career goals.
• Exercise: Vigorous aerobic activity, from swimming to running and biking, can help you to clear your mind and reflect on your life. It can also help you to forget the stresses and obstacles in your current working environment that may prevent you from setting your mind free.
• Meditate: Meditate and/or take part in activities such as yoga and taiji, which help you to relax.
Take a step forward today
If you are keen to explore goals that emerge while you reflect, you can begin right now.
What is the one thing that you can do within the next 30 days that will represent a step towards those ideas?
Perhaps you can sign up for a new training course at work or talk to your line manager about your career options.
Maybe you have realised that your true ambition lies in a complete different direction. If that is the case, research what you will need to do to pursue that passion at a practical level.
But first of all, learn to relax, reflect and allow your mind to soar.
You will be amazed at the positive difference it can make to both your attitude and your long-term career success.
In the words of Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Article by Kate Smedley, an associate writer with Sandbox Advisors, a firm which helps people with careers, job search and training in Singapore.