Is Your Career Stuck in the ‘Someday’ Trap?

By Vicki Voisin, ACP

When opportunities come your way, do you usually say, “I’ll do that when I have time!”?

When you consider your career goals, do you usually think, “I’ll get around to that in the future!”?

When the sticky notes and piles of papers and files accumulate in your office, do you usually think, “I can’t be bothered with that so I’ll ignore the clutter for now!”?

You may be stuck in the ‘someday’ trap!

The ‘someday’ trap brings your goals to a standstill. It plays havoc with your future.  It kills productivity. It causes procrastination. If you allow yourself to let ‘someday’ be a part of your thinking you’re going to find it very difficult to move your career forward and reach your life goals.

Consider: 

  • Someday you’ll sit for a certification exam.
  • Someday you’ll move to that area of the law that really interests you.
  • Someday you’ll join your local association, join a committee and run for office.
  • Someday you’ll attend a national convention.
  • Someday you’ll take a few continuing education courses.
  • Someday you’ll present a CLE course.
  • Someday you’ll write an article for a professional journal.

Someday…someday…someday. Stop! Someday is NOT a day of the week. How about a new way of thinking?  How about having ‘someday’ be today?

Here are some simple suggestions for turning ‘someday thinking’ into ‘today thinking’:

Think, first, about your top 5 short term goals, perhaps what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days. Then examine those goals to determine the steps you’ll take to reach them. Once you’ve done this, schedule the steps so that they get done.

Once you’ve determined your short term goals, use the same process to determine and accomplish your long term goals (say in the next 3 years), and your really long term goals…what do you want to accomplish in your lifetime. As you’re doing this, don’t hesitate to dream and to think big. Do not limit yourself.

For all these goals, make an appointment in your calendar to get each step done and don’t let the ‘someday trap’ stop you.

You can’t do everything at once, of course, so you’ll have to make choices. You’ll have to choose to do the things that are important to you and your goals and let the other things go.

When you change your thinking to ‘today’ instead of ‘someday’ you’re not only going to feel better about yourself, but you’ll move your career in the right direction: forward.

Imagine, seizing opportunities when they come your way.  Imagine your office without clutter and piles. Imagine being able to find documents when you need them. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment as you reach your goals.  When you imagine that it feels wonderful, right?

Actress Camryn Manheim said it best:  

“Waiting, waiting, waiting. All my life, I’ve been waiting for my life to begin, as if somehow my life was ahead of me, and that someday I would arrive at it.”

You can’t wait for your life to begin or for your paralegal career to be what you want it to be. You have to operate on the premise that you can’t wait for someday to make changes. You have to take steps today to make those changes.

What are you waiting for? You have the ability to transform your career and your life beginning today. It’s up to you to make that happen and to stop waiting for someday.

What changes will you make? How will you make those changes? I’d love hear from you. Follow this link to leave a comment at the Paralegal Mentor Blog.

 

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©2011 Vicki Voisin, Inc. Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it:

Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at http://www.paralegalmentor.com.