Alright, we’ve identified the problem… and now, we’ve got a plan!
What’s this plan you ask? It has to do with finding tangible solutions – safe places to land… and forward motion. Like Spider-man, we’ll be traveling from rooftop to rooftop (each building representing a safe place to land.) In order to go forward… you’ve got to DO something.
Building #1 – Building/joining a SWOT Team.
SWOT stands for “STRENGTHS”, “WEAKNESSES”, “OPPORTUNITIES”, and“THREATS”. Build your support network. Get with people you know will spur you on, keep you accountable, and support you… get with doers.
Don’t know where to find one? Ask around… or better yet, start your own!
Shortly after writing my post on analysis paralysis (found in the blog itself)… I realized I can’t do this alone. I can try. But, if left up to me alone.. I could easily get swallowed up in too much thinking and not doing. So, I called up a couple friends of mine, who I knew were going through the same things. We are ALL doers… trapped in our thoughts and possible strategies. And, we started our SWOT. Aptly named: “SWOT Away Anaylisis Paralysis”.
What’s involved in a SWOT Team?
Meet consistently. Pick a day that works for everyone, find a time, choose a location that is central to everyone, and set aside 1-2 hrs. Commit to meeting.
Documentation. If you’ve got folks on unemployment, each meeting counts as a job search contact. So, make sure to have a record of each meeting and who attended. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got contact info for each of your members. Including any new members who have recently joined your group.
Accountability. Set weekly goals… realistic and attainable goals (so, you can accomplish them). Include these four catagories: professional development, job search, personal business, and health. All are important in your career change or job search. If you do not identify or allow yourself to admit your personal business and/or health needs… you’ll feel lousy because they may be keeping you from achieving career related action items.
For instance… I’ve been focusing on a move for the past few weeks. I’m moving from a two bedroom apartment (where I own the majority of the furnishings, kitchen items, plus my bedroom/bathroom) and I’m downsizing into a single bedroom, bathroom… with the majority of my stuff packed in storage. It’s been a chore to meticulously comb through all my stuff and purge what I don’t need or want. Did I mention we have to be out of the apartment this Sunday?? (It’s Friday now.)
If my weekly goals this week were to look like: sending out four resumes, set up two informational interviews, check out new networking meetings to get leads for my career change or vision. None of it would get done… and, I would feel lousy because my goals didn’t get done. Where in reality, my priority was taking care of my move (personal business). If I set my goals to focus on taking care of the personal business… at the end of the week I have achieved my action items. And, I feel good about it. More than that, I’m identifying the realities… I’m allowing myself to be OK with honoring the priorities I need to focus on.
The same would be true of taking care of a health issue: not feeling well due to a cold/flu, doctor’s appointment, therapy. Maybe something you want accountability on is exercising three times a week. I remember not getting enough sleep over a three day period… and catching up on sleep became one of my high priorities for my weekly goals. Honor that!
We’ve learned in our SWOT team… we have to honor each aspect of our lives. And, we need to be able give ourselves credit. It helps us go into the next week… feeling more assured and confident. If we don’t give ourselves the credit, it’s easy to look back on the week prior… and say, man… I didn’t get anything done! When in reality, you did… or something legitimate was holding you back.
My weekly goals included:
- Personal Business — Be moved out of the apartment (includes: cleaning, shampooing carpets, sorting/purging last minute odds & ends, Goodwill runs, last load to storage, walk through inspection, calling utility companies, and dropping off the keys.)
- Professional Development — Define table topics questions for Toastmasters presentation.
- Job Search — Send my resume to a friend who has offered to help craft a response to a job posting.
For a few weeks… my Personal Business catagory had taken the most of my time and been the biggest priority.
Check in with each other. Ok, so you’ve got your goals. Now what? Next time you meet, check in with each other and find out how everyone did.
Identify. Talk about what’s holding you back… what your weaknesses are and what is threatening your search. Could be fears… could be lack of time/too many extra commitments… or could be needing more experience.
Support. As iron sharpens iron… spur each other on. And, support each other. Give affirmations. Build each other up with encouragement.
Tangible tools. In our group, we’ve talked about setting aside time (or meetings) to work specifically on filling out applications… and crafting resumes. Find out what the needs are of your group, and set aside some meeting time to actively complete tasks together (working separately, but each person is actively working, on say, an application.)
Networking. One primary reason this team counts as a job search contact, is because of the networking aspect. Two heads are better than one. Where are you stuck? Who do you need that informational interview with? Maybe you need the name of a hiring manager of a company… a warm introduction. Or… a lead on a consulting project you’re working on. SWOT team is an easy way to share networking contacts.
Next up… building #2. Taking inventory.