Does your life at work seem to mimic the behavior of our friend, the groundhog?
You know the one. We tap on his cage every February 2, waiting for him to predict the future. He’s got a 50/50 chance of being right. In most businesses, we’d take those odds.
But are you modeling your life at work after the groundhog? Because sunshine or snow, the groundhog isn’t your best role model for success.
You may be a career groundhog if . . .
- You’re spending most days burrowed deep in your workplace or in your work-from-home cave behind your computer, keeping your head down . . .
- You’re hibernating in the same role, on the same project, on the same team, and forgoing growth and expansion for comfort and safety . . .
- You’re waiting for some old guy (or gal) to officially invite you up, above ground, to peek your head out and predict the future. But even after you do that, you’ll allow yourself to be put back in your cage and sent underground . . .
Any of those ring a bell?
If you’ve become a career groundhog, it’s time for a change.
It’s time to emerge from your burrow at work and stick your head out.
Here are three ways to start:
1. Get clear about who you are and what you want.
Nobody intends to get stuck in a hole.
But we stay groundhog stuck because we haven’t done the work to know what else we can—and want—to be.
This doesn’t have to be a gut-wrenching session of self-reflection (although there’s value in wrenching our guts once in a while over something other than reruns of This is Us).
It can be as easy as writing down the answer to these three questions:
- If I didn’t care about what anyone else would say, do, or think, how would I describe myself when I’m at my very best?
- If I’m honest with myself, what’s the one thing I want other people to say about me when I’m not around?
- What’s the one decision I need to make to be that person more often?
These starter questions help create a roadmap to follow as you decide how to come out of hibernation and get reconnected to something that matters to you.
2. Stop hiding behind your computer.
(Or anything else.)
Even if the majority of your work is online or technical, it’s easy to spend all your time depending on emails, IMs, chats, and texts instead of talking and connecting IRL.
In real life. Yes, talking human-to-human is still possible today.
Take a good look at your work patterns, and find the one place where you could choose to click less. Can you walk down the hall instead of messaging your colleague? Can you invite someone to lunch instead of Slacking nonstop?
Maybe it’s time to start connecting with real people again (and I’ve written the networking emails for you here.)
3. Build your confidence.
Often when I’m working with my coaching clients, I notice they fail to see all the amazing things they’re doing or the difference they’re making.
This gap is called “the curse of knowledge.” You’re simply too close to your own decisions, patterns, and work to really understand what your work looks like from the outside.
So to break free, focus on building your confidence.
Learn to tell your success stories (use my strategies to brag so that others don’t gag). Start networking with one or two people to learn what’s happening elsewhere in your industry or company.
Sure, the cold breezes still might be blowing across your company, industry, or profession–and your burrow seems safe and warm.
And yes, there are natural predators out there–wolves, dogs, snakes (and that’s just down the hall . . .)
But remember, even the most amazing groundhog is still just a rodent.
You’re something more. Pop your head up, look around, and know the world needs you today.