Making a career move can be thrilling and daunting.

It can also be the perfect motivator. One of my favorite parts about coaching clients on their career paths is working with them on their resumes. A resume gives us a practical assignment to talk through the “why” and the “reasoning” behind the change. By understanding the nitty-gritty, I can pick the best keywords and stories to showcase who they are in a succinct and captivating manner.

This is much more than sprucing up their documents and online profile.

It’s about refreshing their personal brand to mirror where they’re headed. It’s also about showcasing their one-of-a-kind awesomeness from the application, to interview, to joining the new team. Whether you’re gearing up for a career move or you’re happy where you are, evaluating your current situation can be just what the doctor ordered to energize your life.

The time is NOW to renew who you are and who you want to be.

This means stopping the behaviors that are no longer serving you. Often, we invent patterns we become comfortable with whether or not we intend to.

How often have you thought:

  • “But they expect that of me” or
  • “If I don’t do it, who will?”

If you find yourself in that mindset trap, now is the time to break free and recharge. Here’s a brief exercise you can do to help you choose what to change:

1. Grab a piece of paper and pen.

Then retreat to a quiet place where you can think.

2. Ask yourself, “what is not serving me well?” and make a list.

Don’t judge what you’re writing down. Spend 10-15 minutes thinking it through and listing all that comes to mind.

3. Now go through each item and determine the following:

a. Who is causing this particular expectation? Is it someone else or me?
b. Will my values be impacted if I choose to stop doing it?
c. Am I just doing this because I have always done it or is it still a priority?

4. After going through your list, circle the items where you’re the one causing the particular expectation.

These behaviors are easiest to change since you’re in control of them.

For instance, I got stuck on specific timing for my communication activities. Because of that, I focused on delivering something on a specific day at the same time each week. No one asked me to do that and nothing was dependent on whether or not I did. The minute I realized that I was the creator of my own stress, I changed my self-imposed pattern that was not aligned with my current priorities.

5. If someone else is causing the expectation, think through the importance level and decide if it’s worth discussing.

Evaluate if the issue is a work priority or was it created by routine. After assessing, think through how you can minimize, workaround, or remove it. Reach out to the intended party to reassess and find a resolution with an open, honest, and forward-looking mindset.

For example, reporting metrics is a must-have on most corporate change programs. A few years ago, due to the company structure on a particular global project, I was filling out three different templates highlighting almost identical information on a routine basis.

I found this task draining and with no value-add. Because I knew that the program office needed to report a certain way and two of the templates were for them, I decided to talk to my manager to understand his viewpoint and actual needs. He listened and acknowledged that he really only needed 1-2 bullets from my monthly reports. So, as a compromise, he asked me to just pull a few bullets from my other reporting templates and email them to him instead, removing the need for filling out the 3rd template. This made a huge impact on my overall well-being and saved the company time and money. A win-win.

If you’re looking for additional ways to think through change, here are five steps to get you started on your change journey and a tool that can help you clear out the old behaviors. You may also want to review these character traits to help you get into a can-do and will-do mindset.