Changing jobs is one of the five most stressful things you can do in your life, so how do you make sure you’re making the right decision and stop worrying that you’re making a mistake?
Lindsay Gordon is an award-winning career coach who works with senior leaders that are evaluating a possible career change and want to make a clear and confident decision about their next steps so they can move forward with purpose.
She explains how to foster the right mindset when making a decision, how to know if you’re ready to make a career-changing decision, and what to do if you think you’ve made the wrong decision.
Lindsay Gordon of A Life of Options
Website: A Life of Options
LinkedIn: Lindsay Gordon
Facebook: A Life of Options
Lindsay is an award-winning career coach for analytically minded people who want to stop doing what they think is “right” in their career and start doing what’s right for them. She works with senior leaders who are evaluating a possible career change and want to make a clear and confident decision about their next steps so they can move forward with purpose. She also helps companies retain and engage their employees by sharing what she’s learned from working with clients over the past 6+ years.
Lindsay has worked with thousands of people at companies like Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Boeing, CBS, Google, Wells Fargo, Mars and iRobot. With her guidance and frameworks, more than 50% of her clients don’t quit and 100% make a confident decision that is right for them.
Lindsay started her career working as a recycled water engineer in Melbourne, Australia before landing at Google doing technical support for the Google Apps team. After five years of technical support, she transitioned into career development at Google before starting her own business. In 2021, Lindsay was named to the Forbes Next 1000 list and she has been featured in publications and podcasts such as Business Insider, Thrive Global, How to Be Awesome at Your Job, and Side Hustle School. Lindsay holds a BS in Bioengineering from The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a Core Strengths Coaching Certificate from San Francisco State University, and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. She’s the author of “Right For YOU: Structure Your Thinking, Make a Decision, and Move Forward with Your Career (and Life)” published in September 2022.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [2:17] Why Lindsay wrote a book to help people make the right decisions.
- [6:10] The danger of making important decisions while under duress.
- [8:45] How to maintain the right mindset during tough times.
- [11:05] What to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with despair at your job.
- [13:05] How to know when you’re ready for change.
- [14:20] A framework for making important work-related decisions.
- [16:33] How to find out if a job or role will be a good fit for you.
- [17:41] How your fulfilment differs from your values.
- [19:29] How to know when you’re ready to make a decision.
- [22:22] Ways you can shift your perspective around your current job.
- [25:46] How to get over the fear that you might make the wrong decision.
- [30:03] How to accept that you might not be ready to make a decision.
- [32:28] The difference between taking your time over a decision and avoiding making a decision.
- [35:55] What to do if you think you’ve made the wrong decision.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
Episode 141: How to make big career decisions - with Lindsay Gordon of A Life of Options
Jeremy Cline 0:00
They say that changing job is one of the five most stressful things you can do in your life. So, it's no surprise that you want to get it right, that you want to make the decision which is right for you. But how do you make that decision? What do you do if it just isn't clear in your mind which is the right way to go? How do you weigh up the competing factors which might point you in one direction or the other? What do you do if you simply can't decide? And what do you do if you think you've made the wrong decision? That's what we're going to talk about in this week's episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:50
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast where we're all about beating Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. If you want to know how you can enjoy a more satisfying and fulfilling working life, then you're in the right place. And welcome to the third birthday of the Change Work Life podcast. Three years ago this week, if you're listening to this the week it comes out, I published my first podcast episodes, and I'm delighted that it's still going strong. This week, we're talking about decisions. You'll probably face a number of important career related decisions during your working life. Should you stay or should you go? Which job offers should you accept? Should you change career? All important decisions, but often also very difficult decisions. So, how do you go about making the best decision, the one that's right for you? To help answer this and more, I'm delighted to welcome back to the podcast Lindsay Gordon of A Life of Options. Lindsay is an award-winning career coach and author of a book all about decision making. She was also my guest back in Episode 115, so make sure you check out that episode. Lindsay, welcome back to the podcast.
Lindsay Gordon 1:58
Thank you so much, what a pleasure to get to be here again.
