Have you noticed that we use the word "really" a lot - really a lot? In my conversations with those at critical live junctures, I find myself asking questions like "what do you really want to do?" or "do you really believe that?" or sometimes just an incredulous "really?!?". In the quiet early morning hours, I ask myself the "really" questions of want, desire, truth. It strikes me that "really" has become a code word for the call for serious conversation and deeper, more honest thinking.
In my work with men and women in career transition I have come to recognize a pattern of thinking, choosing, and believing that can be best described as "opportunity tunnel vision." Every day I see talented, experienced, good people simply choose a well-worn career path and not even recognize that they have alternatives. I do not think this is inevitable. I believe we can explore alternatives, make better and more creative choices, and enjoy longer-term well-being by taking the time and opening our eyes, mind, and heart to alternative career futures.
The average American will move 11.7 times in their lives and, interestingly, the average American will hold 11.7 jobs in their lives. While these broad-brush averages may not reflect the pattern of our individual lives, what it does say is that at some juncture we may find ourselves job seeking in a new geographical location.
Several weeks ago I was asked to make a presentation at the Women's Business Center of North Alabama (WBCNA) for a networking series called Strong Women, Strong Coffee. Amazingly, a room full of women and a few stalwart men got up at the crack of dawn and came out to hear me speak. I was both amazed and humbled. I was asked to share some of my "keys to success." One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to contribute without selling my soul.