career balanceWhen you saw the title paranormal work, what were you thinking? Ghosts at work?

Actually, it has nothing to do with ghosts, but rather conquering fear and taking risks in your career. It is amazing that we as humans put ourselves in situations to be scared, such as going to a scary movie. For instance, take Paranormal Activity 4 that came out last year. This movie represents strange occurrences within a home, but is built around filming methods to scare the crap out of you. We pay to get the crap scared out of us. This is personal fear that we subject ourselves to, but what about fear in our professional lives?

Evaluate your current role in your organization. How often do you put yourself in a situation to make a change or implement something that is outside the normal experience? Some people might say every day, but the reality is most people stay within the defined experience or everyday duties. Why? Because ambiguity is scary, change is hard, resistance is a pain, and it is sometimes easier not to make waves. But the real reason is we feel our personal lives can be more controlled than our professional lives, as the risks tend to be less adverse depending on the situation. So, how do we control the fear in our professional lives and push ourselves to take the risks? The risks that we get paid on a daily basis to handle and challenge.

1. Analyze the Situation

Not all situations at work will amplify themselves to push yourself to take a chance, but when situations do arise that would be ample for you to take a chance, TAKE IT! Remember, you cannot complain about it if you never took the opportunity to make it better.

2. Ask Questions

Many people are afraid to ask questions because they do not want to be seen as bucking the system. Keep in mind, no question is a dumb question. On the other hand, you need to ensure questions raised:

  • Create clarity
  • Challenge the general thinking
  • Encourage thinking beyond a simplistic scope
  • Assist with developing a common relationship
  • Do not demean

3. Create the Tone

When creating the tone, there are two things you should keep in mind:

  • Culture
  • Strategy

Work to create a culture that encourages questioning and challenging the norm. I get many organizations operate under the premise that what the boss says, goes. As we all know, operating under this premise can be detrimental. Therefore, before questioning the information brought forth create a strategy to define why you are seeking more information and possibly why you want to steer in another direction. You do not have to immediately question as soon as the situation arises. If needed, give some time to really think about your purpose and direction. Gather facts that will assist in supporting your questions. Be prepared to defend your reasoning, while remaining professional, strategic, calm, open-minded, and focused on the big picture.

4. Create a Plan and Lead

If your questioning leads to a new direction, you may end up taking on the project or being heavily involved. For that reason, create a plan to ensure you are successful. Remember, you questioned the initial information. Someone provided you the opportunity to challenge the norm and you should ensure you are able to live up to this responsibility. Failing to deliver gives people not only the reason to now question you, but also continue promoting a culture that does not allow out of the norm thinking and questioning. If you do not think you can deliver, then do not take on the challenge. Save your energy for when you know you can knock it out of the park.

5. Demonstrate Results

With your plan in hand and strategy being implemented, it is greatly important to be able to demonstrate end results. Of course, we all want positive results and the fear of not achieving positive results is what can keep people from challenging the norm. Then again, ample planning and strategy go a long way to assist in determining positive and negative results prior to implementation. Effort goes a long way. If you dedicate yourself, you can succeed. Although, if you do not think you can deliver, then do not take on the challenge.

With all of this said, I want you to begin raising your voice. Use your creativity, strategic thinking, knowledge, and skills to allow yourself to be a greater risk taker in your professional life. If you cannot take risks in life – whether personal or professional – are you missing out? Missing out on a relationship, promotion, discovering your passion in life, starting a new business, and on and on. Risk taking does not always represent that employee or person you know who is negative and challenges everything. It is all in how you approach the situation.

Therefore, go out and discover paranormal work. Discover opportunities outside the normal experience – make a difference and enjoy life!

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