Jeremy Cline 2:01
So, by the time this episode goes out, hopefully, your book will have been published. But we're recording this a couple of months beforehand, and I'm conscious that things can change, but why don't you tell us what you can about the book, what it's about, who it's for, and what motivated you to write it?
Lindsay Gordon 2:17
Yeah, so the book is called Right For You, and it is all about how do you make a decision that you know you're going to be happy with, and what I want for people is to have a resource to figure out how to be decided about any decision that you are waffling about. Whether that's the question to quit or not, whether that's the question to go back to school and get another degree, there are often these questions that are plaguing us for years and years, and so, I want to help people be decided about those decisions. And as far as what prompted me to write the books, there are two things. Number one, I work with a coach, as I think all coaches should, and my coach said, 'You know what, Lindsay, I think it's time for you to write a book. I think that's something that you've been talking about being in the future, but it is time to be able to share everything that you have learned working with clients over the last six years.' And so, I took that prompt, and I'm just so excited, because really what I think of it is, as I am honouring the courage of every single one of my clients that I've worked with, who figured out how to do what was right for them in their career, and I want to share that knowledge with as many people as possible. So, I think there's something like 50 stories or little snippets of what it truly looks like when people figure out what is right for them and make a decision they're excited about. So, that's really the motivation for the book, it's to share all the knowledge that I have and to get it out there, so that more people can benefit.
Jeremy Cline 4:08
And how has the writing process been for you? I have heard that it can be one of those things, once you start, you kind of look at it and think it's this monster on the corner of the desk, you think, 'Oh, no, I've got to carry on writing this book.'
Lindsay Gordon 4:22
Yeah, it's been such an interesting process so far. And I have chosen to do it in one very interesting way, which I'll share with you in a sec, but it's not the way that everybody needs to write a book, right? So, just as in career, there's a way to do what's right for you. For me, I am really excited to be part of a book writing programme, and one of their challenges is to write your book in a week, to get the first draft out. And because they work mostly with business owners writing nonfiction, they say, 'Look, it's probably all in your head. You've probably been thinking about it, you've probably been writing it, you probably say the same things all day every day in your business, and if you give yourself a container, you can actually get it out in a pretty short period of time.' So, that was actually really fun for me to take that challenge of, yeah, I've been doing this for a while, and I have the same stories that I tell, and I have the same frameworks that I share with clients. And so, I managed to actually get it out in a pretty short period of time, and now, it's really the process of the editing and the copy editing and the cover design, which is all interesting, because it's the first time for me. So, I think, start to finish, it will have been about four months from first draft to publication. So, it's pretty wild.
Jeremy Cline 5:52
Wow! That sounds like a very short time period. And are you self-publishing, or are you working with a publisher?
Lindsay Gordon 5:59
I am self-publishing, yeah.
Jeremy Cline 6:01
Awesome. Well, I can't wait to see it when it comes out. So, I wanted to start with the mindset around making decisions. Because it strikes me that it's important to avoid making decisions when you are in a state of fear, a state of anger, a state of frustration, something like that. Can you talk to that point? First of all, I'm interested to know whether you actually agree with me, but yeah, could you talk to that point?
Lindsay Gordon 6:34
I do agree with you. I kind of think about it as making decisions under duress. And when we are stressed about work, when we are unhappy about where we are, when we have made a decision where maybe we think we made the wrong decision, people tend to act pretty rashly, or make a decision that's not right for them, or I think look at shiny things. So, I have a client right now who came to me and said, 'I was poached during the pandemic, and I can see now that this was absolutely a shiny job syndrome. And this was not the right thing for me, and the way higher salary got me.' So, I think you're absolutely right, the decisions we make in the times of stress and fear and angst are not always going to be the ones that really align with what's actually going to be better for us.
