By now you’ve seen a couple posts here and there about incorporating mindfulness into your professional development and overall career navigation. After seeing so much interest and so many inquiries regarding mindfulness (hooray, btw) we’ve decided to launch an official mindfulness series - welcome to Mindful with myHCN. We’ll be posting on here regularly every month, so keep your eyes peeled and mind open. 

By now, many of us have heard the phrase “life is a journey, not a destination”. Chances are, Ralph Waldo Emerson probably wasn't speaking distinctly about career development in modern society. However, we may extract that he housed a great sentiment of gratitude for the present when he wove these words together. Oftentimes we get so caught up in the anticipatory nature of our professional or educational journeys, that we forget where we are in the present moment. Taking a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come, even if it’s your freshman year of college, is incredibly important. Be ambitious with a hint of contentment. Be driven with an accessible gear to slow down every now and then. Stay hungry, but take a pause to enjoy what you’ve tasted so far on your palate.

This shift in thinking allows for the mind to become a lot more focused, clear, and constructively selective. If we constantly worry about the next job or next round of graduate school applications, we become too disconnected from the present. An endless number of opportunities will always present themselves to you in one way or another. Often, many will be very noble pursuits if you can maintain a sense of balance between your current accomplishments and your future goals.
A great exercise to appreciate where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you’re going is by creating a Time Travel T-Chart. The chart is created with three columns side by side, labeled Past, Present, Future. You pick one particular topic or pursuit you are thinking about and write one thing about it with respect to each time period. Always start with the present and use words in terms of the present. For example:
I had never worked in a clinical research trial before, but I wanted to gain experience in data analysis and the publication process.
My current primary day-to-day tasks include raw data entry and copy editing in a clinical research trial.
I can hone in on my data entry and copy-editing skills to then leverage for my next position focused specifically on data analysis and publishing clinical research.
What did we do here? First we identified where you currently stand. Then we identified where you were before you got to your current position/job title to acknowledge how far you’ve come. We pinpointed what you achieved since your original goal. Lastly, we identify how you can get to the next step by using the present as a key for the future. This shift to positive mindfulness will allow you to incorporate a sense of gratitude for your job application process, professional development, and career growth.
Intentional appreciation for the present goes a long way into the future. What are some ways you incorporate gratitude in your professional life?

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