When your career needs to take a backseat

I am very career oriented AND I need to focus on my family.

I have so excited about what is ahead AND I am so distracted I can’t focus on it.

I am my own individual AND people around me need me right now.

These are statements we have heard from our clients recently, and some we have felt directly. It’s ok if your career has to take a back seat. It’s ok if you have to shift priorities because of things going on in your personal life. That’s the theory of embracing your AND. There are so many pieces that make you YOU.

You are more than just one thing.

You are more than just your job.

You are more than just your career.

You are more than the task you need to accomplish at work.

In a world in which we talk about work/life balance integration and being a whole human, sometimes that means the scales are tipped and, at this moment, other things or people need your full focus. And sometimes it may be the other way around, your job may need more focus like a big project or covering for people who are out. Whatever the case may be, the point is IT IS OK for the scales not to be in balance for a moment. The important thing is to ask for help. 

The first step is to admit to yourself what needs to change, at least for now. Then ask yourself, who do you need to talk to support that change and help take some of the pressure off. This is the ebbs and flows of life and you may need to embrace this version of your AND for now. But you can’t and don’t have to do it alone!

Ask for help. Identify tasks can you delegate to someone else or ask someone else to cover for the short term. Find time to your manager about what you can push out and what needs to be taken care of right now. Talk to your HR Partner about support options your company can offer.

Deprioritize. Be honest with yourself and adjust your own goals to take the pressure off. Adjust your task load or your hours to create more space for your personal needs. Communicate those change to your stakeholders so they aren’t knocking on your door expecting a deliverable that isn’t possible right now.

Give yourself grace. Take breaks during the day, turn off notifications on your phone, you don’t have to be on all the time (both personally and at work). Set milestones for yourself and others. Time block projects and allow yourself a few weeks (or months) to live and work in this current world and then re-evaluate.

You are a whole human. Life and work do not balance, they intersect. And sometimes life cuts off work on the highway. But you don’t have to figure everything out yourself. Accepting that will alone allow you take a breath and focus on what you need to focus on in this moment.

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