You might want something different in your career, relationship, finances or 100 other things. What we usually want is some kind of change we believe is better for us, as defined by us. Unfortunately, we might daydream frequently about these wants, but never take the time for focused thinking about them. Focusing on our specific wants and defining changes we need to make for success gets sidelined by the everyday. Taking time for yourself outside of your everyday life allows you to define your wants and strategize ways to make the changes needed for success. I recently took a 2-day getaway I’m calling my personal retreat to think about what I want in my career that differs from the freelance work I’ve been doing. My freelance work often places me in a role I refer to as an “adjunct employee”. I blend into an existing team and work like other full-time employees. I’ve grown to want more ownership of the work I do and work that has a defined end state. Too many of my freelance engagements involve project work that gets cut, paused or otherwise stopped for a number of reasons. Clients often shift me to another project when that happens, but I’m left with a sense of emptiness after putting so much effort, thought and heart into the original project.
Define what you really want.
Taking this time away by myself has let me focus my thoughts so I can define what’s important to me in work, and what I want to see in future work I do:
- work that is more visually creative, revisiting my graphic design roots
- work that ends in a finished product, giving me a sense of completion and accomplishment
- work that enhances what I’ve been doing, but is less broad and more niche
- work that involves multiple streams of discipline and income
There are actions I need to take, and changes I need to make for this list to become reality. As I refine my strategy for making this list real, I feel good knowing I can use this list as a reminder anytime I start daydreaming about what I want in my career.
Think creatively about how you can get time to yourself.
If you can’t afford the time or finances to get away overnight somewhere, think creatively about places you can go locally to get out of your normal surroundings. Skip the coffee shops and think about libraries, museums or large hotels that offer quiet spaces and lounges where you can be undisturbed for a couple hours. The change of environment is freeing and you’ll focus and enjoy the treat of time to yourself.
Take some time away by yourself to think about what you want. Define it. Summarize your thoughts in a list you can refer to. Keep the list close at hand so you can regularly remind yourself whenever you start daydreaming about your “wants”.