Jeremy Cline 7:38
Some decisions can, obviously, be made quite quickly. But the decision-making process where you're looking at something big, like a new job, or a new career, it can obviously be quite a drawn-out process. There might be the process of figuring out what you want, there's making the applications, there's all that kind of thing. And so, it's quite a long period to try to maintain the right mindset, especially, if you, obviously, you want to be running to something, but you may well be wanting to run away, and you might be in the middle of a process, and you have a bad day, which reminds you just why you're leaving, and you just think, 'Oh, why can't this hurry up!? I'm just desperate to leave!' So, how can you kind of maintain, maybe not all the time, but at the right points, the right mindset, so you don't sort of do anything rash is part of the process?
Lindsay Gordon 8:45
I think there are a couple of different ways that you can achieve that. So, number one, I try to help clients remember that the bigger picture is always learning more about yourself and what works for you. And we can do that by having jobs that fit, but we can also do that by having jobs that don't fit. So, as stressful and unpleasant as it can be to have jobs that don't fit, it still has information to it. So, I think that's kind of one mindset shift of what am I learning in the current pain, and how can I apply that in the future. So, that's probably one way that I would think about it. And the next way is, I always try to help people think about what are you gaining in your current role. So, even if it's not the right fit, even if you would like to leave it as soon as possible, really think about are there experiences that I can have here, are there people that I can connect with, what is it that I want to achieve before I leave this place? And thinking about, I often have people zoom forward to their last day in that job, and to think about, okay, as I walk out the doors on that last day, what would I like to have achieved? What conversations, what skills, how would I have liked to have shown up, and really thinking about closing out that job well, while acknowledging that it wasn't what you hoped it would be. And sometimes, allowing for the grieving process of that, too, of saying, 'I really hoped it was going to be this, and it really hasn't turned out the way that I want', so kind of letting yourself feel all the things along the way, but really focusing on what I want to have done or accomplished or felt by the last day here. And sometimes that can help you focus on what you want to be doing now.
Jeremy Cline 10:55
It strikes me that there are still going to be those times where you're internally screaming, 'I just want to get out of here.'
Lindsay Gordon 11:03
Here's what I do in that case. Number one is kind of turn on that, crisis mode is maybe not the best way to think about it, but it's like, okay, I need to do everything I can to conserve my mental energy. Right? If it is so bad, it's just like, okay, what can I do? Are there ways that I can pull back from the work? Are there ways that I can remove myself from some of the worst of the meetings? What can I do? What do I have in my power to really conserve my mental sanity? And so, that's kind of one direction in the workplace, how do we think about that. And then, outside of work, oftentimes, I say, okay, we know that work is pretty terrible, what are the things that you can do outside of work that are going to help fill you up, that are going to help sustain you? So, for some clients, that's like, you know what, I would be able to survive Monday morning if I could get to the beach before I start work. So, I was like, great, you know, let's put that into the calendar, so that at least we're filling you up outside of work, to be able to have some resilience in work, when we know it's pretty terrible. So, those are some ways to think about in work and out of work ways to deal with the really low times.
Jeremy Cline 12:31
So, the first decision might be that something needs to change, that the status quo won't work. And then, there's going to be lots of decisions that follow that. But what about if you've got doubts about even making that first decision? So, this is going to get a little bit meta here, but when you're talking about deciding to make a decision, how do you know that you're kind of ready to get to the start line, to the start of the process?
Lindsay Gordon 13:05
I wonder if there's a curiosity that shows up. When you start to question like, I wonder if this is where I want to be, or does this really fit for the long term, so maybe looking for those moments of curiosity and seeing if you can start to take action before we get to the moment that it's like, 'Oh, my gosh, I absolutely hate everything, I need to get out of here.' So, maybe look for those first moments of questioning, of, gosh, do I really want to be doing this? Is this the contribution that I want to have?
Jeremy Cline 13:46
I like the idea of curiosity, because it's again, much more positive than the fear or loathing or whatever it might be. So, starting to think, 'Is this right? Could I be doing things differently?', rather than that internal screaming that we talked about.
Lindsay Gordon 14:05
Yeah, exactly. Yes. Whatever we can do to not get you to that point of internal screaming, let's do that.
