We all have dreams about work life. Whether it is a change in where we work, how we work or even our career path. The time we spend envisioning these elements is invaluable. Yet, like many great things “in-the-making” — these aspirations often remain stuck in our mind’s eye, quickly lost in the daily routine of our lives. These dreams may be modest (seeking a coach, investing in a course) or grand (pivoting toward an entirely new industry).
All may be a worthy step.
None will come to be — if we don’t offer them a chance.
During sessions with coaching clients, these aspirations often surface. This may occur in the form of a passing comment about the current work life landscape. Yet, I always take note and encourage further exploration. So, I’m proposing that we go a little Mad Men to expand on your idea in the form of a real-time pitch. We may not all work on Madison Avenue, but we can borrow a little of their persuasive techniques to get the point across to our most doubting critic — us.
Consider these elements:
- The Opening. Start with why you happened upon the idea to begin with. Was it a bout of burnout? A general feeling of boredom? A passion for something new? What led you to that idea? Use that information to write the pitch introduction.
- The Objections. There are always potential weaknesses that could deter you from moving forward. (Time and money, for starters.) Know that taking the plunge to do something different, always travels a lonelier road than something proven. What are the primary concerns? How might counter them?
- The Research. Take a moment to leave emotions aside and consider the facts. Is there information available to bring more light to the topic? Take the time to dig in and gather all of the available resources. There is likely more out there to inform (or sway) your opinion.
- The Opportunity Costs. What’s left on the table if you stick with the status quo. If you do nothing — what might happen? Will you find yourself unprepared for an opportunity? Consider how the decision might affect the future.
- The Lifestyle. What might you gain by moving forward? Clarify how your life might change for the better. How might a shift affect your psychological resources (hope, optimism, etc.) and or passion for your career overall? Can you live without the possibilities?
Changing work life requires support. Who will offer the needed feedback required to refine the idea and help it meld with who you are. Seek them out. Those who know your work best, should be the first that you consult.
Have I forgotten an important element? Share it in comments.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including the Harvard Business Review, Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.