I often get asked how I transformed my addictive behaviors and negative beliefs about work, and even more importantly, how I sustain this transformation. Wouldn’t it be easy to revert to old habits? Simple answer: yes, it would be really easy. (I still eat cupcakes!) I had to find an effective way to keep myself from sliding backwards toward being unhappy at work.
I learned to PACE myself.
P is for Prepare. I am prepared to face whatever might happen at work because I know what I want from work. I have come to understand what great work looks like in the context of a great life. I know where my work fits into my overall life picture. I was recently offered a new role in Siemens and it was easy for me to accept it. Because I was prepared, I knew this role would be a great fit for me.
A is for Ask. I ask for what I want. I struggled to do this in the past. I would think: why should I get what I want? There must be someone else’s needs ahead of mine; it can’t possibly be my turn. On top of this, I assumed that everyone, including my boss and co-workers should somehow magically know what I wanted without my having to ask. Of course, asking for what you want doesn’t mean you’ll get it 100% of the time, but I am 100% sure that if you don’t ask—you will never get what you want.
C is for Confidence (and Content). I learned to stop doubting myself so much. I was often scared that if I didn’t know something I should know I would make a big mistake. Gee, do you think the world would end if I screwed up? Let’s be realistic, very few corporate jobs entail life-and-death decisions. I knew the content of my job, and if for some reason I didn’t know it, I could ask for help. In fact, I was an expert in the content of my job—so why wasn’t I confident? This realization was liberating, and I quickly began to feel more confident. I stopped worrying so much and in turn, I appeared more sure of myself (because I felt more confident!). Now think about your own work place—do you want to work with someone who worries all the time or with someone who brings a certain amount of confidence to the task at hand?
E is for Earn. Earn your place at the table. Execute well and your colleagues will seek you out for new opportunities. There is no better seat than the one you’ve earned. It gives you confidence, which in turn prompts you to ask for what you want, which you can do because you’re prepared!
And best of all, your pace is up to you. Think of it as a long-distance race. Most of us can’t run fast and far, but if we run slowly enough, we can run farther than we think we can. I learned this lesson nearly 25 years ago when a running coach from the New York Road Runners Club told me “slow down!” and in one night, I ran twice as far as I ever had before. Set your own pace, and I promise, you’ll be amazed at the places you’ll go and how much you will enjoy the journey along the way.