Long-time readers of this blog know that I've been focusing on how we can develop our career resilience skills in order to deal with a very uncertain world. In trying to practice what I preach, these are skills and habits I've been working to develop for myself, in addition to facilitating them with clients.
Lately, I'm grappling with the Clarity part of career resilience, looking at the intersection between my gifts and passions and what the world needs from me. As part of this, I've been doing a lot of reading and reflection and having conversations with my Mastermind group and others in my life about the various possibilities to explore.
I'm also planning some experiments, some ways of trying out different possibilities that I think will help me reach greater understanding of where I need to go next.
Why am I doing this now? A few reasons.
First, I find that certain seasons tend to encourage me in this direction--fall and winter tend to be "soul-searching" times for me in general where I'm more likely to be journaling and thinking about my goals and next steps. Spring and summer tend to be times for execution.
I also know that turning 50 in September was a milestone birthday and that I'm thinking much more about legacy and how I want to spend my time in this next phase of my working life. It's become even more important to me to feel like I'm making a difference, having impact. I have much less patience for work that seems to go nowhere once I'm gone. Not sure if this means changing what I do, who I do it with or what, but I know that there are places in my work life that will need to be transformed.
I'm also acutely aware of how certain income streams are drying up for me. On a very practical level, some of my organizational clients don't have the money to contract with me for services that they once did. But there's also a "drying up" that's happening in terms of the work I've been doing. It's less juicy and engaging than it once was, which for me is a recipe for becoming stale and stagnant. Not where I do my best work.
As a self-employed solopreneur, I find that this issue of clarity is something that is thrust upon me, whether I want to explore it or not. When I'm clear, work comes to me. When I'm not, it doesn't. So built into my work life is the need to always be getting clear about what I'm selling, who is buying and how all that fits together.
For people who have a job, though, I think it's much easier to avoid the need to get clear. You begin to believe that if you just keep your head down and do what you're told at work, then this clarity thing is taken care of.
Clarity is for all of us. It's what helps us grow and develop and keep work engaging. It also is the way that we are able to anticipate changes coming our way so we can adapt our own career plans to meet upcoming challenges. It's tempting to keep our heads down and just keep plowing ahead, but in the end, we may be sorry.
Although I find this process of reconfiguring and realigning my work and identity to be frustrating and frightening at times, I also know that it's a necessary part of growth.
I'm working to give myself the space and time to make these shifts and to explore new possibilities, trusting that in this process I will ultimately emerge into a clearing where the way ahead is revealed to me.
Conversations help. Planning experiments helps. Giving myself permission to be uncertain and to be in the soup REALLY helps.
It's a process and a journey and you have to trust that eventually the messiness will give way to order. It always does.