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As the old saying goes, the only constant in life, is change. It’s a fact that most accept. But it would have been difficult for anyone to imagine the rapid changes we’d experience in 2020. Few have been spared from the wide-reaching effects of the global pandemic. From job loss to health challenges and more, it’s been a time of great uncertainty for many. Solution-oriented thinking can help bring a sense of calm and restore hope that there is a way out of the challenges we face.
What is solution-oriented thinking?
Solution-oriented thinking is a way of approaching challenges by putting focus on solutions, rather than problems. It’s related to positive thinking, but is a bit more practical. Instead of warm fuzzies, you come out of solution-oriented thinking with actionable items and a changed mindset.
Here are some solution-oriented thought starters for you to end the year with. Get a pen and a notebook or open up your favorite text editor to write your responses down as a reflective exercise. You can even decide to answer in a visual style with a brainstorm bubble or other type of chart.
Where was I five years ago, and where am I today?
There’s a good chance you’ve made progress when you look back five years over your career. By looking back, you’ll see how you made it through different situations to arrive at where you are now. Take time to note different milestones and what you did to reach them. You’re sure to have some things worth smiling about, and others that will leave you with a sense of relief. When you look back five years from now, you’ll likely have the same experience.
Who is my career support system?
Just like we need a personal support system, a career support system can be really helpful. These are people that advise you, look out for you, and provide support and vice versa in relation to your career. Do you have a good career support system, or do you need to strengthen it? If you fall in the latter category, you can strengthen your system by building connections with current and past coworkers, managers, and mentors. Check in with them, catch up, and see how you can support each other.
What is my long-term career goal?
It might be hard to look off into the future right now, but asking yourself this question can help you think of the big picture. Do you have a specific job that you’ve always dreamed of doing, or are you looking for a certain lifestyle and are open to the path you take to get there? Are there certain steps you need to take to get there, and if so, what is your strategy? Maybe you’re not sure about your long-term career goal yet, and that’s fine too. Some things are figured out along the journey.
What have I learned this year?
You’ll probably have a lot to write here. If nothing else, 2020 has been full of lessons we’ll carry with us into 2021 and beyond.
What good things happened this year?
End by thinking of the good things that happened this year. If you’re reading this, you can count the fact that you’re alive as one. It might seem cliché, but in a year when a pandemic cut millions of lives short, life seems a bit more precious. What positive things happened career wise? If you can’t think of anything for this category, fall back to the earlier reflection on your career progress over the last five years.
The wrap up
Hopefully by the end of these thought starters you’ve gotten some good practice with solution oriented-thinking. Whenever you are in a tough situation, try to step back and take this approach to thinking. You may need some time to just process things and accept reality before getting to solution brainstorming point. Sometimes solutions are complicated and difficult to see. Sometimes the solution is something beyond your control; in that case, solution-oriented thinking will help by looking at things from a new angle.
December 29, 2020