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Several executives I coach are considering proactive professional moves 12-18 months from now. Deciding whether to stay or leave your job can be challenging in the best of times. With all of the uncertainty now, you may fear you need to just grin and bear it where you are; however, that approach doesn’t take away the longing for something different.

If you have been grappling with the decision to stay or leave your current role in favor of a new, more impactful and fulfilling opportunity, here are some things to consider. Rather than wait until you hit your breaking point, you can be strategic about how you spend your time now to lay the foundation for what’s next. This strategy provides the motivation to keep leaning in at the current job while also taking concrete steps toward your next chapter, making your career more satisfying and impactful – even short term – while not burning the ship.

Sound intriguing? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Carve out regular time in your workday schedule to “stare out the window.” Start with one (1) two-hour chunk per week. Protect this time in your calendar as sacred and focus on the following activities.
  2. Prioritize your non-negotiables for your next career move and write them down. Think about what a new role must include for you to recognize you’ve found the right fit. 
  3. Evaluate how well your current role meets your list of non-negotiables. Identify where it meets them and where there are gaps. 
  4. Keeping an open mind, consider which of the gaps in your current role can be closed or minimized to better meet your non-negotiable requirements. When you really look at it, you may be surprised to learn that areas you felt were completely beyond repair can still be improved. Prioritize the gaps and enlist your leadership and teams to help you make those changes. Find ways for it to be good for the organization to support these changes, and track your progress. 
  5. Find or create your ideal job description, or simply draft a list of what the role would encompass. Make it your ideal role, designing it for what energizes you.
  6. Review which elements of this ideal job require you to uplevel your skills to be able to thrive.
  7. For the areas requiring development, identify activities you can focus on in your current position to upgrade your skills. 
  8. Negotiate your time, effort, and scope to include those focus areas as part of your everyday duties. Monitor your progress over time.

Using this process, you may find that you fall back in love with your current role and organization, and/or leverage your talents into a new role in the company. Alternatively, you will set up the ability to walk into a new opportunity when you are ready. Most importantly, you will feel an immediate sense of professional agency and purpose.

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