It’s easy to dismiss what we get paid to do as “just a job,” but as Michelle Brod, who lives in Hanover Park, has learned, what you do—even part-time—influences how you feel in so many other areas.
“I’m exhausted and I’m not using my potential,” she said at the beginning of a session with Dana Frost, who is a master life coach and aromatherapy alchemist in Wilmette.
Brod’s sister recommended her for a career makeover, but before she thought about resumes or interview techniques, she needed to discover why she was stuck in her current position, and what sort of job would make her happy.
Frost started with three exercises that sound unrelated to a job search, but turned out to be very helpful.
Frost had Brod name how her body currently felt. She called it “The Crushing,” and described tightness and tension in her neck, a heavy pressure on her chest and pulling in her back. Then Frost had Brod think about a time when she was happy and her body felt strong and loose. Brod talked about how she felt after her son was born, and called that feeling “Confidence.”
With the two defined, Frost helped Brod look at different scenarios and imagine how her body would feel.
“We’re wise adults and we can’t instantly eliminate every situation that makes us feel bad,” says Frost. But she noted that we can make a conscious decision to move toward situations that our body affirms are the correct ones.
Next, Frost had Brod think about a time when she was happy and totally absorbed in a task. Brod described building forts in the forest preserve near her home with siblings and neighbors. She called it the best time in her life.
The attributes that Brod loved were stunningly missing from her current job: nature, teamwork, building something tangible.
“Deep down, I love being outside and being around people,” she said. Frost encouraged Brod to dream and brainstorm about jobs that combined the things she loved from childhood summers.
Learning how to breathe correctly and deeply, is essential says Frost.
“Breathing takes you out of fight or flight,” she says. “A fast breath is an anxious breath.”
They also talked about using breath while Brod was still in her current job as a coping and calming technique, so she doesn’t come home to her husband and son emotionally spent.
The best part of the session was seeing Brod stand a little taller as she described the qualities that make her a strong team player: “I’m a quick learner, dedicated and easy to get along with,” she said.
Now that Frost has helped Brod start the process of dreaming, Make It Better is going to sponsor her attendance at Re:Work III, October 8 at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s a day dedicated to the practical requirements of a job search—and a great next step for Brod. For more information click here.
5 Tips to Get Unstuck in Your Career
1. Use Your Body Compass
“Your body doesn’t lie,” says Frost. So when you’re considering a new situation, listen to how your body responds. For Brod, The Crushing is a red flag.
2. Look to Your Childhood
What you loved to do as a child is a clue to what will make you happy as an adult. Brod discovered nature and working as a team from her childhood memories.
3. Tell Yourself a New Story
“We live the stories we tell ourselves,” says Frost. She had Brod remember times when she felt confident and alive, and had her practice telling herself that story.
4. Create a Dream
Frost gave Brod a cork board, and asked her to start filling it with images of things she likes and ideas for jobs in nature or showing people working as a team.
5. Small Movements Count
When the process seems daunting, Frost recommends taking a small step, even as small as drinking a glass of water to rehydrate yourself and give yourself energy to take the next small step.