I loved her attitude and her go-get-‘em approach. She was well on her way with setting the wheels in motion with the personal side of the move – finding a new house, getting the kids into school and seeking out local resources to help with the transition – while wrapping things up back home. And despite the challenges of moving to a new city, without a network of friends and associates, she was beginning to do the legwork required to move forward professionally.
She wanted to get a better sense of which direction to pursue, but it wasn’t stopping her from taking action in the meantime. So, she tapped her network of local friends, connected with a career coach and brainstormed the professional avenues available to her. She wanted to get it all settled within a few months.
She was a doer.
I have spoken with many people contemplating career change and through those encounters I’ve observed a distinct difference in how individuals approach their transition. There seem to be two separate camps – the doers and the thinkers.
The doers, as the name implies, take action. They are inspired and motivated by completing a series of tasks in pursuit of actionable goals they want to realize short-term.
The thinkers also set and pursue goals but they first take shape as an idea which is then refined and improved through contemplation and analysis of pros and cons before being acted upon.
Ultimately, all of us do both, the doing and the thinking, of course, but depending on our personalities it seems we are naturally predisposed to one or the other approach.
Are there are benefits and drawbacks to both?
In the case of doers, action tends to spur action, so they generally accomplish more in less time. As they complete tasks and move forward, they get immediate feedback from their actions that they can then incorporate into their thinking. On the other hand, doers can waste time and energy taking ineffective steps that lead nowhere.
Thinkers are driven to perfect their ideas but can be bound to inaction. While they may ultimately come up with the “right” way to do things, too much thinking can lead to perpetually refining your ideas and plans, but never accomplishing what you dream of.
Do you know which one you are -- a doer or a thinker?
Being aware of our preferences can help us maximize our chances of success when we contemplate important life decisions like a career change. Armed with this knowledge, we can work to ensure we take a balanced approach. If you are more of a doer, it may mean spending some time to think through and strategize before taking action. On the other hand, if you prefer thinking to doing, it may mean pushing ourselves out of the comfort of safe contemplation to take more real-time risks. Either way you slice it, we become more capable problem-solvers when we broaden our range.
Just one side note. If you are a thinker, like me, try not to overthink this. Making progress while learning from mistakes is always preferable to sitting safely in one place.