PROPEL your career
What will happen if I’m late… or don’t get it done at all?
What if you didn’t try to escape from the anxiety? Since your mind is dwelling on the problem anyhow, what if you consciously controlled the way in which you were thinking about the stressful situation? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to manage your mind so that you had the power to think about problems more productively?
Rather than envisioning the worst that could happen, what if you imagined the best possible outcome? Rather than fueling your anxiety, you’d calm yourself. And when your mind is calmer, it’s much better at creating solutions and finding people who could support you in working toward them.
The PROPEL Principles have been crafted to rejuvenate your outlook and understanding of what you want in a successful and positive career. Using the 6 principles of Passion, Relationships, Optimism, Proactivity, Energy, and Legacy, you can get started on a positive and fulfilled life in the career you are passionate about.
PROPEL Career Assessment
Curious about your own satisfaction in the workplace? Take the PROPEL Career Assessment and see how you score.
How to Attain Work-Life Balance in Nursing by Practicing Values
Karen is a rising star who just got promoted into an Assistant Director of Nursing position. She’s also a mom with two children at home. It seems like every week she feels intense guilt about some missed opportunity.
At the hospital, some of her peers work 70 hours a week while she works 50. Leaving early causes her to miss some late day meetings. When she does get home, she’s often too tired or distracted to really enjoy time with her husband and children.
The inner critic in Karen’s head faults her no matter what she does. Sometimes, the nagging voice in her head is telling her she needs to be a better employee or she’ll be fired. Other times, it’s saying she should be a better mother before she ruins relationships with her husband and children. Karen wants at least one of the voices to shut up. But neither will.
It’s impossible for Karen to attain a satisfactory work-life balance without a conscious awareness of the values that guide her decisions. Once she’s able to state her values, she’ll have the clarity she needs to say X and Y are both important, but X holds more value right now than Y.
In one of our first coaching sessions, I asked Karen to identify a time she felt she was at her best at managing both her work and family obligations. Then I asked her to look through a list of values and choose 5 that had provided the foundation for her ability to achieve a successful outcome.
What are your values?
This list is based on the Personal Values Card Sort, developed by W.R. Miller, J. C’de Baca, D.B. Matthews, and P.L. Wilbourne, of the University of New Mexico. Use it to identify the 5 values that are most important to you. The next time you make a decision, ask yourself whether it is consistent with your top values.
Karen selected Achievement, Commitment, Family, Love, and Perseverance as her top values. The next occasion when her boss called for a meeting at 5:30, but her son was playing in a soccer tournament at the same time – she took 10 slow, deep breaths and centered herself. When her mind stopped racing, she asked herself, “What would it look like if I achieved a positive outcome while honoring all of my commitments?”
It came to her that she had a young person on her staff who preferred to come in late and work into the evening. She asked her to attend the meeting and send her an email informing her about the agenda that had been addressed. Karen was able to read and respond to the issues that were raised once her kids had gone to bed.
When Karen considered her values, she realized how deeply committed she was to both her family and her work. She loved being with her children, but she also cared passionately about achieving positive outcomes at work. Unhooked from her distracting and discouraging feelings of guilt, she resolved to be guided by her values.
She recognized how important it was to get home for time with her family every evening and to resist work interruptions during personal time. But to achieve a good balance, she also committed to make a number of important trips to attend conferences with her staff, some of which conflicted with school events that she wanted to attend.
She came to realize that she couldn’t do it all and had to make tough choices to honor all of her commitments. Confident that her values, not solely her emotions, were guiding her, Karen finally found considerably more peace and fulfillment.
It’s impossible to block out difficult thoughts and emotions. People who are most effective in managing their lives are mindful of their inner experiences but not caught in them. They know how to calm themselves in order to free up their internal resources and commit to actions that align with their values. Then they can rest assured that they’re doing the best they can to apportion their time and energy appropriately in order to deal with competing demands.
Developing clear values is no quick fix—even those who regularly practice the steps outlined here will often find themselves conflicted at times. But with practice, people can become increasingly adept at consciously conjuring up their values in order to make choices that enable them to thrive.