What to do when running life or career on Autopilot doesn't work

What to do when running life or career on Autopilot doesn't workSome days I feel a little like I am running on autopilot. I just keeping going because I must and not really operating with a plan.

I don’t much like autopilot

I prefer being organized and keeping on task. But some days that just doesn’t work.

To refocus, sometimes I have to step away from my routine and find some place to just reflect. Lately, I am much more deliberate in being more specific on what I want to achieve.

Sometimes something changes in your life to make you rapidly move out of autopilot. It could be anything. Even though I have goals, my own get sidelined at times.

Life gets in the way

I started the year (and ended last year) with severe abdominal pain.

By January 2, I knew I needed to talk to my doctor so I called him. I was specific. I told him the symptoms and asked him where I should go. Any autopilot in me was shook up when he took me to go to the emergency room and he would call ahead. I didn’t waste any time. The doctor made it sound so urgent that I skipped my shower and stayed in sweats.

My husband already left for the day to be his dad’s caregiver. Since he was at least 15 minutes away, I called my young neighbor, Alyson. I asked her if she could drive me. She said she’d be in my driveway in 5 minutes.

At ER, Marlene, a friend from church, greeted me. She happened to be subbing for the admission desk. It was comforting to have a friend handling the admission details. I took care of what they needed and soon found myself in a room in ER.

Multiple people later, a CAT Scan and morphine for the pain, they determined I had an attack of diverticulitis. I knew what it was since I had family members with it in the past. I prepared myself for a total diet change. Disappointing to someone who loves to cook and try new foods but oh well.

My follow-up visit to my doctor resulted in a total all clear. I was pleasantly surprised. No diet changes or restrictions. High fiber is fine. Spices are fine. Should I have an attack again, I just call him and get on the antibiotics to kill off the problem.

How to handle the unexpected

For me, it was an unexpected illness. For many of my clients, it is a change in work, a loss of work, or a feeling of being stuck on autopilot in their career and wanting more.

Let’s recap:

  1. When I realized the symptoms would not go away, I called an expert.
  2. Next, I listened to the expert and followed his advice. This meant an investment in health care services not covered under my $10,000 deductible but still far better than being in pain.
  3. I called someone in my network to help with transportation since that was the missing piece in getting me the services I needed.
  4. Finally, I followed directions for after care and made sure I followed up with my expert.

Frankly, I don’t think you should run on autopilot even when it is comfortable. Instead, constantly reassess your current condition and reinvest in yourself through reading, studying, and learning. Most importantly, focus on networking with people you may need in your life someday.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have such a broad network of experts to reach out to when life changes and I need to know what to do.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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