Gaining the courage to move on

High performers risk overperforming, as did Stephanie Cook, founder of Stephanie Cook Wellness in Philadelphia.

She failed to understand her own values and became so wired that she worked evenings and weekends, the latter both at home and back in the office. Care for herself? Forget it.

She says she was almost addicted.

As her company’s “Ms. Go-To,” she took a big step in learning to redefine herself in relation to her work and being more aware of her obsession with it.

Constant change in today’s workplace requires you to keep learning about your work and yourself. Ultimately, you may outgrow some or all parts of your work in an organization. When you do, you have two alternatives: remain and plateau or move on.

The decision to move on doesn’t necessarily coalesce overnight, but the courage to do so may take time. If you’ve enjoyed where you’ve been, much more is involved than a paycheck, including co-workers, colleagues and a personal life.

Vino Mehta, author of “Personal Competitiveness: Achieve Breakthrough Success In the Global Economy,” writes that the “uncanny ability and confidence in your own self-worth to go out and find a few jobs within a few days is very rare and priceless. … Personal transformation is the biggest challenge …” (Lancer, $21.99).

How can you effect transformation without spending years doing it? One way is to follow an interest from outside of work.

“If you have a passion emerging off the job,” says Heath Suddleson, president of Executive Achievement LLC in Potomac, Md., “there might be marketable opportunities elsewhere for you to follow your passion.”

Exploring those opportunities may well require you to go outside your comfort zone.


First, give yourself the time and focus to reformulate and change.

“Acknowledge your discomfort as part of your professional development,” advises Bill Treasurer, CEO of Giant Leap Consulting Inc. in Asheville, N.C. “Then embrace it.”

For him, a former captain of the United States high-diving team, that means “lowering your high dive. The risk isn’t just about what you’ll gain but where it will take you.

“Take lead-ups,” Treasurer says. “Do 100 jumps from 1 foot. Small bites, smaller risks incrementally beef up your confidence, skill level and ability, and increase your risk appetite.”

Mehta, who’s also CEO of Honolulu’s Vino Mehta &Associates Inc., advises taking a risks/rewards analysis. Consult with other people, he says, especially well-wishers and your spouse.

Research the new environment and play scenarios in your mind, he adds.

Diane Hamilton favors diminishing dependence on your employer. The managing partner at Binary Formations LLC in Mechanicsville, Va., says, “Step away from the feeling of being an integral asset to your employer and your dependency on your feeling of accomplishment.”

You also have to change your work. Hamilton says shifting to part-time or telecommuting might help. Mehta also suggests consulting. Not ready for one of these changes? Hamilton says your transition may have to occur later.

Gaining the courage to shift gears may take time. But you can by working at it in increments while minimizing the risk.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at © 2014 Passage Media.


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