Image of Bertha Robinson, Star One Logo, When Dynamics Around You Shift – You CAN Still Be in Control

During your career, there are bound to be highs and lows. You have your own personal goals, and the goals of the organization to keep in mind and work toward. But as we know, when you accept a position, are welcomed into a department, and meet your boss, things don’t stop shifting. It’s not the smooth stroll of the moving sidewalk in an airport terminal. It’s more like the shifting staircases in a Harry Potter movie, or a stress filled tip-toe through a carnival Fun House.

Changes in Your Professional Career Throw You Off Course

Organizations merge, you inherit a new team, and bosses get transferred or promoted out to another department. New day, new boss, and now you feel as though you’re starting over. Even though you’re the same person, when the dynamics around you change, it’s a new environment in many aspects. Fun-loving boss leaves and stern boss takes over; working solo one week and have a team of six reporting to you next week; your project was due in 6 weeks but priorities changed and now it’s due in 3 weeks.

It's not just about shifting goals and responsibilities – our whole realities shift at times. How do you keep focused on your own personal career aspirations during fast-changing times?

The answer, thankfully, starts with a question: what is in my control?

You alone are in control over your thoughts and actions. It’s crucial, in a stressful and jumbled situation, to strip out and spotlight what you can control: your thoughts, your actions. A difficult situation presents itself and you get to decide how you think about it and what you do about it.

When Everything Shuts Down

Even when you own a business, not everything is in your control. Your business plan can be filled with projections and details, with an eye toward your goals, but life throws unexpected road blocks in your path. Our biggest and clearest example of this was during the pandemic. Who among us didn’t come to a grinding halt in how we transacted business? For many entrepreneurs whose business typically involved taking them inside their clients’ homes, they suddenly had to think differently or give up entirely.

Those business owners who survived the pandemic with their business intact stayed away from the “all is lost” way of thinking. They focused instead on what CAN we do right now? Some changed their way of delivering services and some changed the type of clientele they served. For others, it was the perfect time to step back from the daily grind to update their business plan, revive their dusty marketing activities and reach out to colleagues and former clients just to reconnect and see how they were doing.

Time To Stop and Set a New Course

For one small business owner client, a founder of a small firm, she experienced continuous “bad luck” in hiring. There was great hope for the new employees coming in to expand the one-person firm. The vision was to grow the company with great talent that would carry on the excellent reputation the founder had developed. Working together, I uncovered several trouble spots that stemmed from the leader’s choice of thoughts and actions.

She wanted to hire excellent people, but some assumptions and misplaced goals got in the way. She also was out of tune with today’s hiring practices, which left her disappointed and confused. We worked on a new process and examined the missteps of the past, while focusing on the future – what thoughts and actions were in her control?

She was under the misconception that everything was under her control, so we unraveled the details to recognize what was out of her reach. Step by step, we’re working through a new strategy to grow the firm on solid ground.

What You Can Do

With each shift in your professional environment, remind yourself of the control you do have.

  • What do I think about this?
  • What are some other ways I can think about it?
  • What CAN I do about it?
  • What can I do about it NOW?
  • What am I GOING to do?

Even when situations around you are throwing you off, stressing you out, and affecting your whole team or department, grounding yourself with what is in your control is a tool to hold close to you no matter what, because it will always guide you through difficulties and toward next steps.