It’s advice we’ve heard since…forever: Take one day at a time. Frantic over a crazy-tight deadline? One day at a time. Managing an impossible boss? One day at a time.
But how? Why? I’ve often thought to myself: Is this just feel-good mumbo jumbo? Because this sure as hell isn’t making me feel any better. Fortunately, as a marketing executive who has worked in all kinds of agencies (some functional, some not so much), I learned how to “take one day at a time” and make it productive. In this post, we’ll zero in on why taking one day at a time–and making a daily choice–is useful and how to go about it so you take Power Over Your Career ™.
The Importance of Making A #DailyChoice
There have been times in my own career when things were challenging, and I felt stuck. You know what it’s like, right? The same crap would happen again and again. Eventually I realized that the only person getting in the way of changing things was me—I had to take responsibility for it. Most people think change is rooted in your behavior but, first, you need to make the change happen in your mind.
Here’s where “take one day at a time” comes in. Each day is made up of many moments. It’s up to you how you want to view the situation in each moment and what kind of action you want to take.
So it’s important to make a daily choice—in other words, really think about what you want your career to look like, and how you want your day to unfold to make that happen in the long term. Then make a conscious effort to act accordingly. This is helpful from a practical standpoint: It lets you inch toward your greater goal, day by day. And from a mental standpoint, it’s just plain empowering. By reminding yourself, day in and day out, what your grand vision is, it becomes more and more a part of you.
How To Make Your #DailyChoice
Each day is a precious opportunity to move toward your goals. Don’t muddle through your days. No one in a career rut has ever busted out of that rut by doing the same thing over and over again. You’ve got to consciously decide to make this day an improvement over the last one. Here’s how I tell my clients to approach their daily choices–and how I approach these choices for myself, too.
- Do a little prep. Get yourself Post-it notes in three colors; I use blue, yellow, pink. I jot down my negative behaviors and mindsets on the blue. On yellow, I list the actions I promise myself I’ll take; and, on pink, I note the goals I want to realize.
- Start each day with a question. When I’m working with a client, I might text her in the morning and say: “When you wake up today, ask yourself this question: What kind of life do I want to live?” And I remind her to be honest. This is a ritual that helps you map out your day in reverse. What is my goal overall? What’s my goal for today? What decision will I make today to help move me toward that goal? Use your sticky notes to help guide you.
- Cross-check your response. Ask yourself: Who is making this decision? Is it that voice inside you that always errs on the side of caution or the voice that’s desperate to do something more challenging? You decide which one you’ll listen to.
- Catch yourself. I tell my clients to text me if they find themselves slipping into negative thoughts or behaviors, like the ones written on their blue Post-its. This way, they’re forced to stop the behavior, and they have someone to hold them accountable. If you don’t have a coach, ask a supportive friend to help. About to say yes to a colleague who’s yet again trying to palm off extra administrative tasks? Finding excuses to not call a contact at a company you want to work for? Text your pal and know that she’ll motivate you to do the right thing.
- Trust yourself. Embrace your decision. You can always change course later on if you need to. If you feel it’s right, it’s going to make you happy.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for more advice on making a #DailyChoice and taking Power Over Your Career™, join me for my next FREE Career Boost Call on Sunday, June 17. I’ll help you navigate the process and share how the #1 most powerful tool for making decisions has helped others and can help you if you’re in a career rut. Sign up here!
Want more information on working with me? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of my team members will schedule a discovery call with me to explore the possibilities.