I was chatting with a friend a few weeks back. We started talking about how to handle conflicting major goals.
As I reflected on the conversation, I realized that in my life, I’ve handled major (somewhat planned) change using these three approaches:
- Combination. Can I combine goals or activities?
- Example: If one goal is “Live in New Zealand for a few years” and another goal is “Become an herbalist” – maybe I can combine the goals “Study Maori traditional medicine in New Zealand.”
- Periodization. This is the approach cited by those (like myself) who are big fans of focus and prioritization. I find it works best for goals I can chunk into small steps and can tackle separately.
- Example: If a goal is to change careers to be able to spend more time with family: I can focus one period on getting clear on the transition, the next period on any necessary schooling (maybe further breaking that process down into the various skills required), the next period on working with a mentor to practice these new skills, the period after that practicing something specific, etc.
- Evolution. This is the process of combining old and new and is often done accidentally.
- Example: When I transitioned from History to IT, this was done via evolution (albeit not very planned). I had teaching skills I picked up when I served as a History Graduate Assistant and moved those to a new context (IT and corporate work). I let go of the old History context. As my career evolved and opportunities arose, I would pick things up (e.g. project management) and let things go (e.g. eLearning development).
I’m going to talk about each of these approaches and how they might combine over the next few posts.