Reframing Your Career
From What to How
By Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Often clients call with the question, "I don't know what I want to do."
Within fifteen minutes, we establish that they know exactly what they want
to do. What they don't know is, "How?"
Griselda was a frustrated lawyer who wanted a career where she could
work cooperatively with people rather than adversarially. She felt she had
learned many life lessons and she wanted to share them.
After a few minutes, Griselda confided that she entertained dreams of
becoming a life coach. Now she could move.
Griselda began to research her dream. She talked to six coaches to get
a well-rounded picture of the coaching life -- negatives as well as
positives. As she considered coach schools, I encouraged her to talk to
recent graduates to see if they felt their training was worthwhile.
Will Griselda become a coach? Not necessarily! As she investigates the
field, she will become more or less drawn to coaching. She will find
herself enjoying the people she meets or becoming increasingly turned off.
If Griselda realizes the field is not for her, she can begin exploring
other paths coaches choose when they find new careers. And she probably
has a second dream tucked away somewhere, ready to explore.
Horatio was a social worker who longed for the business world. Enough
of this caring profession, he said: I want to wear a suit and make no
bones about making money! This change of direction is not at all uncommon:
artists and healers often dream of Wall Street and Madison Avenue, while
those who work in skyscrapers for large sums have dreams of packing it all
in for a little town in the middle of nowhere -- and a career in arts or
Horatio was drawn to an MBA degree, but his first thought was, "Two
years out of my life? With twenty-two-year-olds? I'm almost fifty!" I
encouraged him to explore one-year and weekend programs. Non-traditional
schools, he found, offered greatest flexibility in taking courses -- but
less marketability afterward.
As he visited schools and sat in on classes, he found himself
fascinated by the material, the students and even the professors. Feeling
a pull toward a field or subject area often -- but not always -- means
your intuition is giving you a green light to move forward.
I encouraged Horatio to talk to his employers, who valued him highly.
Amazingly, they found a loophole that would let him receive educational
benefits to cover part of his tuition, and he entered an intensive
weekend-and-evening program in a city within driving distance.
Neither Griselda nor Horatio needed extensive self-analysis. They had
already identified their dreams and they were ready to move forward.
Sometimes you can uncover your own dream -- and sometimes an objective
observer, such as a coach (you knew this was coming!) can help you
untangle your own goals and stay focused on your destination. I've found
that people get moving fast once they recognize that "what" really means
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. Author, Career Coach, Speaker,
helps mid-career, midlife professionals who want to get on the fast track
to career freedom. Visit her website:
http://www.movinglady.com/feedback.html Phone: 505-534-4294