Jeremy Cline 14:13
So, let's talk about process then, which I suspect is going to be what is going to be of most interest to many people. I guess the simple framework could be, step one, decide that you're going to make a decision, step two, get some evidence, do some research, step three, make the decision. That sounds very simplistic, I'm interested to know how you approach it.
Lindsay Gordon 14:36
Yeah. So, because of my engineering background, I'm always like, yes, what is the framework we are using to organise our thoughts and make this decision? So, yes, definitely a framework. And the one that I use is pretty simple with clients, and there are four main aspects that I also cover in the book. So, one is getting clear about your values. The second piece is getting clear about your strengths. The third is getting clear about your fulfilment in work and which parts of work are most important to you. And then, fourth is really about environment. So, I find that, if you can get really clear about those aspects, then you build this basically tailored framework to help you make decisions at every step of the process. So, as you said, there are going to be lots of decisions, and it's going to be a drawn-out process, but what I like to do is help people build their own framework to help them at every point, so that there's less of that decision fatigue, and then you just go back and check the framework of like, okay, yes, let's think about strengths. Are they actually going to relate? Yes, no, maybe. Do I need to collect more information? So, that's really the simplest framework that I take people through to help them structure their thinking.
Jeremy Cline 16:03
Okay, so where I talked about the getting evidence bit, then that's something that you can divide effectively into two parts. One is getting the evidence about yourself, values, strengths and so on. And then, when you're looking at the decision to change career, change jobs, whatever it might be, it's getting evidence that whatever you're considering changing to is a match to that which you've already identified about yourself.
Lindsay Gordon 16:32
Yeah, absolutely. And I think there are parts of the process where you will be unclear about that match. And in that case, you get to go have really great conversations with somebody who's in that role, with the hiring manager for that role, whoever it is. And the way that I love for people to do this is, once you've learned about yourself, you can say, 'I know that I thrive in this type of environment. How does that show up in this role?' Right? So, you're really asking questions that are very clearly about the fit that is going to be right for you, instead of big, generic questions of, 'Oh, tell me about this role, or what do you like best about this role?' It's like, no, I know that I need these things in order to thrive, can you let me know how those relate, or how those show up in the role?
Jeremy Cline 17:30
Of those four things, could you speak a little bit more about fulfilment and how that differs from things like values or environment?
Lindsay Gordon 17:41
Yeah, so this is specifically about kind of areas of work. And the way that we do this is through very standard coaching tool, called the wheel of life, and we look at eight different areas of career. So, things like results, relationships, climate and culture, career development. So, it's almost, maybe you could think about it as like, yes, it's values, but it's specific in the workplace. So, we get more focused on career development, generating results, things like that. As far as environment, that's more about physical environment, and the day-to-day work. So, yeah, a little bit related, but that's kind of the way that I would think about those two categories differently.
Jeremy Cline 18:33
Okay, so fulfilment, you might be informed on that by the work you've done on values, and it's what it might practically look like. So, I guess if one of your values is learning, for example, then it's looking to see how that value might practically be met, say, in a practical way, which has many uses the word practical, but yeah, that kind of thing.
Lindsay Gordon 18:58
Yeah, absolutely. It's really applying it to the workplace. Yeah.
Jeremy Cline 19:02
I'll call it a trap, which many people will be aware of and probably fall into, is analysis paralysis. So, thinking, 'Oh, I just need more evidence. I just need more evidence. I just need to do a bit more research.' And then, you do so much research but never end up making the decision. At what point do you come to the decision that you are ready to make a decision and that you don't need any more evidence?
