Picking the right project to pursue

If you’re what I like to refer to as an ideas person, you probably have the challenge of picking what to pursue. You might find yourself with half a dozen great ideas and the thought of bringing each one to life is equally exciting.

It can be difficult figuring out the best way to solve this issue. And so, sometimes we end up picking multiple things to do at once.

We become a jack of all trades.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having more than one project at a time, it’s not worth it if you can’t do them well. I like to think of it in terms of spinning plates. The best way to do it is start with one plate and add another when you’re comfortable and then keep going. When you start with multiple plates, they’re more likely to end up broken.

If we take it back to projects, we end up producing work we aren’t proud of and struggle to achieve our desired outcomes.

On the flipside, if we work on things one at a time we give ourselves the opportunity to actualise the vision. If things don’t work out how you’d hoped, you can be much more content with quitting because you know you’ve given it your all.

When you’re doing important work that you believe in, the best way to honour the vision is by being solely dedicated to it. You do yourself and the vision a disservice when you choose to do multiple things at once.

When it comes to deciding what to do, there are plenty of ways to decide.

  • What do you care about the most?
  • What idea feels most important?
  • What will you be most dedicated to?
  • Write them all down and pick out of a hat?
  • Introduce yourself as the person behind each project, which one feels the best?

Maybe try a combination of these things and see what idea comes up the most.

The only thing you need to do is make a choice. If you’re finding it difficult, you’re putting too much weight on it.

And, if you pick something and it doesn’t work out, just try something else.

Re-learning compromise

If you’re used to always being the one to bend to the needs of another, you might reach a point where you decide to change. Perhaps after an epiphany about the importance of balance.

When it comes to some change, the advice is to go slow and take it bit by bit. However, when it comes to changing a habit of compromising, it’s probably more helpful to go cold turkey.

The reason for this is that no compromise allows you to gain clarity on exactly what you want to do for yourself without taking others into account.

It’s then from a place of clarity of your own needs that you can learn to compromise properly.

Clearing out a room

Imagine clearing everything out of a room until it is completely empty.

You then dust, wipe the walls, vacuum the floor and then mop it. You wipe the windows and polish the glass.

The space has now been freshened up and it’s time to start bringing things back in.

You’d be quite intentional about what you bring back into the room because it’s now a totally clean space.

Whereas before, with the dust and dirt you didn’t care as much what was in the room and what you brought into it.

The same applies when you take a break from your normal routine to rest and restore. Once the break is over, you might find that you’d rather create a whole new routine than go back to the one you were used to.

Old ways

It might seem that right now there is little that you can do but revert to your old ways. If you’ve learnt self observation then perhaps you’re used to your patterns of behaviour.

Perhaps you can clearly map out and identify your old ways. And if you can do that then you can also choose a different action. If you’d normally say yes, say no. If you’d normally offer patience maybe try being a little less considerate.

I think too often we fall into this rigid idea of self as though there is something wrong with consciously experimenting with who we are. For example, you could be someone who always listens to people vent despite the fact that it leaves you feeling drained because you think it makes you a good friend.

Instead you could try something different such as saying, ‘I know you’re going through this frustrating situation but I don’t have the space to listen to you vent at the moment.

And it always feels weird the first time simply because it’s new, not as an indication of it being the wrong thing to do.

Then, overtime you might find that you prefer your new way of doing things and you can put your old ways aside.
 

Opening up

The idea of opening up is often used to refer to situations where perhaps you’re going through something. You’re advised to open up to allow people to do things like support, help and care for you.

But I like to apply the idea of opening up to those that are closed off, in general. Perhaps you don’t open up because you have a fear of being seen. Sometimes, the truth is that you’ve allow yourself to be so consumed by the potential opinion of others that you’ve taught yourself to be as neutral as possible.

This can show up as being someone who finds it hard to say what they do and don’t like. Perhaps you’re used to saying things like ‘it’s fine’ when it’s not or ‘I don’t mind’ when you really do.

Maybe you think that no one will listen, maybe you don’t value your voice. It could even be that you’re just trying to avoid attention.

But the game of life is that by choosing not to open up you end up in situations where you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t feel heard and you’re accepting things you don’t want. Meanwhile you think that by being closed off and essentially hiding you’re making things easier for yourself.

Opening up not only gives you space to be yourself, it gives others the chance to see you as you are.

A resilient mindset

Seeing the bright side of every situation has it’s perks.

It’s not about pretending that nothing bothers you or acting as though every experience is positive.

It’s more about adopting the kind of mindset that makes you resilient to the challenges of life.

So perhaps in moments of sadness, you can remind yourself that it’s okay to be sad and you will get through it.

And a challenging situation can serve as an experience for you to practice everything you’ve learnt.

The alternative is to wallow and complain which is okay for short while but pretty unhelpful in the long run.

You don’t have to go through it

If you feel a resistance towards something, it might simply be that you don’t want to do it.

And you don’t have to.

There will always be a time when working through it is an option and possibly the best choice to make. However, it’s perfectly okay to reach a point where you say ‘no’ and decide that certain challenges aren’t worth taking on.

Changing yourself to progress your career

The workplace can often just feel like one long game with lots of rules. For many people following these rules requires changing perhaps to the point of doing things that you don’t really want to do.

So, how much should you change for the sake of career progression?

If you feel like you have to become someone else or play up to the idea of who people think that you should be to have the career you want, you probably won’t be happy when you get it.

Some people understand the game and are willing to play it whilst others find the cheat codes and figure out how to work things their favour. Then there are the ones who understand the game but aren’t willing to play it and lastly the ones that have no awareness of the game whatsoever.

I have a lot of beliefs about work and the kind of career I want.

In a past experience, after discovering the game and attempting to play it, I realised that I didn’t want to.

If you have to change to progress in your career it’ll only be worth it if you like the person you’re becoming. Playing the game can be fun but it can also be exhausting. It might be for some people but others are better off stopping and finding a place to work with a game they enjoy playing or better yet no game at all.

The last hurdle

Sometimes you can spend the whole year learning, growing and developing. It’s gotten to the point where you’ve now changed. You no longer do the unhelpful things you used to do. It may have been saying you’re okay with things that bother you, going out because you feel like you should and not because you want to or avoiding difficult conversations.

Then suddenly, just when you think the new you is fully ingrained, you stumble at the last hurdle. Often it’s because you’ve reverted back to an old environment where you’re unhelpful behaviour felt ‘safe’.

It’s easy to just do what you’re used to doing, what you’ve always done. But this time you have options. Before reacting to a situation, take a moment to remember all that you’ve learnt and choose to do something different.

Stepping back from what you think you want

There is often a lot of pressure to know what we want and then to go for it.

We’re made to feel as though we should be go, go, go, otherwise we’re seen to just be lazy or wasting time.

And often this societal pressure leads to us chasing after things we’re not even sure we really want. It’s only when you slow down and step back that you realise you’ve been moving towards a life that might be wonderful for somebody else but it’s not what you really want.