Here in the Netherlands, summer holidays have started. The quieter summer period is always a good moment to take stock. To reflect back on the first part of the year and consciously set intentions for the remainder of the year. Reflection I think is especially important since we are in such extraordinary times. With the coronavirus, shelter in place, lockdown, events in the US and the now worldwide attention to racism in society and in our own lives. That was a lot for the first half of the year and so different from what we all expected.
So taking some time to reflect on many small and big ways these events impacted your life is helpful I think. Extraordinary situations have a way of putting the spotlight on what really matters in your life. Emphasizing what is important to you but also highlighting the things that weren’t working for you. Making it even more clear because of these extraordinary circumstances.
So here are some reflection questions. Pick the ones that speak to you and take some time to write about these questions.
• How have these events effected your personal life and your work life?
• What did you learn about yourself in the past months?
• What have you learned about what really matters to you?
• What have you learned about what you need to change in your life?
• What really sustained and nourished you?
• What are you proud of?
• What was your biggest success (according to your own definition of success).
• What gave you the most energy in the past 6 months?
• What are you grateful for?
To keep & to let go:
• What do you want keep or do more of?
• What do you want to let go or stop doing?
Looking ahead to the rest of 2020 (assuming that life still we be very different)
• How do you want to feel the coming 6 months?
• What actions can you take that will help you feel this way?
• In what way do you want to make a difference (both at work and at home) in the coming 6 months? *)
• What is the first step that will bring you closer to that? Something you can start doing today?
*)This should be about something that you are really enthusiastic about yourself!! Not something your head tells you is REALLY important or sensible to do. Look for something that makes you excited, energized and smile (and maybe makes you feel scared as well). Something that makes you feel that you are really making the contribution you would love to make.
My own reflections
One of the things my own reflection made me see is that lately I feel that life has become more predictable and a bit boring because of the COVID 19 measures. However paradoxical this might be amid so much uncertainty. We go out less, see less friends and family, less parties. The wonderful training I have been following (Playing big facilitators training) for the past 8 months has ended. I miss the learning, the connection and the new impulses and inspiration it brought every week. I miss giving live workshops in a room full of people. Although I am an introvert I feel like these things also gave more sparkle, energy and new impulses to my life. So during the summer I am going to look for smaller and bigger things that can bring me new impulses and inspiration (while still taking into account that we’re still in a global pandemic of course). What more is possible given this situation?
I also miss hugging my friends and family and I also worry about the lack of physical contact at large in society. Physical contact is as vital for life as eating and drinking! (as some really scary experiments the Nazis did during the war made clear). So I hug my husband and kids more than ever and want to continue doing that! I also will continue on my journey in learning about institutional racism and my own unconscious racism.
For the most part I feel so grateful! I love seeing my kids and husband much more, the less stressful pace of life because it is more centered around the home. I am proud of how adaptable we all turned out to be. As for my work I am grateful I was able to grow my business in these uncertain times and that new opportunities have come my way. I am grateful for our health, for living so near the woods, our house that gives us a home to be together but also provides space for everyone to be alone when they want to. I am grateful that both me and my husband are able to work from home. I am grateful for the support of the schools of our children. I am grateful for the online communities I am part of. And I am grateful for so much more!
Do you want to use the summer period to think about your next career step? To get clearer on what you would really love to do next?
👉 Two resources might help you with that:
My podcast ‘Beyond your PhD’.
Get inspired by the career stories of scientists and former scientist. My guests on the podcast did not take the conventional route in academia (PhD, Postdoc, assistant professor, associate professor, professor). They found a different route within academia or they found very fulfilling jobs outside academia. The podcast has some English episodes and Dutch episodes. You can listen to the podcast here.
My free video training on the Myths of finding your passion.
In this training I will debunk a number of myths that stand in the way of you finding a fulfilling next career step. You don’t have to find your passion to find a job you love! In this video training I’ll show you a different route and share three keys that will help you find a job you love. Download the video training here.