Becoming Unstuck

Asperger’s & NLD Career Letter, April, 2017

In my coaching practice, I work with a lot of clients who are stuck. Stuck in the wrong job or career … stuck when it comes to getting hired … stuck in poor communication with supervisors or co-workers. Kyle, for example, feels stuck in a retail position when he wants to be a broadcaster. Amy believes that she will “never” find a job because she doesn’t feel comfortable interviewing.

Both Kyle and Amy become quickly frustrated when trying to reach their goals. They are caught in the trap of taking one giant leap to change. They envision themselves going from the current situation to a new one, all at once. Immediately, they think about all the different things they need to do, some of which they have no idea how to accomplish. Soon they are overwhelmed, and do nothing.

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, the key to achieving big goals is to take small steps. Instead of deciding to become an expert at interviewing, I encouraged Amy to begin with a more manageable goal. First, she focused on understand the interview process, and the meaning of various questions. Then we created a list of questions an interviewer would ask.

Initially, Amy was agitated. “There are 14 questions!”

“Yes, but we are not going to address them all at once,” I said. “Let’s pick three to start.”

Every week, Amy added three new questions to practice answering. She became more confident in her ability to communicate skills to an employer.

Kyle dreamed of being a broadcaster, but had no idea of how to enter the field. “I don’t know how to do it!” he shouted.

I explained to Kyle that he needed to fill an information gap. During a coaching session, I showed him how to use the Occupational Outlook Handbook to research various jobs and careers. He learned basic information about what broadcasters do, educational requirements, median pay and more. Next he researched more in-depth information by visiting professional association Web sites and reading articles written by broadcasters. Now he is learning about informational interviewing.

When you are pursuing a long-term goal it is helpful to set interim goals for yourself. This way, you build on the sense of accomplishment to sustain your motivation. This approach will also increase your confidence. Create three categories of goals: immediate (within the next two weeks), mid-term (within the next two to three months), and long-term (six months or more).

Monitor your progress and adjust your plan if necessary. If one strategy isn’t working, do not continue it. Try something different instead. I have had clients who send hundreds of resumes with no results. Yet they do not consider whether they are applying to the right positions or need to make changes to their resumes.

Copyright 2017, Barbara Bissonnette, Forward Motion Coaching