1. Begin focusing on what you want instead of how much you want to escape. When you find yourself sharing the latest horror story, stop in mid-sentence and say, “What I want to have is…”
2. Create an image that describes you in your job. Are you on a riverbank with no way to get to the other side? Lost in a jungle? Poking through a thorny hedge? When you get comfortable with the image, begin visualizing a change in the obstacle. Imagine building a bridge across the river or finding a path in the forest. Don’t force the image or the change. When you’re ready it will come.
3. Think of developing skills, not serving time. Take every course that’s offered and focus on skills that can lay a foundation for your own business or next job. Can you learn HTML or PowerPoint? Can you use some evenings, weekends and lunch hours to solicit some free lance gigs?
4. Focus on satisfactory, not superior performance. Use the time difference to build your new life. People often say, “I can’t do anything — I work ten hours a day!” If you are firing yourself or expecting to be fired, your job is finding a new job. Be ethical: you owe your company the minimum you need to earn your salary.” But don’t be surprised if you start to accomplish more than ever and find yourself getting promoted.
5. What conflict are you escaping? Dishonesty? Corporate greed? Hypocrisy? Allow yourself to wonder if these qualities are mirrored in your own life — or even in your mind. If everyone around you seems dishonest, are you being dishonest with yourself? With others? After you resolve your own conflict, you may find the workplace has changed or you have been catapulted into a new, more satisfying life.
6. Put on your shield and armor when you enter your workplace. Everyone should learn how to create a psychic shield. Imagine that you are surrounded by an outer shell that is made of a solid material — so strong that nothing can get through to hurt you. Some people prefer to imagine a protective golden light, but I think the solid shield is stronger. Take two or three minutes to put on your shield, every day, before you enter the workplace.
7. Give yourself a gift every day — a splurge of time or sensual taste buds. Read a book, talk to a friend, eat your favorite food. Don’t deaden your senses with alcohol (although if you’re a wine connoisseur, your special wine can be a gift) or spend big bucks at the mall. Think simple.
8. Find at least one thing in your life to appreciate: the softness of your cat’s fur, the winter sky, the spontaneous hug from a friend. Appreciate as much as possible about your job: the money, the view from the window, the new computer, friendly conversations with the guy down the hall. Savor the experience. Appreciation is the engine that attracts good things into your life.
9. Tune in to your intuition before deciding what to do next. Meditate and listen to the world around you. The saying “frying pan into the fire” is real. If your goals and desires do not come from a secure place within yourself, you will find yourself paying undue attention to wet blankets (“If you quit you’ll never get another job”) and false friends (“Just quit! Move to Tahiti! You won’t starve!”). Sometimes the same “advisor” proposes both ideas in the same week. A good coach or counselor will give you confidence in your own intuition, not impose their views of what you should do now.
10. Write this down somewhere: After you’ve left — and you will — all that time will seem to have gone in the blink of an eye. You will have trouble remembering what bothered you so much. The rest of your life will still be ahead of you.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., coaches results-oriented mid-career professionals who want to develop uncommon business and career strategies as they move to their next goal.