Your 'To Don't' List

Much more inspiring
than a 'To Do' list!

I am sure you are familiar with the ‘To Do’ list, the one that often rules our lives and measures our progress - or lack of it - with check marks or strokes of the pen.

It can be a useful tool to help you see how you are moving forward, giving you a bit of positive feedback.  But the trouble is that To Do lists have a tendency to be never ending - as you cross one thing off you add another three and so leave you feeling that you are forever running to catch up.

Does that sound familiar?

OK, so rather than get stuck into the pros and cons of To Do lists, why not turn the idea on its head and explore how you could use a 'To Don't' list instead?

So what would that look like?

I am sure you can come up with many ideas of your own, but let me get you started with a few suggestions of my own.


Don't procrastinate waiting for everything to be just right

Perfectionism is the killer of many career change plans. You will never have the perfect solution.

Whatever job you switch to there will be some good and bad aspects, so stop waiting for the perfect answer to fall into your lap. 

I know they say if you don't know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else, but you are more likely to start gathering some good ideas if you start moving and exploring on any direction.  Don't wait!


Don't forget to think laterally

It is so easy to cling to what you know - that is where you feel safe. But by sticking with the familiar you are missing a world of possibilities. Try some lateral thinking games eg how many different career ideas can you come up with, what are the most unlikely ideas you can come up with, what jobs are 1 step away from yours, then 2 then 3... See how far that takes you imagination. Don't take your career so seriously. Be playful!


Don't rely on the opinion or approval of others

Whose career is it anyway?

If you are embarking on a bold move it is natural to want to check it out with others and get feedback from them, but don't get too hung up on their opinions.

In fact choose very carefully who you ask for feedback from. And once you have heard what they have to say, remind yourself that they are staying safe while you are the one being courageous. 

Use that as a filter before you let their caution sway you too much.


Don't fear failure

Too often you may find yourself being overwhelmed by the possibilities of what might happen if it all goes wrong.  You envisage yourself living on the street having lost your home and family. OK, let’s get real here, that is extremely unlikely to happen. Take a look back over things that have gone wrong for you in the past.  You are still here, you have survived, you are probably wiser as a result.  So start looking at failure as an opportunity to grow and embrace it as something positive rather than something to be avoided at all costs. The most succesful people have the most failures.


Don't set yourself up for ‘if only’s

Are you making the difference you want in the world?

Is your current career allowing you to really give of your best and to learn and grow and you do so? If not, then you must do something about it. 

Do you really want to be one of those people who in their later years only looks back with regrets? 

The only person who can make sure that doesn’t happen is you, so get moving!



I am sure you can add more to this list!

So rather than get hung up with the tyranny of the ‘To Do’ list, try creating an inspirational ‘To Don't’ list instead.


What do you think?

  • What will you have on your ‘To Don't’ list?
  • What will you do to ensure that you avoid these traps?
  • When will you get started?


Over to you

I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you just read! Do share in the comment box below.

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From The 5 Minute Career Coach August 2014




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