Lindsay Gordon 19:29
I like to help people shift from just the thinking into kind of the being of it. So, I think the moment, and it's probably not as crisp a moment, maybe we want to romanticise, 'Ah, now I know that I'm ready to make a decision', but it's probably not that crisp, it's probably a little gooey and messy and unclear, but I think there's a point where you can recognise the spiral of like the what-if, of the same conversations going round and round in your head, looking at pros and cons lists, those are, I think, some of the identifiers of when it's like, okay, I think I might have enough information. But the way that I get people out of the what-if spiral is a great concept from the book Designing Your Life, and they talk about grokking a decision. And this is much more about kind of practising the decision and seeing what your body has to say about it. So, they have you do the exercise of, okay, let's live for the next, whatever it is, 12, 24 hours, as if you've chosen option A. And you go about your whole day like that, and you brush your teeth like that, and you cook your meals like that, and you just test out. Okay, I have chosen to, let's say, stay in this job. How does that feel? What kind of feedback do I get? What is my initial reaction? Is there like a sense of relief of like, okay, I actually don't have to make a change right now? And then, you do the next 12, 24, whatever it is hours with option B. Okay, now I'm going to test out living as though I have made the decision to make a move. And same thing, how does that feel? What does that feel like? What are the initial reactions? So, I think that's a great way to get out of analysis paralysis, do as much analysis as is useful, but then once you feel that spiral, let's practice the, okay, what does it feel like if I really made that decision? And sometimes even saying that to clients, like here's the exercise you're going to do, practice with both, sometimes they'll already have an initial feeling where their body's like, 'No, no, no, no, don't make me move. It's not time yet', or whatever it is.
Jeremy Cline 21:58
I'm just wondering, let's say you're in a job, and you're taking a decision to move to a new job, how you kind of simulate that I've made the decision to be in the new job, this is what it's going to look like, when you're still in the old job. So, how do you kind of make that simulation, maybe not realistic, but as useful as possible?
Lindsay Gordon 22:22
Yeah, I think you could consider things like, if you decide in your body that you've made that decision, then how do you look at your current job differently? If I told you that this was the last week that you had to do these kinds of tasks, or this was the last week that you had to interact with these humans. So, I think it can give you a different sense of, okay, I'm moving on from this job, I'm not going to have to do this anymore. And then maybe, you start to zoom out, if you were hyper focused on the downsides, maybe you start to zoom out, and then you're like, well, actually, you know what I wouldn't have access to, this programme that my company offers is actually really great, and that's one of the biggest things that I do here. So, I think it just gets a little bit more real when you start to practice. What if this is my last week? What if I'm only going to be in this job for X amount of time? So, that's maybe how I would think about it. And then also, maybe it's better to do the experiment on a weekend, so that you can not be having to do the tasks that day, to be able to practice that thinking.
Jeremy Cline 23:36
Do you ever roleplay this with clients? So, I'm just thinking that could be an interesting exercise?
Lindsay Gordon 23:41
No. The only thing I do is, sometimes I play a game that is very not approved by coaching standards, and I tell people this. So, I play the game of 'you have to'. So, what I say is, remember how I told you as a coach that I have no idea what's right for you, it's not about advice, I'm not going to tell you what to do. Well, I lied to you. And now, what I'm going to tell you is that I actually know the right answer, and you have to do what I say. And so, we'll go through the game of, okay, what if I told you that you have to stay in this role for at least another year, and that is absolutely the right thing for you. And then, I'll say, 'Okay, how does that feel?' Okay, now, what if I tell you that, you know what, this environment really isn't right for you, and you really have to move on? And you're going to need to do that pretty quickly. Okay, how does that feel? And even just going through that prompt of having somebody tell you, 'You have to do this', clients often have such interesting reactions, feelings, even just from that thought experiment. So, that's kind of a little roleplaying that I do.
Jeremy Cline 24:58
Nice. No, I like that, I love, I'll have to try and incorporate that to my process actually. Linked, I guess, to analysis paralysis and wanting to get more evidence is the fear of making the wrong decision, especially if you perceive that you have made wrong decisions in the past. So, you know, maybe you're six months into a job, and actually, in hindsight, it wasn't the right choice. And now, you're thinking about maybe moving again, but you've got this fear, I really don't want to be making a move, and then in another six months' time thinking, 'No, this was the wrong decision.' So, yeah, how can you get over that fear?
