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Finding the "Aha Moment" in your Career


06 February 2014

Back in 1939 someone had an insight and declared it to be an“aha moment” putting this popular phrase on the map. The term is defined as “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension.” Oprah uses it religiously and she believes it is a defining moment where you gain real wisdom; wisdom you can use to change your life.

Well it got me thinking, had any 'aha moments' lately? The kind that would open your eyes to:

How you’re doing in your career?

What’s on the horizon?

What do the next steps look like?

Who is supporting you?

Don’t freak out if you read this and discover OMG! you don’t know the answers. Guess what? Most of us don’t but the good news is, eventually we all do.

When you’re in the development stage of your career so much is unknown but with each 'aha moment' you learn things about yourself, and with these insights you can seriously move up the ranks. If you want to get started in finding your 'aha moment', start by being curious….

Career 'aha moments' can be mysterious, easily missed or rejected, until we pause and reflect. At least this is how it was for me.

The way I was raised, you put your heart and soul into your work and you will be rewarded. Slack off and you won’t get far in life. I respect people who share this work ethic and can juggle well. But at some point you have to admit to yourself that six balls in the air might be too much. So, downsize a little.

For me, this lesson came to life earlier this year. I was balancing a full time job that was demanding on time and tight deadlines, and dealing with situations where the expectations placed on me were unrealistic. Simultaneously I was in the start-up phase of my business, and also training for a marathon.

One morning during the midst of this crazy period I got up and ran 13 miles at 5am before arriving to work at 8am. It didn’t hit me until lunchtime when I had spent the morning, draining back coffees, hunched over my desk with new tasks piling up, that something had to give. When I rang my Mum complaining she reminded me that “this is your job and you just have to get on with it.”

However, when a meeting invitation hit my inbox requesting another hour of time, it dawned on me, what would happen if I declined? Nothing. Somehow in the whirlwind that had been my life for so long, my reality check had gone missing.

My 'aha moment' had arrived. It’s lesson was pretty simple. Learn to say no.

So I just stopped. I realized the value of the word 'no' and ceased associating it with failure. Sometimes, no is permanent but in most cases it’s a no for now.

Now, I know one sudden realization doesn’t make everything perfect. As with any lesson, you only learn if you move forward and do things differently. Since the light bulb went off I decided to put to practice the art of delegation. As it turns out, I have become very good at it and this means jobs are getting done faster which is not going unnoticed.

Tell us what was the 'aha moment' in your career?