The energy for creating new opportunities comes from the tension we feel between an inspired vision for the future and our current reality. When we feel stuck or unclear about our careers, often it’s because we are either compromising our vision or denying reality–sometimes it’s a little of both.
We’re considering some 30 day trials, side projects, stretch assignments, courses, volunteering options etc. After a long week of ‘slog’ to overcome my procrastination I’m finally free to give this some attention.
As usual we’re inspired by some practical thinking (rituals in our lives) and great posts from Michele ( dreams ).
Interestingly (and perhaps thankfully) I had already begun down the enrichment/ visioning/ project path but I’m also inspired to trial a couple of other things that have been lingering in the back of my mind for some time. So here are my ideas for projects and experiments:
I’m already finding time each day to draw. This has become an evening ritual to relax after a busy day. Uploading to FlickR (something each day) is a driver but not an onerous one – if I don’t make it, I don’t!
I’ve applied for a small community-based contract – I if I get it, I know I’ll love working outside the regimes of formal education. I can see opportunities for REAL outcomes and opportunities for creativity within it.
I’m instigating a blog for creative kids activities – I’ll need input to make it sustainable
I’m going to have a go at creating a multimodal e-book publication and will use the next month to research production options. The new Apple releases are very timely, and
I’m going to test the water to host a monthly conversational gathering for people I know think and/or work on the boundaries of or outside the mainstream. I see it as an opportunity to affirm non-conventional thinking, generate and share new ideas etc. Now for a name ….
Despite all good intentions I’m dawdling with this weeks activities for our Career Clarity Camp. I HAVE been reflecting but I wanted to also write. So a bit of a catchup here…
We’re meeting online for 90 minutes each week. It’s an interesting mix of people from around the world and I enjoyed the diversity very much. We’re using a visualisation tool called The Image Centre – a service by VisualsSpeak . As a visual person I loved the platform but would have liked to be able to text chat to the group as they described their ideas. It provides a canvas on which participants can select and display images to describe their response to different trigger questions. Our last task was to select images in response to the question – If success was completely guaranteed, who could I become? We had about 50 images to choose from and about 3 minutes to complete the task. Here’s my response:
Then to the analysis.
I see myself as the fish in the top left (happily) swimming against the flow. My thoughts were around creativity, pathways, resilience, tenacity and choice.
We’ve been asked to seek input from others who know us well so I’d love to hear your comments.
I’ve revisited my post from a year ago untapped & unrecognised and realised that if self-employed, management of my skills and talents is entirely up to me! I AM able to combine them into the directions I take as well as drawing on the strengths of others to complement. The challenge is to think laterally about what’s possible and perhaps to create new possibilities, and to market those as worthwhile without falling into the trap Michele describes in her Dreams for sale post – making career decisions based only on what the market will bear. The questions posed in Michele’s post (from Peter Block & Michele) to help us step back from an ‘economic monoculture’ view of ourselves are useful I think –
* What does it mean when we lose contact or faith in our ideals, or our dreams and desires?
* Why would we give up the pursuit of our desires, of what matters to us, if the right offer doesn’t come along?
* Why have we placed our desires up for auction?
* When did we decide that we could live without what was important to us or postpone our desires until we have implemented an exit strategy?
* What would my career look like if I wasn’t worried about selling to the highest bidder?
* What really matters to me, regardles of how much someone else is willing to pay for it?
Michele is kicking off our month long Career Clarity Camp with some personal reflection time and we’ve been asked to consider all or some of the following:
What questions are you asking yourself right now? What’s the stuff that wakes you up at night or intrudes during the day?
Where do you feel clear?
Where do you feel muddy or confused?
How do you currently see yourself at work?
How do you spend your days?
What do you want more of at work?
What do you want less of at work?
Who are your colleagues? How do you feel about them? Are there people who are particularly inspiring? Particularly challenging?
How does your career seem to fit with the rest of your life? How does it not fit?
What are your overall feelings about your career?
How long have you been having these feelings?
What steps have you already taken to find some career clarity?
What steps are you considering right now?
A year ago I resigned from a well paid job to work for myself again. Looking back now at my last 2 employee positions I realise the importance of skilled leadership and talent management when supervising and supporting staff strengths. I experienced neither. It was soul destroying.
I love working for myself. Michele sums up the benefits here – 7 reasons most professionals should work for themselves
But it’s not easy! There are two things I battle with most and which keep me awake at night – uncertainty and focus.
That fortnightly deposit that magically arrives in your bank account regardless of effort, outcomes or even attendance is seductive.
How do I find a niche, or should I spread myself widely?
And of course there are archaic systems to stymie opportunity. Do you work with them or treat them as road blocks and head another direction?
Often acceptance brings with it an unnecessary waste of time and money. Probably the biggest road block for me at present remains the Certificate 4 in Training & Education but more about that later.
Right now I know I need to take time to promote myself better, to focus in on particular strengths as niche areas, and to find some detours around those road blocks.
I know my sanity depends on remaining artistically active, so I need to find the mental and physical spaces to enable that. I know my health depends on more exercise, and I need to allocate time and energy towards that. And when it all feels too hard I need the reassurance and support of a loving partner, and I’m blessed with that.
Mid 2011 those uncertainty fears drove me to begin looking for paid employment once again. What I discovered was a) when times are tight the public service closes its doors and recycles (often) ‘dead wood’ rather than bringing in fresh blood, and b) the private sector wants low paid work horses NOT innovators.
Already, with Michele’s encouragement I’m willing to refocus efforts on making self-employment work. Step #1
Over the next month I’m looking forward to making time for reflection and finding tools and strategies to move forward. Thanks Michele for facilitating this!