Career Goals that Work-Part 5: Plan for Challenges

Photo by Alyssa Ledesma on Unsplash
Photo by Alyssa Ledesma on Unsplash

No one, and I mean no one can plan every single day, week, month, year of their lives with certainty.  Life is chock full of the unknown, unexpected and unpredictable.  In this blog, we’ll talk about being prepared for challenges that could impact your career goals (or any goals).


So, you have your ideal plan and your accountability partner, now you need a strategy for how you’ll handle challenges as they come up.  Hopefully, you’re plan was built around your normal  business cycle and your family plans.  For example, if you are a CPA, you know that during tax season, not much else gets done.  And, give yourself a break for that family vacation to Disneyland —it will be much more fun for everyone AND you’ll be more productive when you get back!


Be realististic and flexible.  


Now, let’s think about common challenges that are likely to surface and how we’ll handle them.  First, there are some things that may force you to just stop everything for a while. (i.e., serious illnesses, death in family, etc.).  This blog won’t address those circumstances. We’d expect our time and attention to totally shift during those times.   However, we will focus on other challenges that we can expect to surface.  


Potential Challenge #1: YOU

“Who?  ME?”  Yes, YOU!!!  Believe it or not WE are one of the biggest obstacles we face!  Almost all of us have that inner critic (IC).  That little voice that tells us we’re not good enough to do or have what we want.  The IC may even remind you of situations from the past where you “failed” at something as proof rather than looking at those experiences as valuable lessons learned.


It can be hard to discern what is our IC talking and what is a valid assessment of the situation.  Be prepared for this — it will come up for MOST of us, usually more than once!!!  Worse yet, you may not even hear the IC approaching.  You may just start doing things that sabotage your success (missing deadlines, not acting on opportunities, partying instead of working).  The IC can manifest itself in so many ways!!!  


Your IC is unique to you.  So there is no one-size-fits all way to address this challenge. Spoiler alert: the IC almost never disappears (a subject for another time).   Do you have a strategy for recognizing and managing your IC?  Your accountability partner can play an important role here.  To manage and address their IC, some people have used everything from affirmations and prayer, to power poses and theme songs to get back on track and focus on their talents, skills, accomplishments and goals.  Experiment, find the strategy that works best for you —it will come in handy!


Potential Challenge #2:  Friends & Family

I think I heard another sigh of disbelief.  You’re not really throwing shade on my tribe are you?

Well, not everyone!  Friends and family can be our biggest champions and assets!  However, what if some of your friends or family aren’t supportive of your goals and even work against you?  It happen and those closest to us have the ability to hurt us the most.


Sometimes, when you do something new, it can scare the people around you.

They're afraid of losing the YOU they know and love. 


Some people will come right out and tell you everything that is wrong with what you want to do.  This is a gift.  At least you know where they are coming from and you can a) assess their objections and b) try to help them understand your perspective. Others may get in your way without even realizing it.  This can show up in different ways: subtle, doubting comments to feed your Inner Critic;  pressuring you with “fun” distractions vs supporting your commitments; changing the subject every time you try to talk about your new journey; conspicuous absence from celebrations of your success...  You get the idea.


 If you see a pattern of behavior, calmly addressing it can be the best thing for the relationship and empowering for you. If you find this behavior persists, you may have to limit your exposure and find others who can support you.  Having a supportive village is invaluable to your success!

Photo by Alyssa Ledesma on Unsplash
Photo by Alyssa Ledesma on Unsplash

Potential Challenge #3:  Life!

Included under this category is everything else life throws at us!  Travel for work’s insane; your kid made the travel soccer league (yeah!!, but Ugghhhh!!); your spouse got laid off; you got laid off; you got a promotion; your dog ate your homework!    Really, anything can get in the way of your beautifully crafted plan. This can mean a slow down, BUT, sometimes, it’s an opportunity to accelerate that plan!  You may not know what the issue is or what it means for you before it hits, but you can have a strategy to think it through and keep moving forward.


 “You can increase your problem-solving skills by honing 

your question-asking ability.” Michael J. Gelb

Potential Steps:

  1. Look at the different aspects of your life and take care of any immediate needs first.
  2. Breathe!  Remind yourself that your plan is a living plan, meant to be fluid. 
  3. Review your plan as soon as it’s practical and assess the impact:
    • Do I need to push my dates out? Until when?  if yes, what one small thing can I do to keep moving?
    • Is this an opportunity that can accelerate my plan or create a new, improved path?  How can I make it work for me?  
  4. Do I need help to assess, manage or leverage this situation?  Depending on the situation, your mentor, coach, manager or accountability partner may fit the bill.

There's no question that we will all face challenges as we work towards our goals.  The most obvious solution may not be the best one. Probing to really understand the problem will lead to the best solution for you.  Getting laid off may be an emotional blow, but a severance package could provide the seed money to start your business.  Traveling to your kids soccer games may be great for networking, showing off the app you developed or selling those hats you design on the side!


When things get tough, pull out your vision board (or whatever your visual representation of your goals is) for inspiration -- and reflect on why you started this journey.


This is the last in the series of How to Create Career Resolutions (Goals) That Work.  Remember, it’s never too late to get started!


If you are in a career transition and want help to find the right path for you, reach out to me

via the contact button below for a complementary consultation.

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Alyssa Ledesma (Saturday, 04 July 2020 01:07)

    Hello! I know this is late, but I want to thank you for using my photo! I appreciate it!