PEP Buoys

Successful and satisfied people have one thing in common: PEP, as in personal, energy and professional vision — a clear sense of what one wants to accomplish in life and work. It is essential that we integrate professional and life goals. As a backdrop to goal-setting, it’s important to focus on the balance between work and life. A life and a career are about making plans to build a future. It’s about having clear goals, vision and a sense of direction that will help people navigate the changing realities of work and life. Imagine your life three to five years from now; you can get a clearer picture using PEP.32

Begin to craft a personal vision using these questions:

  • What family ties are most important to you?
  • What longtime friendships still fill your life?
  • What community connections do you find most fulfilling?

Now, translate these answers into personal goals. Get focused. At work, you are thinking about family; at home, you are thinking about work. Think of all the wasted, guilt-ridden hours spent in both situations. Identify personal goals that allow you to find focus at home and at work.

  •  I’ve unleashed myself on the weekend — no cellphone or email. I explained to my boss that I need to unplug now and then. He seemed to understand, and, in fact, is trying to do the same.
  •  My office is at home. The good news is I can sneak into my office and do some work. The bad news is that it’s right there and hard to ignore. I established official office hours. I now turn the ringer off and close the door at 5:30 p.m.
  • When I’m with my family and my mind starts to wander toward work, I force myself to picture a red stop sign. Then I bring myself back to the present and to them.

Achieving any personal or professional goals will require energy. Having an energy vision gives you the power to pursue your goals.
Get energized by defining goals to stimulate your mind, body and spirit. Identify and pursue goals related to health and fitness, intellectual and vocational growth or a relationship with a higher power. Consider these questions:

  • What keeps you physically in good shape?
  • What activities, events and sports are fun for you?
  • What spiritual pursuits give meaning to your life?
  • What creative or intellectual challenges stimulate your mind?

Practice wellness, stay healthy and feed your soul. “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness,” said early 20th century advertising and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker.

  • Stay out of the office for the entire weekend.
  • Take work home only twice, not five times, this week.
  • Leave exactly on time at least once this week.
  • Take a vacation and leave the technology at home.
  • Schedule a checkup.

Look at creating goals that help you better manage your time and use that time to exercise, sleep, eat well, relax, unleash and unplug.
Your career is your professional creation. When was the last time you really gave thought and time to planning it? Ultimately, you own your career and you own the vision for what you want it to be.
Look at yourself: To create a meaningful career, you need to be clear about your interests and your values. What are your key skills?
Look around: Given your interests, what do you want to learn? Seek out your critics and listen to them. Pay attention to what’s happening in your organization and your industry to help identify your career options.
Look ahead: Realize that not every step has to be a step up. Consider a lateral move to expand your experience and exposure to the rest of the organization. Find ways to enrich and grow in your current job. Explore opportunities in others parts of your organization as part of shortterm assignments.

Put It All Together; use the information about you, your company and the multiple options to help develop goals. Those goals will become
the cornerstone of an action plan — a plan to help get PEP in work and life. Give yourself exact steps and deadlines. Revise along the way. Forge alliances with people who can help you reach your goals: managers, mentors, family, friends, peers and supporters. Don’t be afraid to give your PEP plan a reality check. Consider some key questions:

  • How will my PEP goals get me closer to my personal, energy or professional vision?
  • Am I excited about moving forward?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Do I have the support needed to make it happen?
  • What’s in it for me, my friends/family and my organization if I achieve my goals.

If you are an employee, aim for PEP. If you are a manager, realize that employees are watching how you balance work and personal time. They observe how managers deal with stress, and they can detect when a manager is ignoring one or more of these three important goal areas. These observations can lead to conclusions about what the organization expects. Just as important, however, is the fact that managers are people, too.
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