Lindsay Gordon 25:46
This is probably one of the biggest fears that I see in clients, because it does really kind of do things to your confidence. When you make a decision, you're like, 'Wow, that really didn't get me into a better situation, I now can't trust any of the decisions that I'm going to make.' So, my first rule is always add kindness, compassion and grace, to any decision that you have made. So, I think, number one, nobody teaches us how to do this, nobody teaches us how to make decisions that are right for us. Two, there is a lot, a lot, a lot of pressure about what you should do, what work should mean to you. And then also, three, there are a lot of systemic barriers in the workplace that are not interested in you doing what's right for you. So, number one, I just like to set the context for people of this is why it is so hard to make decisions that are right for us. So, give yourself kindness, give yourself grace, I have no doubt that you are doing absolutely the best that you could in that moment. And the outcome was that you didn't get into a place that was better for you. So, now, as you make decisions going forward, I really think about this process of getting to know what's right for you as a way to rebuild your self-trust. So, you probably didn't have a really clear and articulate way of describing what wasn't working for you about that past role, and what you hoped was going to be working for you about this new role. So, you only had some amount of information, but my hope is that, as you get clearer about what's right for you, as you build this tailored framework for you, you will just have more information, and you will have a better way to make a decision. So, that's kind of the second piece. And then, the third piece is, I want you to have a different way of thinking about decisions that is not just let's make the one that is right, and let's avoid the one that is wrong. So, two of my favourite articles about this, number one, there's a great article in HBR that talks about stop worrying about making the right decision, love the title already, helping create some relief, but really what they're talking about is, when we get hyper focused on the moment of decision, of oh my gosh, should I take this job or not, or oh my gosh, should I go to management or stay with individual contributor, when we get hyper focused there, we actually lose our agency, because the place where we have control is in the days and weeks and months after we make that decision. So, there's no right or wrong decision, but once you make the decision, okay, what is the intention that you are going to put behind that decision to ensure that it is the right one for you? And then, secondly, there's a great resource, or a great talk by Professor Ruth Chang, who talks about hard decisions where there's no right answer. And her question that she asks is, turn inwards and ask yourself, 'What can I be committed to, instead of what is the right answer, what is the wrong answer?' So, those are all of the different ways that I help people rebuild their trust and be able to know that they can make a decision that's going to be right for them.
Jeremy Cline 29:39
When is it okay not to have made your mind up? Because this is another pressure that people sometimes put under themselves. The 'I feel like I should have made a decision by now', but maybe that's not the case. So, yeah, how do you get comfortable about the fact that maybe you're not yet ready to make a decision?
Lindsay Gordon 30:03
I think there will be a lot of pressure. So, first, always acknowledging that, of why am I feeling like I need to have made a decision by now, who is telling me that I need to have made a decision by now. And just really noticing that, so we can kind of set it to the side. But this is something that I even do in my life, if I find myself trying to pressure myself into being decided about something, and it doesn't feel right, I will sometimes, again, I always need to structure my own thinking, because otherwise I will be in the spiral, I will be in the what-if, sometimes what I will do is give myself a timeline of not making the decision. So, for example, last year, my husband and I were trying to figure out where we wanted to live. And it was a very hard decision for us, had many moving parts, and we had really tried to force the decision for months and months and months, and then we were like, 'You know what? We're not making a decision until next year.' It's just not the right time, it's creating a lot of stress. And so, we are going to give ourselves, I think it was six months at that point, we're going to give ourselves six months without constantly asking the question where do we want to live. And I think that can be such a beautiful gift to ourselves sometimes. And it can be any length of time. It can be, I am not going to think about changing my career for the next quarter. I'm just going to focus on really doing a good job, learning more about myself in a calm way, but let me give myself a break, and let me give my brain a break so that it's not constantly spinning. So, that's something I really love to do, and you give yourself as much time as you need, as feels good, to give yourself space from this decision making.
