How to make life bearable at work – plan your escape!

Imagine you’ve been sent to prison for life: there’s no prospect of early release or time off for good behaviour.

You can sit down under it and try to make your cell a bit more homely, befriend other prisoners and maybe some guards, wait for visits from people on the outside. You can shrink your world down until what little you have fills it up.

And then, perhaps, news comes that they’ll be letting you out.

Suddenly, you have something to work towards, something to look forward to. You can review your options, make plans and visualise a better time ahead.

I expect you see where I’m going with this!

If you believe that you’re stuck in a dull, dead-end job until they pension you off (probably stingily!) or you keel over, you can try to make the situation as bearable as possible but, slowly and steadily, your world will shrink. Your confidence and self-esteem and, quite possibly, your health will suffer.

You need a vision of what’s beyond your cell walls; you need a sense of what’s possible beyond the confines of your existing world to give you a goal to work towards. Having an escape plan can be enormously motivating and the knowledge that you only have to tolerate what you don’t like for a measurable amount of time longer can make it all much more bearable.

It needs to be a good escape plan, though! You need to put a lot of thought into it and ask yourself some questions that will help you to set clear targets. Here are some to start you off:

Where do you want to be in 6 months’ time? No pussyfooting here, no setting up barriers! Imagine everything is perfect: where are you? Who (if anyone) is with you? Exactly what are you doing? How have you financed yourself?

What do you know/need to learn to get you to where you want to be?

Who do you know/need to get to know?

What have you got (in terms of finance/equipment/skills) and what do you need to acquire?

Do you need to consider doing something different as a temporary measure to fund your project?

I’d use Mind Maps to help me think all this out – maybe you have another preferred method. Whichever you choose, set aside a few hours (not necessarily all at once), let all your creativity loose and get all your ideas down on paper. Then you can pick the best and make a start!

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