Are you and your job in the promotional products industry going through a tough time? Maybe you’ve contemplated switching companies or joining the Great Resignation, but something’s still valuable to you right where you are.
Or maybe you’ve considered changing industries completely—but you know you’d miss the branded merchandise field.
How can you fall back in love with your work again so you can create the career and life you want? What can you do to get unstuck and start feeling in control once more, no matter what’s happening in your business or in the world?
Here are three strategies you can use today to reclaim control of your work life. Try them out and begin to reset, revise, and even rescue your career in promo—right where you are, just as you are.
Strategy 1: Get Clear About What Your Work Is—And Isn’t
Has your job expanded in ways that are no longer working for you? Now, two years after the start of the pandemic, many of my private coaching clients are finding that their ways of working during the initial days of crisis have now solidified, adding more time and effort into their day.
It’s a perfect time to take an inventory of all the things you do each day and week at work. Document it all, even the items that seem small or easy. Chances are the list may surprise you.
It’s not uncommon for responsibilities and expectations to sneak into your day-to-day to-dos, whether intentionally or not. Getting clear on what your job has become can help you get clearer on how to make small but powerful changes that make it better, faster.
Strategy 2: Drop Some Balls.
Take a hard look at your inventory of work from Strategy 1 above. Which elements don’t use your best skills or talents? What may have been relevant during the early days of the pandemic, but aren’t as essential now? What work feels like a waste of time, energy, or resources? Which do you consistently procrastinate and struggle through?
Right now, you’re juggling all of those balls. Consider dropping one—or many.
Yes, this feels counterintuitive to many of us who feel like we’re never juggling our work and life as well as we could be. But human beings are not computers. We can’t add bandwidth to create more capacity. In fact, by rightsizing our bandwidth and dropping work that no longer matters, we actually become more focused, productive, and valuable—as well as less burnt-out and unhappy.
How can you drop any of the balls you’ve been so carefully managing? Start experimenting with one small item that you dread doing. Maybe it’s a meeting you attend, report you prepare, or other routine process. For the next two weeks, drop it. Don’t tell anyone and wait to see if anyone notices—or cares. If they do, propose an experiment where the work gets done differently. In my work with my coaching clients, we’ve often found 20-30% of their day-to-day tasks can be streamlined or eliminated completely, with no or low consequences.
Strategy 3:Find Your TA-DAs.
When we’re not feeling great about work, we often overlook all the good we’re doing and all of the success we’re actually having. We clearly see all the things that are undone or imperfect.
But that’s exactly the time when you need to find your TA-DAs.
You’ve seen a TA-DA. It’s that move where we toss up our arms in a celebratory V, throw back our shoulders and pause, for a moment, basking in the energy of what we’ve just accomplished. TA-DAs are typically the sole province of Olympians, circus folk and toddlers proudly waddling, arms up, toward their parents. Those brave souls don’t have to be perfect to have their TA-DA—why should you?
Ask yourself: What do I do well? What do I appreciate about myself? What good things do my clients, customers and colleagues say about me? What am I doing that’s making a difference to someone, somewhere? Remember that the products you deliver, whether you’re at a supplier or working as a distributor, could be really meaningful to their end user.
Throw your hands up, sing out TA-DA, and take a bow. If you’re ready to fall back in love with your job, your TA-DAs can remind you’re doing more good work than you think, and are more successful than you know.
Darcy Eikenberg is a career coach for leaders and speaker on leadership and career success. Her latest book, Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job, goes deeper into how we can take back control in our lives at work and prepare for the future with courage and confidence. Download a free chapter and get other career-enhancing tools at RedCapeRevolution.com.
Used with permission from PPAI Media