Jeremy Cline 31:53
I love the idea, I think giving yourself space is a great idea, and I'm now going to turn it around to my sort of perceived drawback, which is that then in six months' time, you make the decision again to kick it down for another six months, and then another six months, and it becomes sort of constantly kicking the can down the road, because you're allowing yourself this extra space, which might be right for you or might be not right, because it's turned into avoidance. So, can you talk to that?
Lindsay Gordon 32:27
Yeah, that's a good question. Where is it kindness, and where is it avoidance? Yeah, I don't know that I have a great answer for that, I'll have to keep thinking about that. It's so interesting, because I feel like, when I first did my coaching certificate, one of the things they said about coaching is that sometimes it is actually surfacing how bad the thing is that you are tolerating. And I was like, that's such an interesting concept of coaching, you are tolerating something that is unpleasant, and you are not seeing it fully, or not really paying attention to it, and coaching is kind of like lighting the fire under you that is like, 'No, no, you're really surviving something that you don't want. And so, let's figure out how to get you out of that.' So, that's kind of like an interesting part of it, what are you tolerating, are you actually just ignoring the decision, and then I think there's a question as to how far do you let it go. So, ideally, we want to not get to the place of internal screaming that you mentioned, because that makes it harder to make that decision. So, I wonder if it's experimenting for yourself. So, after six months, do you feel like your brain has had time to calm down? Do you feel like there is additional space for you to look at this question? Maybe it's that curiosity too, has the curiosity arisen of, okay, I think I'm ready to look for what might it be, or is there still a feeling of like, oh my gosh, I am not in a place where I can make this decision, and feeling that fear and that anger? So, I don't have a good answer, but these are some of the musings, as you asked me a really good question.
Jeremy Cline 34:44
That's great. No, that's, I think, yeah, just picking these things and sort of bringing them into it and seeing where they land, and trying to do that when you're in a sort of relatively calm, and there's the word again, curious state, rather than, 'Why can't I make a decision!?', sort of stressed out, yeah, that's great. Touching back on something which we've covered a little bit, you're never really going to know whether a decision is the right one until after the event, particularly if you're starting a new job, it's going to be three, six months down the line before you really have a good idea whether or not it's the right decision. If it turns out that you feel like it's the wrong decision, you've accepted the wrong job, and you're starting to bubble up against all these fears, these doubts about your own decision-making ability, what are some of the things that you can do, whether it was a case of giving it a bit longer, starting to take action on it again so soon after having made the last decision, where might you go from there?
Lindsay Gordon 35:54
I think that, first, I would start with the framework. So, go back to what you have learned about yourself and what you thought was going to be great about this job. So, if you knew that, or if you had a sense that you were going to be able to use your top five strengths, if you had a sense that your values were going to be at play, go back to that specific list, and just check in. What feels out of alignment? What's starting to feel like it's not working? And what course correction can we do? I think there's so much more that we can do to shift and mould and experiment in our jobs than sometimes we think. It can often feel like, oh my gosh, quitting is my only option, or oh my gosh, this is the wrong decision, but there's so much that we can tweak and test, and conversations that we can have, and requests that we can make, so I would go back to the specifics and see what changes we can make there. Number two, I would catch yourself for being in the right decision versus wrong decision binary, and really look at, okay, if I take on that there's no such thing as a wrong decision, what space does that give me to explore, to question, to look for other opportunities to shift and mould? And then, I think humans are story making machines, and there's so much opportunity for you to create the story of this job for you. So, if you start to realise that it's actually not going to be a really long-term fit, what is the story that you can tell yourself that allows you to not devolve into 'this is terrible'? So, is this job a steppingstone to the next thing that's going to be interesting? Is this job an opportunity for you to get XYZ skillset? Is this job an opportunity for you to connect with a lot of interesting people in this field? Is this job an opportunity to take advantage of their internal mobility, to make the move from the area of the organisation you're in now to the area that you want to be? So, I'm always amazed at how much people can shift their own mindset without needing to change something about the job. Even if it's not the right thing, there's a way for you to powerfully choose, I am here for these reasons, while acknowledging this is not perfect, this is not long term, but it gives you that freedom to just acknowledge what is and do what you can with the situation.
