9 MUSTs After Your 9th Year of Work
Everything in your life is governed by cycles. Some, like seasons and years, are long. Others are much shorter, like sunrise/set or the breath you just took. According to nature, there’s even a cycle for "completion" and it tends to revolve around the number 9. For instance, you have 9 months of pregnancy before term is complete. Each season starts and finishes in about 90 days. Even in math: 9 + any number always gives you that same number; 9 x any number always gives you 9.
If cycles of 9 represent wholeness or completion, what about in your career? Why do people say the first 90 days are so important? Does anything happen after 9 years? I say it must. Perhaps the 9-year mark means it’s time to change roles or industries. Maybe it’s the end of a particular approach to your career… a shift in priorities. It could even be the beginning of you moving toward a new goal or target. (Realizing this as I write, I actually left my job just shy of 9 years… interesting.) If nature knows anything, 9 years of work represents completion for you on some level, and here are 9 things you must do to figure out whats coming to an end, and, naturally, what’s beginning anew.
I mean really celebrate. Throw a real party, invite a few friends, and give thanks to yourself for an hour or two. Acknowledge all that you've done… big and small.
#2 Go on an interview.
Pick your head up from the grind. Look around you. See what’s out there. No pressure at all to actually change jobs/careers/etc… just go through the motions. This was presumably what started the first 9 years for you, so it makes sense that this could serve as a spark for the next 9.
#3 Call in sick.
Choose a random day during the week, preferably Miércoles, to stay home and just talk to yourself. Just create space to be with your thoughts for a few hours. Leave your cell phone home along with any other weapons of mass distraction. Don’t force the thinking. Don’t try really hard to concentrate on any one thing. In fact, step outside yourself and just observe your thoughts, but do it during a day when you'd normally be at work.
#4 Set a really big unrealistic life goal.
Adults generally suck at dreaming big. And after 9 years of work, you may not have flexed your “impractical muscles” in a looong time. Tap into your 5 year old self and think of something absolutely crazy. Don’t worry about how or when… that’s what adults do. Just be the kid and set the goal.
#5 Start a new relationship.
Think of someone you admire, someone you have a good feeling about, and setup time to connect. Build on work, build on life, build on whatever. Just reach out and connect.
#6 Tell someone about your aspirations.
Stop suffocating your voice. Stop operating from fear and keeping quiet on the most obvious thing: no one expects you to want to stay in the same role forever! Breathe a little and allow yourself to open up. “Put it out there” as they say and let the world do the rest.
#7 Reread all the feedback you've ever received.
This could be scary, but I think you can handle it. Take those yearly reviews/reports, grab a highlighter, and go through them again. See how much you have (or haven’t) grown. Pay close attention to the themes year over year. If there are patterns you wish to change or maintain, now is the perfect time to recommit and make it happen.
#8 Rekindle an old hobby.
This is about reconnecting with the rest of you. Over time it’s easy for your identity to get wrapped up in the work you do. You need to be very deliberate in your focus to continue growing in other areas of your life. Start by rekindling a hobby or starting a new one.
#9 Make a big bold claim for the next 9.
If things were to go really really really well, what would play out in your career over the next 9 years? What would these things or events ultimately lead up to in that 9th year? Again, don't get stuck on how... at least not yet. When brainstorming or dreaming, if you find yourself continuously asking how how how then perhaps ye knoweth not the power of intention. For now, just be bold and predict what 9 years of professional happiness would look like.
Have you noticed a theme?
Not one of these "musts" will directly tell you what has, is, or will happen around this first 9-year mark. These actions are simply meant to put you in states of feeling that will allow you to access those answers for yourself. Think of it as acting on faith, with the emphasis on the action. Be present when you’re doing them and pay extra special attention to those butterflies in your tummy… they'll likely mean more than you think.
Happy 9 years!
P.S. What else could you add to this list? And did you notice any changes around your 9-year mark (mentally, emotionally, physically, etc)?