Have you ever been speeding along the highway and then suddenly hit a bad patch of traffic, where everything slows to a crawl – at best?
Just maybe, right?
After many long minutes you finally creep past the blockage, and it’s—what? A car pulled over to the side of the road – that hardly seems to justify the delay.
Other times when traffic seems to be moving through paste you can understand the cause. Perhaps three lanes have to merge into one, or there’s a toll ahead, or a fire-breathing dragon or…
At times like these, a GPS device or radio station with traffic reports can seem like a gift from a fairy godmother.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have something similar for your professional impasses?
I’ve been working on it. But in the meanwhile, I’ve listed three traffic avoidance techniques you can adapt to avoid all kinds of obstruction. Not only are they based on what one could call street sense, they build on each other, with increasing impact.
Know where your blockages are. This means knowing yourself and your work environment. Name and claim some of the things you do to hold yourself back, like over-commit, refuse to network and more. Identify the bottlenecks at work, too. Do you have a colleague who turns every deadline into a cliffhanger? A supervisor who can stall a project more effectively than an over-heated radiator?
Why it helps – If you know where you get stuck, you can avoid it. This might sound like a no-brainer, but how many times have you blundered into the same traffic snarl, or lived up to your own low expectations of yourself? Try doing something different.
Know where you’re going. This applies to your personal career path and your more short-term goals at work. Even if you haven’t exactly triptyched all the stops along the way, it’s important to have a clear destination.
Why it helps – Having a clear target in mind helps you figure out the best way to get there, trouble spots, traffic stops and all.
Make alternative plans. Another no brainer, right? So why don’t more of us do it? We get so fixated on one job that we’ll push relentlessly against its closed door, kind of like a demented toy robot.
Why it helps – Fate is quite a trickster, as we know, and particularly adept at throwing monkey wrenches into the works of our lives and careers. Since we know there’s no such thing as a fool-proof plan, it’s only reasonable to come up with several scenarios we fools can attempt to follow. And, when you know where you’re going and where the blockages are, it’s that much easier to come up with an alternative route.
Maybe something a little more scenic…
by Danielle Dresden