Thursday, November 12, 2015

Amy Week Question 1B: The Real Work, Self Discovery

Let's jump into Amy Week Question 1, part B. As a reminder, Amy brought of up the following issue: How to set goals/direction when all the external "gold rings" (tenure and promotion) are done.

My previous post suggested that one must accept this lack of external direction as a loss, and grieve the loss of this part of our movement toward a next phase of professional and personal development. The need to climb is over; one must grieve this reality as a loss of a significant part of our live structure, and even our identity.

Now, once this loss is grieved, guess what?

You get to be yourself! You now can do what you wish to do with your career. By having moved through the grief and loss, you are afforded a powerful freedom that very few on the planet have. This truly is an amazing privilege. Take it in. Take in that feeling of safety that you were not able to experience before. Breath. Breaking is good. Really. Short of doing something really stupid, you have a stable work situation for as long as you wish!

Now, enjoying this new sense of freedom assumes that you have some sense of direction, or some sense of the areas in which you want to work. If you don't, or if it is murky, I would suggest that no simple tools, tricks, or blog posts are going to be the magic bullet for what ails you. You are going to want to spend some time with a mentor, coach, or therapist that can really help you do some "soul" work. I know, this is not what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth (or the way I see the truth, anyhow, but perhaps I am biased by coaching practice and training as a clinical social worker). There is little substitute for quality conversations in which a caring and empathic, skillful other who can help you uncover your passions and dreams. Now that you are freed from the shackles of must, you are called upon to look into the reflective pool of self. This is why we have sabbaticals, although we don't often use them for this.

Once you have your goals and dreams uncovered, the rest is easy, right?

Well, maybe not- part three coming up soon :).


  1. Thanks for these posts - you are giving me so much to think about, and I greatly appreciate it!