The summer holidays are here and it can be a struggle juggling children, jobs and everything else. But the shake-up in routine (a real Tango-slap for some of us!) can also be galvanising. It's a brilliant opportunity to make the first steps toward your career change. Don't waste it.
When work isn't working, and you want to find something more fulfilling but don’t know what to do next, then finding out more about yourself is a great starting place.
Here are 7 steps to enjoying a purposeful, planned summer of self-discovery, so that you’re not stumbling your way through the holidays muttering the ‘s-word’ under your breath.
1. Ditch perfection, embrace connection and keep it real
This is not a ‘guide to nothing ever going wrong’ or ‘how to have the perfect summer’; inevitably there will be good days, great days and the odd real stinker. Instead, these are tips to help you consciously decide what a fulfilling summer looks like for all members of your family.
Manage your expectations as well as your guilt. Striving for ‘perfect’ (whatever that is) is exhausting, so focus on maintaining connection. And on the days that are challenging, have compassion for yourself and for the little people; things don't always go the way we want them to (thank goodness).
2. Work out what each member of the family wants to get out of the holidays
Take a sharpie and big piece of paper, gather round and write down what each member of the family wants to get out of the holidays. Encourage everyone to focus on values, rather than specific activities (that comes later). Do they want to have fun, relax, enjoy the break from the routine, have adventures?
3. Make a choice about how much time do you want to spend together
You have work to do and your children are on holiday - it's easy to feel guilty and think you have to spend every free moment with your children. But you also need time for the full range of things you have going on and especially for yourself.
Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, spreading yourself too thin and being plagued by guilt, consciously decide how much time you want to spend with your children and plan around it.
4. Get an activity list together
Most likely you’ve got the big-ticket items booked already. What about the days in between? I know that when I find myself on the spot trying to come up with ideas, inertia sets in and somehow we don’t end up doing very much at all. So, get the kids involved and get a list of ideas together ahead of time.
Be sure to pick some activities that will energise you, as well as being fun for the kids. Feeling energised helps to shake up our thinking, which you can deploy in the name of answering your career questions. So, go outdoors, explore, and have adventures.
5. Reflect on your career
Use the time to reflect on your career and, more importantly, on what’s important to you. Think of the next 40 days as an exploration of you. I'm sure you know yourself. But there is always more to learn. Notice what you like, what gives you energy and what drives you nuts and drains you. Learn about yourself and mine this information in the name of career change.
6. Make time for yourself
You cannot give from an empty cup so schedule some me-time (more on this in a couple of weeks). Whether you send the children to an activity, a relative, put a movie on or lock yourself in the bathroom, make sure that you have time to replenish yourself every day. It needn’t be for long. A good way to make sure it happens is to put it in the planner but do whatever works for you. Just make sure you do it.
7. Get the diary out and write it down
Get everything into the diary, look at the list of activities and consider how they fulfill what you each want to get out of the holidays. Is the balance right?
Consider also how full the diary is? Make sure childcare is sorted and there are enough things organised. But definitely don’t overfill the list or remove space for spontaneity (that’s when some of the best stuff happens). And don’t worry if the children get bored, it’s good for them.
Now get planning, share your ideas with us and most importantly have a great summer.