For those who were not able to attend the 2020 Vision Conference at Northwest University in Kirkland, I joined forces with two coaches working with me on the Career GPS Summer Project. Here’s my part of the speech:
Picking a New Direction
As we represent a program called Career GPS I’ve been thinking that there are two things a GPS needs to work: an end destination and your current location.
Seven years ago my current location was a video editor…which was all I ever was, and all I ever wanted to be. I landed at a station in Seattle and, after six years and a promotion created specifically for my skills and abilities, I couldn’t see what else there was to do—except the same thing—for the next 20 years. It was then I realized I needed a new destination.
That’s what I like about this picture of me on the Sydney Harbor Bridge…I didn’t pick Sydney or Australia as my destination, so it represents to me that a destination—or success—doesn’t have to be just one thing, it can be identified by a few things like coordinates…Since I didn’t have a specific end destination in mind, I came up with a process to find the coordinates so I would recognize my destination—or what I considered to be success—when I arrived…
Finding My Coordinates
While this is the process I went through to find my way let me first say that:
- You can adopt or adapt your own process and use it as you need
- I use this every time I need a new perspective—what we call a big pictures / global view
- A process like this is important because you can achieve a goal and not feel satisfied—this helps you identify what you need to feel satisfied.
1. Mark the Time & Prepare
The first thing I did to clarify my positioning is to mark a time on my calendar when I could disconnect from the rest of the world, get quiet, and find out what inspired me. This time I happened to have a 3-day weekend which is the minimum time that I recommend because as you wind down from your busy life you’ll likely only end up with one full day not committed to other things…
Leading up to this time I would gather articles, pictures, or anything that I think would be useful during my time alone.
2. Spend the Time
Once the time had arrived I made sure to invest in myself so I limited my access to the outside world—so the only voice to weigh in was my own…and I went through all the materials I collected…
3. Decide and Take Action
I’ll share with you what I got out of that process but first let me say that I could satisfy most or all of what I wanted by pursuing a job my mentor told me about four months earlier. In fact here’s my case for personal networks:
- My mentor recommended me for the job – which I got without an interview
- My mentor later recommended for the assignment in Australia—which sent me out of the country for 7 months!
Which leads me to something else…
Celebrate the victories. Chances are the destination you pick is not likely right around the corner, so there are going to be tough times when you realize this is a marathon and not a sprint…It’s important to take opportunities to celebrate your accomplishments whether they’re obvious—like going to Australia for a job—or they’re subtle like deciding to apply for the job in the first place when I had passed on the opportunity four months earlier…
Based on the process I just shared with you I realized my coordinates for success were that I wanted to travel more without worrying about the cost. At the time I just wanted to pay for the trip, it didn’t dawn on me that I could travel for work!
The second thing I realized from my process was that I wanted to live – I wanted fuller life experiences. Because I didn’t pick Sydney or even Australia as my end destination I didn’t just sit in my hotel room, I went kayaking for the first time, I drifted across the national capital in a hot air balloon, and discovered how empowering backpacking could be! My third thing I realized was that I wanted the freedom of a flexible schedule so that I could work on side projects or have adventures outside of my job…
In the end my destination was a fuller life. Because I was clear about what that meant for me, I was able to make the most out of my time for Australia and that not only helped to satisfy some of my passions, it helped me to expand my skillset.
Are you looking for support in designing, following through, or creating a plan for your next project? Check out the Career GPS Summer Project before registration closes.