Change and transition are words we throw around easily these days. Motivational quotes, opinions and advice are free for the taking. So, accepting that I needed to make a career change was a walk in the park. The storm rolled in when change momentum began to build after that first small action step.
A while ago my favorite words were “I want a new job”. I said it to myself on repeat, to the cashier at the grocery store and I think to a UPS guy a few times. It would have been perfectly acceptable if I said those words and took action. However, I repeated them year after year and the only action I took was in my head. One day I uncomfortably realized that I’ve been immobilized - sort of frozen at the starting line. I am often in the position of supporting others and it was time for me to call in a specialist for myself. I needed expert knowledge and direction. It was time to find a career coach. My two new friends, right place and right time showed up and I found myself a coach.
In my hysteria, I wanted a new job yesterday. So I dress in my best interview suit, grab the popcorn, and can’t wait to watch my new coach do all the work to land me my dream job. After our first session, which I call another one of those small action steps, I realize that Coach does something really well… she coaches. She holds me accountable and asks me questions that I can’t quickly respond to. All of the sudden I’m uncomfortable listening to my old cozy blanket excuses. I’m breathing again, this time involuntarily. I’m asking questions.
When Coach asks me to complete homework, I mutter a ‘sure’ under my breath. Then she follows with “Please tell me the exact date you’ll be done with this assignment and send it to me”. Ouch.
So after practicing being accountable to Coach, I learn to be accountable to myself. Yes I know- I was wearing the ruby slippers the whole time.
Change began when I found myself taking small action steps on uneven ground one after the other, inhaling a few more times a day, noticing how I was thinking, and making attempts to be kind to somebody very important…myself.
So, step-by-step, not seeing it coming, I’m getting ready for work one morning and it occurs to me – mascara wand midair - I’m enjoying the process of looking for a job. I’m enjoying the work that is going into it. I’m enjoying meeting and conversing with positive, brave, risk -takers like my coach Alex Aberle and the people who I met at her resume-writing workshop. I’m enjoying not listening to well-intentioned loved ones who fearfully warn me to stay in my current job. I’m enjoying thanking my negative self-talk for her visit- and then politely asking her to leave.
The negativity I associated with my current job is slowly dissolving away. I begin to accept it and love it for the gifts it has given me. It has offered me plentiful opportunities to build relationships, some wonderful, some challenging, but learning just the same. It has offered me countless experiences to honor the importance of integrity and taught me how much can get done when genuine, patient, and kind show up.
My usual panic, fear and copious amounts of self-doubt are alchemizing into genuine tingly-all -over excitement. Phrases like ‘open to new opportunities’ and ‘possibilities are endless’ are tumbling out of my mouth before I could push them back in. So this is what change is. It’s being given permission to have a glimpse of your true self and wanting to see much more.
So maybe I’m not close to the end, (Winston Churchill makes perfect sense right about now) perhaps it’s just the end of the beginning.
I’m confident about what I can bring to my new career and I’m confident I will land my perfect fit job as I continue to follow my road signs along the way.
When I look back over my shoulder I hear myself say “Thanks Coach…I’m loving this ride!”
About Author: To learn more about Margaret A. Lohse, visit her LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaretlohsevb/