Many of you will have a personal development day built into your schedule.
How many of you actually take this day to work on your own development?
I thought so.
Work is so busy that meetings and paperwork and a hundred other tasks take priority.
We spend so much of our time firefighting we neglect an important aspect of our life.
Our skills and development of these skills. As a result it can feel like we are treading through treacle.
I want to reshape your thinking and ask you a question.
When Are You Leaving?
I ask this question in 1:1’s and coaching sessions, a lot.
It does not matter if they have just started with the company, or have worked there for ten years. I ask it.
I told my Manager about the question and whilst she tried to play it cool I could see some panic in her eyes. I had not provided any context so she saw a nightmare of unhappy colleagues!
Context is all important when you ask this question and I urge you to ask it. If you allow it to hang there and you don’t explain why you are asking you are likely to cause anxiety. If this happens then expect a friendly HR rep to come and visit you.
So, Ian, what are you asking?
How many times have you heard someone say ‘I can’t believe how quickly the year is going.’
I’m not sure if this is just a British thing. If you are living in Miami, Barbados or New York maybe you just don’t care what time of year it is.
The only thing that matters is whether it is cocktail hour (it is always cocktail hour in the world, somewhere).
I had not seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off until recently. A quote from the film stood out.
I’m not advocating you ring in sick and steal a Ferrari. Yet, we are sometimes so busy with our own lives we rarely take the time to reflect and take stock. Instead of obsessing over moving forward and hitting goals we should enjoy life.
You set your own personal goals and review them all year round. If you have a friend, mentor or coach then even better. You can share your goals with them and they will hold you accountable.
Doing so helps drive you forward, pushing you towards your goal. I realise the contradictory nature of this point, based on what I mentioned earlier. Relaxing and enjoying life is important but you need to earn it. Working towards goals and achieving success is still important. Enjoying the small success and allowing time to switch off is also just as important.
The reason I ask ‘When are you leaving?’ is to encourage everyone to consider three things:
- Where they are now
- Where they want to be in the future
- What they need to do, to help them get there.
You are developing skills in your current job. Often these skills will transfer into a role or industry outside of your own. You don’t have to be hemmed into one industry your whole life. The danger is in standing still and not considering when you are leaving your job.
I have worked with people who believed HR would drop a redundancy cheque into their lap.
Those same people are still working with the company a decade later. I get the attraction of a big pay off but how sad that fear caused them to sit tight and not push on.
If you think you fall into this bracket then do something to excite and scare you.
How great would it be to wake up enthused and come home satisfied? You spend a big chunk of your time at work, don’t sit there and be that person waiting for the pay off.
There will always be the exception to the rule.
You may work for an award-winning team who are always at the top of their game and are changing the world.
Your skills may be developing and your personal growth may be through the roof.
The majority of the population will envy you. For the rest, challenge yourself on what the next step will be.
- Will you be adding value to your peer group?
- Will you about seeking a new opportunity, to help you get to where you want to be?
- Will you be facing something that excites and scares you?
If you are a leader of people then some questions to ask yourself:
- How are you facilitating their departure?
- Do they know where they want to go?
- Do they understand the skills they are building and what this means for their future?
- How can you play a key part in helping them realise their dreams and goals?
Are you brave enough to ask the question of yourself?
When are you leaving your job?
Believe and take action