Making a Switch In Your Head

During the course of our life we have certain jobs that either teach us or present us with the opportunity to develop certain skills.  At that time those skills serve us very well, they make us very successful in those positions.


But then life happens.  The job changes, new management comes in, we lose the job or decide to move on to something else.  We end a relationship and start a new one.  All very grown up of us and very progressive, how very proud we are of ourselves.


We learn to adapt and move forward.  But what happens if in moving forward you are actually being held back, you are seen as a weak link or out of touch?  What happened to utilizing those fabulous skills that made us a rock star?


They turned into baggage.


Well, that’s just not fair!  Who changed the rules?? Your grown up self is asking.  No one changed the rules – you just failed to read the fine print in accepting the newly acquired skills so long ago; which was:


these will serve you well in a certain environment, in a certain situation but they are by no means the end all be all of skills that you will ever need to learn and quite possibly will become outdated as soon as you feel confident and all grown up.


Well crap!  Now what?


First acknowledge that you no longer a rock star and second: learn to retrain your brain.


Ugh!  That sounds like a lot of work!  I don’t wanna!  Tough – suck it up cupcake.  If you want a successful relationship you have to have some skin in the game.


Retraining your brain is not easy.  We have become comfortable with our way of doing things.  They worked before we want them to continue to work now.  I understand, but life doesn’t work that way.


First recognize the habits, skills or attributes that you need to change.  For me it was the process of analyzing; actually over-analyzing.  I’m an analyzer.  I want to know the how, whys and possible outcomes.  As a former Compliance Officer this served me well.


After I moved on from this position that attribute did not serve me as well as a primary means of operation.  It was still a good quality, just not one that I needed to use all the time.  I had to retrain my brain to take it down a notch.


This was a hard process for me; mainly because I over-analyzed the process of retraining to death: the pros, the cons, the ease, the challenges, blah, blah, blah.


In retraining it is important to recognize when the old skills start to kick in.  When I would start to analyze something unnecessarily I would literally stop what I was doing and take a breath.  Making a conscious decision to stop and recognize was a major factor in being able to retrain my brain.


With some clients I give them a rubber band to wear around their wrists.  When they find themselves starting to employ a past behavior they are to give themselves a flick.


Once I recognized it and stopped admonishing myself for analyzing I could then talk myself through employing the type of behavior I wanted rather than the over-analyzing.


It is also important to recognize what you can and cannot control.  My actions, reactions and behaviors are all on me.  These are the things I own, these are the things I have control over.  I cannot control other people’s behavior, wants, needs or actions.


I had to learn to let go of ownership for other people’s crap.


When a situation would come up that triggered a negative response or overanalyzing then I had to, again, stop myself and literally say to myself:


Self, as much as it should – the world does not revolve around you nor do you rule the world.  What can you control in this situation, what is your contribution? 


I would then answer myself honestly, to which myself would then say:


Than that is the only thing that you are to focus on and take ownership of – period.


The last key to retraining was remaining positive.  I knew I could modify this behavior – after all I mastered it before so I can master the art of modifying and adopting new behavior.  I gave myself permission to be positive and stopped beating myself up when I slipped.


I still slip now and then.  My wonderful friends will tell me when I am overanalyzing in their kind and gentle way; but when I do I do not berate myself or feel as though I am loosing ground.


What is the old saying: it only takes a moment to learn a bad habit but a lifetime to break?  Being able to change habits becomes much easier when you take ownership of only what you actually control, remain positive and continue to employ the new behavior.


“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” – Calvin Coolidge



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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