Fast Company: Success: Advancement and Caregiving–Challenge Work+Life Fit Roadblocks (More Day 2)

On Day 2 of the “Work+Life Fit in 5 Days” series of how-to basics, we’re challenging work+life fit roadblocks.   It’s important to know how to see, avoid and challenge the roadblocks related to success, fear, resistance and in-the-box-thinking before you begin the process of creating your work+life fit plan.

We started on the Work+Life Fit blog by defining and challenging the Success Roadblocks related to money and prestige that can trip you up unless you flexibly redefine success to match the fit you want to pursue.

Now, let’s identify and challenge the Success Roadblocks related to advancement and caregiving before they derail you.

Advancement—Redefining Success

Excerpt from Work+Life Finding the Fit That’s Right for You

“Advancement=Success.  Advancement is one of the cornerstones of our personal and cultural definition of success. As part of the FWI/Whirlpool New Providers Study, 1,502 women were asked “What makes you feel successful at work?” The answer with the highest percentage of responses by far was “quality of work/doing a good job/doing job right or well,” with 51% citing it as their top measure of success.  How do we gauge how well we’re doing our job? By whether or not we advance—whether or we’re given higher ratings, bigger titles, bigger offices, more money, more responsibilities, better projects,etc.

It’s not surprising then that the idea of plateauing or even stepping back is difficult, especially if you’re a Type-A person who is used to always grabbing for that next rung onthe ladder. If you aren’t advancing, you must be failing. Right?   But this belief is built on myth. Avoiding the red flags and roadblocks caused by an attachment to advancement requires dispelling the following myths…”  (Click here for more and to print or download PDF)

Takeaway Action Steps to Redefine Success Related to Advancement:

There are three lanes in the Work+Life Fit highway—fast lane, stop at the side of the road, and the “slower lane.”  We need to use them all. We pursue, yet resist, life in the fast lane.  When we are overwhelmed and feel there’s no other choice, we look for an off-ramp with the promise of being able to find an on-ramp someday.   We’ve limited our choices to an all-or-nothing highway.  I’m either in, or I’m out.

But in today’s reality there’s no guarantee of staying in the fast lane forever.  On-ramps are rare, if not non-existent; therefore, taking a career break really means stopping at the side of the road.  To stay on the highway, requires using the “slower” lane.

In this new era, over the course of a career, we will flexibly move, voluntarily and involuntarily, back and forth among the fast lane, the shoulder and increasingly, the slower lane.

What I love about this imagery is that even if you are pulling over into the slower lane you are still moving forward, just at a different pace.  Making the decision to not take a promotion, to take a pay cut to save your job, to take a lower level job in a new industry, to give up some of your responsibilities, to become a project-based consultant or to reduce your schedule doesn’t mean you are off the highway or moving backward.  You’re still in the game, just in a different lane for a period of time.

We need to recognize that the theory of spending time in the slower lane doesn’t sound so bad, until you look back over at the fast lane.  What’s happening?  Someone is passing you by.  That can be very difficult if we hold on to our traditional, rigid standards of success.  Moving among all three options means managing our expectations so that we are satisfied when we find ourselves reducing our momentum.   And then, when the time is right, pulling right back over into the fast lane.

Directly challenge common advancement related myths:…(Click here to go to Fast Company for more)