Had Any Aha Moments Recently?

Using the power of unexpected insights

Aha MomentThe aha moment – have you had any good ones recently?

I hope so!

You might not realise it, but they can be the transformational turning points that change your life.

OK, some aha moments might be a bit more mundane – like when you get the answer to 7 down in the cryptic crossword puzzle you have been mulling over for a while, or when you finally get the joke everyone was laughing at and you couldn’t see the funny side.

But I am thinking more of the moments when people finally get ‘It’.  When they realise they have been tackling not just the crossword, but their whole career, perhaps even their whole life the wrong way. They are ready to face up to the Big Stuff that has been holding them back.

From the client side

I was talking with a client recently who was describing how she had come to the point when she just knew she could not go on doing her job the way she had been doing it.  Sadly for her, the aha moment had come after an extended period of sick leave.  It was only when her body cried out ‘enough is enough!’ that she was able to gain the insight, the aha moment that was the catalyst of a profound review of how all of her life, not just her work, needed to be moving forward.

It’s not just about doing the right thing

Now you may think you had an aha moment that day when you got home and swore blind you were going to change career.  You really meant it that time and you set to and started researching jobs, defining your own skillset, reviewing your resume.  You did like all the career coaches say, you took action!  And that may well have led to a result.  You may have got into a new career…but you may also have run out of steam before it all actually came together.

You see, if you think you know what you want, you may believe that taking action, consistent action over time, is all you need to get the result.

Well, it helps a lot, there’s no doubt about that.

But something needs to shift at a deeper level for things to really begin to happen.

The insight of the aha moment

It is not just a matter of ‘I hate my job’ being enough of a catalyst.  There needs to be a deeper insight into why this is.

  • Perhaps you have been playing a role or pursuing a career that was really chosen for you by your parents and you have finally acknowledged that it is not the right role for you.
  • Perhaps you have been a people pleaser all your life and have never wanted to complain or argue for fear of upsetting someone.  So your own needs have never really been acknowledged or met.
  • Perhaps you are a workaholic and you have at last understood that beneath all that busyness there is an underlying feeling of not being good enough. This is what drives you to always have to do a bit more, as you try to convince yourself that you are OK.
  • Perhaps the illness or death of someone close to you has made you realise how short life is and you don’t want to reach the end with your own long list of ‘if onlys’.

There can be many more powerful catalysts to change and the key difference of this kind of aha moment is that the insight triggers a much more fundamental change.  You don’t just add a few things to your to do list, or even cross a few things off.  You commit to approaching your life in a fundamentally different way.

  • You thank you parents either directly or in your mind for the direction they have given you in the past, but tell them you are going to decide what is right for you from now on.
  • You start exploring and doing what you really enjoy rather than trying to do what others tell you that you should be doing.
  • You ask who you are not good enough for, who are you trying to prove yourself to?  Actually you are the only one you are accountable to so you begin to acknowledge all the things you really are good at.  And you also learn to understand there are many times when good enough is good enough – so you file the report, switch off the computer and go home to your kids.
  • You make a list of all the things that you know you would regret if you hadn’t done them and you start doing them.

And the client I mentioned earlier? Instead of slipping back into the old job and the old ways as many of her friends and family were encouraging her to do, she has taken a month off to go travelling.  It’s something she has always wanted to do and something that now will definitely not feature on her ‘If only…’ list.

What do you think?

  • Is it time you had a Big Aha Moment in your work and life?
  • Are you going to wait till your body cries ‘enough is enough’?
  • What fundamental change could you make that would have a transformative effect on your life and your work?
  • What will you do to make sure it does not appear on your own ‘if only…’ list?

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