Jeremy Cline 39:02
Brilliant. Love that. That's great. Well, thank you so much for talking us through this framework. It's been really helpful for me, and I'm sure it's going to be helpful for a lot of other people. Where can people find you, and most importantly, where can they get the book?
Lindsay Gordon 39:19
Yes, so my website is alifeofoptions.com. And the book will be available everywhere books are, usually Amazon is the best place to find it. And again, it's called Right For You.
Jeremy Cline 39:37
Brilliant. Well, hopefully, by the time this interview comes out, it will have been published and available, and I'll put links to it in the show notes. Well, Lindsay, it's been a pleasure to have you on again, thank you so much for coming on and talking us through this topic.
Lindsay Gordon 39:51
Oh my goodness, thank you. I always love getting to chat about it. So, my pleasure.
Jeremy Cline 39:56
Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Lindsay Gordon have A Life of Options. Such a pleasure to have Lindsay back on the show again, she is so sensible and yet also so fun to talk to. There was so much to take away from the episode that it's difficult to pick one or two highlights. But the thing I want to pick up on was this idea of treating yourself with some kindness, compassion and grace. I've seen with my own coaching clients, the pressure that they put themselves under, beating themselves up about not having made the decision, having made the wrong decision, oh, I should have made a decision by now, what's wrong with me, and as Lindsay and I discussed at the start of the interview, when you're making decisions from a place of fear or self-doubt, you're just not in the right frame of mind to be taking these big important decisions. We can quite simply give ourselves a break. Instead of fretting about which is the right decision, you can almost treat it like an interesting puzzle. As Lindsay suggested, you can kind of start to do a bit of roleplay in your head. What might day-to-day life look like if I went for job A or job B? So, I hope you found some useful tips in that interview with Lindsay. As I mentioned, this episode marks the third birthday of when I first launched this podcast. I'm genuinely so pleased to have kept it going for that long. And wow, the world has changed in that time, with the COVID pandemic and everything else. But I couldn't have done this without you. If this podcast got zero listeners, well, you know, I'm not sure that I would have kept it going. But it has had some listeners, including you. And I'm incredibly grateful for that. I've learned a heck of a lot from three years of interviewing some truly amazing guests. But what really keeps me going is knowledge that you're out there, you're listening to this, you're sharing in this fantastic information provided all for free by the guests I've had. Wherever you are in your career, you're the hero of your own journey. And hopefully, what I've been able to do is provide you with a few hints and tips about how you can navigate your own way. Now, if you've got any big decisions coming up, you'll definitely want to check out the show notes page for this episode, where you can find the summary of everything that we talked about, and you'll find that at changeworklife.com/141, that's changeworklife.com/141. Now, the thing about decision making is that it's very difficult to get out of your own head. There's an expression which is something like, you can't see the label when you're inside the bottle. You've got or can get all the information you need to make these important career decisions, but sometimes having an outside perspective, someone you can bounce ideas off of, someone who can help clarify your thoughts, can be really valuable. Going through this difficult decision-making process is something I've been doing with my coaching clients. And so, if it's something that you're facing at the moment, maybe you've got a difficult career decision, maybe you don't know which way to turn, and you'd like to explore with me how I might be able to help you, then do get in touch. You can book a free introductory 30-minute coaching call on my website. And you'll find the link to do that at changeworklife.com/coaching. That's changeworklife.com/coaching. There's another great episode coming your way in two weeks' time, so make sure you've subscribed to the show if you haven't already. Whatever podcast apps you're using, there's bound to be a plus button or a subscribe button or a follow button, so make sure you hit that to get each episode delivered straight to you as soon as it gets published, and I can't wait to see you in two weeks' time. Cheers. Bye.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Thank you for listening!
If you have any questions or comments, please fill out the form on the Contact page.
I would be so grateful if you’d:
- Support the show
- Leave a review on Apple Podcasts to help others find the show.
- Subscribe to the show.
- Join the Change Work Life Facebook group.
- Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Share this episode using the buttons below.