I Left at the Top of My Game

I was tenured. Well-established. Leading a nationally-recognized program… by all appearances, I was at the top of my game. Lots of people told me I was foolish to “walk away from all that” when I retired this past May. A few asked if I had a terminal illness.

But I’m not a fool, and I’m not the kind of person who waits to live my life until I only have 6 months left to live it. It was time. For a dozen reasons or more, it was time.

I was ready for my next big adventure.

See,I was at the top of my game in many ways but I was also at the top of my game. There was no going up unless I became a full-time administrator. That’s what I was being encouraged to do and I would have been great at that job but I would have been utterly miserable. One of the reasons I knew that was because I have a clear understanding of my unique brilliance. I’m absolutely brilliant at administrative work but I loathe doing the things that would make up 90% of the job. The decision was easy and I was able to make it quickly because my work tasks were already mapped out on my skill matrix.

When was the last time you mapped out your work tasks? I’m not talking about a laundry list of courses taught, committees served, and scholarship disseminated. I’m asking if you have looked at the actual tasks you have to do to get that work done. What tasks – sending emails, developing spreadsheet formulas, handling student complaints, mentoring someone one-on-one – are taking up 90% of your time on the job?

If you don’t know, I suggest you find out. You may be shocked at what you learn.

I use a skill matrix to help clients differentiate the tasks you love from the tasks you loathe, and the tasks you are absolutely brilliant at from those that take the most time and effort to complete. Those tasks that map to your zone of unique brilliance on the skill matrix should account for about 80% of your time at work but I bet they don’t.

It’s useful to recognize when you’re operating well outside your target brilliance zone but the real game-changer is understanding the steps you need to take to move back into that target area.

Need some ideas to help you reduce your workload, improve outcomes, and gain back your work-life balance? I can help with that! One of my books – Brilliance Hacks for Work-Life Balance – is free on Kindle Unlimited or just $5 in paperback. Grab a copy for specific, actionable strategies to gain back your time in 15 minute increments.

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