“If you’re coasting, you’re either losing momentum or else you’re headed downhill.” – Joan Welsh
Planes cannot coast forever. At some point, they just run out of lift, and begin a descent – a very quick descent – and hopefully the pilot is strong enough to pull the plane out of the coast or a stall.
So it is in life and career. Some just elect to coast through their life and career, taking things as they come. It might be a comfortable ride, but it will end, and without a good plan of action, the decent is rapid and often unexpected. We see it every day – friends and family who are content to be unfulfilled and complacent.
Then turbulence appears. The people with resolution will grow and improve. They will have the thrust to pull out of turbulence and outmaneuver the challenges presented to them. They find their way and turn up the thrust that they had in reserve for the right moment. They move in a new direction – they find their smooth air where they are most efficient and productive.
Those who are not prepared are often caught off guard and they are not in control of their situation. Panic sets in followed by fear, and it is difficult to maneuver in these conditions. Valuable time that should be dedicated to moving forward is instead focused on reacting. Climbing out is more difficult than gliding out with the wind at your wings.
If you feel that you are coasting, how do
you get out of this coasting flight plan?
It is all about having the reserve “fuel” – the drive to turn the thrusters on when you need to change direction or correct a situation. Pilots wait for the right weather and flight conditions to achieve their best and most efficient ride. So should you.
What should be included in your
A clear understanding of your purpose in career and life: Knowing what you are best doing and motivated to do, perhaps your “calling” in career and life”, is essential. With this comes clarity in direction, and easier decision-making. If it doesn’t align with your purpose, it is not for you.
A plan of where you want to be – your goal: Knowing not only what you should do, but where you want to be is critical – or in other words, have clear goals.
A set of actions to achieve this – focused continually on your purpose and goals, and with specific actions: Goals without an action plan will go nowhere. Develop specific and measurable actions aligned to achieving your goals. The action may be to get your resume in shape and rewritten – write it down, commit to it and achieve it.
Your commitment – on all levels – to achieve: This is so critical. Without your personal commitment to get out of the coasting flight plan and do for yourself what you want to do, it will likely never happen. There is power in personal commitment!
Coasting? Settled? Not growing? Your choices: stay on that course and hope you can get through the turbulence or, better choice: have your flight plan ready and turn on the engines full throttle ahead. Maneuver through opportunities when you have the thrust or power. Try a different path if that is what is needed. Soar higher than ever before.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.next-act.com.