Next week, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my high school friends at my 30 year class reunion. Wow – how the time has flown. I’m excited to hear stories about the twisting, turning paths that each person has taken over the course of the last 30 years. No doubt it will be fascinating, fun and interesting. In my line of work of guiding people through career and life choices, one thing I find really interesting is learning about the stepping stone stories and roles that defined a person’s path throughout their lives. Rarely, is it straight line, and the circumstances and stories behind these transformations are usually life defining.
Thinking back to my own path, I took on the role of motherhood in my early 20s. To support my son, I became a receptionist at an oil and gas company – and quickly moved into the engineering department as an engineering tech. In the mid-80s when the oil market crashed, I took a job as an office manager at a sport horse breeding barn, which eventually turned into equine insurance sales for a national association membership program. However, the oil and gas industry would pull me back from there, offering flexibility and the financial wherewithal to put myself through college. Then a move into software marketing to eventually become a vice president within a large international company leading multi-discipline integration efforts.
Statistically, they tell us that we change careers somewhere between 5-7 times in a lifetime. I’m certainly on track to top these numbers. And frankly, I am thankful for the variety of life experiences this has provided me. I look back on that path and I met and worked with many wonderful people, got to experience different cultures around the world, and gained business experience from a multitude of angles. Each step had a defining moment for me – building on my knowledge and expertise – which would eventually provide me with a well rounded foundation. A foundation that would prove to be critical in my next chapter.
The 2008 economy was the gift that led me to redefine myself once again. And yes, it was a gift, as this time, my reinvention was different. My prior stepping stones had all been circumstantial. Opportunities had readily presented themselves, hard work had opened new doors and my path had generally just unfolded. What was different this time, was no new opportunities showed up and hard work didn’t lead to that next logical step. What was different this time, was I had time to reflect on my values, what I loved most in all these roles, what I was really good at. It was a gift of time and reflection.
When I took advantage of this gift of time and reflection, what unfolded for me was a life purpose. All those stepping stones in my life were important. They brought critical understandings and experiences. I considered the stories of my life where I had found excitement and meaning. What unfolded from those stories was a deep understanding of who I was as a person. What moved me, what made my life click.
As I worked to define me – and yes, I do mean ‘worked’ – I worked with coaches and entrenched myself into multiple self-exploration programs over the course of 18 months. When the ‘essence of me’ began to come clear, I started to dream about new possibilities. And guess what – this time, the possibilities weren’t circumstantial. They were grounded in who I was as a person. They were grounded in things I knew I loved doing. They were grounded in my passions. For the first time in my life – all of the complex pieces of me – fit together into a new puzzle picture to define what I was ‘supposed’ doing. That’s what was different this time.
So now I have the opportunity to guide people through this deeper exploration of their next chapter. There is nothing more rewarding that helping people rediscover their unique paths that have unfolded in their lives – seeking out the nuggets of passion, excitement and stories that defined them. I love their stories. The brilliant light this gift provides opens not only new doors for redefining their next chapter, but more importantly opens the right doors.
The study of life paths has become my passion. And the exploration of this passion is timely. Every day, I meet new people who are pondering their next chapter. They have worked hard their whole life, and are ready for something new. But they’re not certain what that might be. According to a recent Right Management Study, 84% of people say they’re going to look for new jobs this year (and only 5% say they are definitely going to remain in their current position). These numbers are staggering to me – and only support what I inherently knew. People are ready to make a change.
If you fall within this 84% statistic – you have a choice. Will you approach this from an opportunistic-only way, or is it time to really define your next chapter around your passions, your values, your strengths and purpose? There is really a big difference.
I can tell you – as I sit writing this from my summer deck surrounded by flowers, a water fountain and quiet music softly playing in the background, and horses munching contently on the green grass just a few feet from me – that there’s great reward in taking the time to plan your next chapter fully. I nailed my next chapter – it is my purpose. The satisfaction that I get in helping people rediscover themselves and define a life that is aligned to their purpose is greater than the sum of everything I’ve done in my life to date.
Chances are, if you study the stepping stones of your own life path, you’ll find nuggets of experience that are leading you to your next chapter. The answers are in your stories, your memories and grounded deep in your heart. The gift of exploring these stories can help you define your purpose and align your own path. I’d love to hear your stories and help you uncover these golden nuggets. Call me today for a Free Introductory Coaching session or sign up for an upcoming Equine Vision Journey Retreat to start uncovering your golden nuggets! 303.670.7244