I work a lot with mid-career clients who feel stuck. They have had enough success to know they can move toward what they want but just don’t know what it is they really want. We often laugh when I ask “you mean what do you want to be when you grow up”? Or they have conflicting priorities that keep them seemingly frozen in place, work and family, relationship and self, money and vision.
I use the word mobilization to describe the desired state – the state of taking action. Getting mobilized is a 5 P process of passion, purpose, prioritize, planning and power – the personal power to overcome fear.
- Passion – No one has the perseverance to move forward for any length of time without feeling passion about what they are doing. Passion is the fuel for the hard times and the euphoria of the good times. All the simple analysis of strengths and skills or types of experience won’t result in a workable idea. A well founded idea needs that hit of emotion, that feeling of lightness and joy. What turns you on and brings that sparkle to your eyes?
- Purpose – Just as an idea without passion gains no traction, passion without purpose is just a dream or a feeling. Purpose is about what has deep meaning to you. What is important to you to feeling fulfilled in this life! It is bigger than you are and takes you out of yourself to a wider world. How many of you have experience with a doctor who became a doctor because they had a calling to heal people and one who entered because it was a well-paid profession? Why were you put on this planet?
- Prioritize – When we start talking about passion and purpose ideas start flowing, going back to school, getting a new job, starting a business, asking the best friend to partner, looking for a promotion, finding a good nanny or day care. This is the time to kick in the left brain, time for more concrete steps. What idea is most important? Is there a sequence that needs to be followed? Does there need to be some research done or conversations held with others? What would you prioritize?
- Plan – Research has clearly shown that we need both stretch goals (those goals we aren’t sure how to reach) and operational goals or what some people call SMART goals to be successful. SMART goals need to be specific and time-bound, for example. With this step, you are making that broad passion and purpose concrete enough to accomplish. What is the first goal you need to do to have?
- Power – I saved power for last but really it weaves through the whole process. When we are stuck, there is always some powerful fear involved. It takes some courage and personal power to unearth the fear, determine its usefulness and resolve it enough to move forward. Passion helps because it can motivate power but it still requires personal power to overcome powerful fear. Having psychological safety helps! What is your experience of personal power? When are you at your most powerful?