4 More Questions To Overcome Blocks to Action

February 10, 2016

Image of a stick figure laying on a red question markIn an earlier blog post, we discussed John Krumboltz’s Happenstance Learning Theory and we offered four powerful questions for you to ponder. Questions aimed at individuals who feel stuck and need some help moving forward with their career goals.  If you haven’t read that post yet, then take a look here.

Krumboltz recognized that career paths are often formulated through a mix of small decisions, big decisions, and happenstance or luck. He didn’t believe that people should make one plan and stick to it. Especially, if that meant staying in an unsatisfactory occupation just because it was declared to be your goal at one point in time.

According to Krumboltz in the Journal of Career Assessment:
“In a nutshell, the HLT posits that human behavior is the product of countless numbers of learning experiences made available by both planned and unplanned situations in which individuals find themselves. The learning outcomes include skills, interests, knowledge, beliefs, preferences, sensitivities, emotions, and future actions.

The situations in which individuals find themselves are partly a function of factors over which they have no control and partly a function of actions that the individuals have initiated themselves.”

He encouraged individuals to initiate and engage in exploratory actions as a way of creating happenstance – these unplanned yet often beneficial events which can dictate our lives.  People often get stuck in doing this, so he created questions aimed at overcoming blocks to action.

Here are four more powerful questions for you to consider:

  • What do you believe is stopping you from doing what you really want to do?
  • What do you believe is a first step you could take now to move closer to what you want?
  • What do you believe is stopping you from taking that first step?
  • How would your life become more satisfying if you were to take appropriate action?

 

If you are a fellow in training at the NIH and would like to have more help to support your progress, we invite you to make an appointment  with an OITE career counselor.

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4 Powerful Questions

April 8, 2015

Are you feeling stuck? Are you looking to recharge some aspect of your career and/or life?

Here are four powerful questions to ask yourself:

1.  What is a chance event that you wish would happen to you?
2.  What can you do now to increase the likelihood of that desirable event?
3.  How would your life change if you acted?
4.  How would your life change if you did nothing?

To learn more about these questions, continue reading a post from the OITE Career Blog originally published in May 2010.

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A desert background with questions marks scattered around.

Post written by: Anne Kirchgessner, LCPC, NCC, Career Counselor

Feeling stuck in your current job? Not sure what your next career step is? Here are some tips to help you make your own good luck and take advantage of both planned and unplanned career opportunities.

John Krumboltz, a noted career development theorist, considers ways to take advantage of both chance and planned events. He calls this concept Happenstance Learning Theory. His work takes into account that the careers of most people have been impacted by chance happenings as well as planned events.

In a recent article in the Journal of Career Assessment (Vol. 17, No. 2, May 2009), Krumboltz writes:

“No one can predict the future – everyone’s career is influenced by many unplanned events.”

He encourages people to remain open to exploring opportunities in order to move ahead in a positive way toward their goals.

The three steps Krumboltz suggests in controlling unplanned events are:

1. Before the unplanned event, take actions that position you to experience it.

Application: Be active in many ways. Join walking groups, attend professional meetings, start a book club, etc.

2. During the event, remain alert and sensitive to recognize potential opportunities.

Application: Keep your mind open to meeting people and finding new opportunities ALL the time, not just at career-related events.

3. After the event, initiate actions that enable you to benefit from it.

Application: Follow up, keep in touch, explore related opportunities.

Rather than say something like “I can’t do this because…” he suggests asking: “How can I act now to increase the chance of a desirable future event?”

Following are four questions that Krumboltz poses that may help you to look ahead in a more positive way to explore a new or future direction:

1. What is a chance event that you wish would happen to you?

e.g. someone might say “I want to meet someone involved in public policy.”

2. How can you act now to increase the chance of a desirable future event?

e.g. “I could join a group affiliated with this field, and/or search on LinkedIn for people currently working in public policy.”

3. How would your life change if you acted?

e.g.  “I would learn more about public policy and probably make some good contacts in the field.”

4. How would your life change if you did nothing?

e.g. “Hard to say for sure…” (But it’s likely that you could miss some opportunities to explore and move ahead toward your goals)

Answering these questions might give you more knowledge and the flexibility to take advantage of chance opportunities.

Krumboltz also believes that the goal of career counseling is to help people “learn to take actions to achieve more satisfying career and personal lives – not just make a single career decision.”