Have you ever been encouraged to change jobs just….because?
Let’s get this out of the way. Changing for its own sake isn’t always the best idea.
It’s ok to like the work you do. In fact, you may even be in a place where you’re not only doing a good job, but other people love what you’re doing and how you do it.
Take a minute to visualize that. The time when you lean back, put your feet up, look around and say with certainty, “I dig this.”
Being happy with your work creates an interesting challenge. That’s because big change is exciting. Where will you live? Who are you going to meet? Where will this job take you?
Yet sometimes the big leap can be a swan dive into an empty concrete pool. In no time, the new job, the new neighbor or new lover can be just like the old one. That’s when most people start the chase all over again, losing the chance for self-reflection.
Working with what you’ve got could be the surprising solution.
Google tried to solve this problem in 2013. They created Project Aristotle which had a single, elite purpose: build the perfect team.
Your first thought might be, “Well, that’s easy – just hire the smartest people.”
Good answer. Except Google had already hired some of the best minds around.
Next you might say, “Just put them on the same team.”
Another good comeback, but it wasn’t that simple. It turned out that people who were used to being the smartest guy in the room didn’t always play well with others. Co-workers complained that their responses ranged from condescending to outright hostile.
The key was to help high performers marshal their talents in a positive way. To take employees who relied heavily on math, science and data and show them that building successful products required more than finding a quick, binary “right” or “wrong” answer.
It was ultimately nicknamed the “psychology of safety.” What does that mean in practice? “Yes” to experimentation and failing fast. “No” to shutting your teammates down. People flourished only if they could make mistakes without being shamed or judged.
The psychology of safety isn’t about playing it safe. It’s actually the opposite, and that’s why it’s a good topic for the June series about your professional journey, Bless Your Path. The perfect time to challenge yourself is when you feel great about where you are. When you’re confident, the stakes are low. You can take a bad outcome here or there without it derailing your career.
This week, apply the psychology of safety and go from “I dig this” to “I’m digging in!” Can you use your mindfulness skills to hack a process and make your day more efficient? Will you switch up your schedule so self-care moves from the “nice to have” column to “essential”? Do you hate hard conversations? It’s time to learn how to manage them.
This moment, the one you love? It’s your biggest opportunity.