I have recently had the pleasure of interviewing my colleagues at Seagry Consultancy Ltd for our ‘Team Spotlights’. I haven’t done my own Spotlight interview just yet and don’t want to spoil any surprises 🤭 but what everyone has said so far about their career history really mirrors my own journey and something that I think many people go through but don’t talk about. And that is this:
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT!
Many of my colleagues at Seagry weren’t sure about what they wanted to do, fresh out of uni. Many were just trying things and ended up in jobs and industries that they didn’t know existed or didn’t have any original desire to work in.
It was only when the opportunities came to try those jobs and new industries, that they gave them a go and realised they enjoyed them. Or perhaps, they didn’t, so they moved on to something else.
The journey for all of them was full of unknowns, change, exploration, growth and learning along the way. Sometimes there was risk taking and going for things that had no guarantee of working out, but they went for them anyway. And after all that, they’re still doing great.
The same goes for me
Whilst I did know after university that I wanted to work in Lean and management consulting, I didn’t know about the sectors I would end up in – which initially was logistics and supply chain. And once I got my first graduate role in that industry, I ended up in project and programme management for a few years – this was something I loved but didn’t know existed before the opportunity arose to try it.
Later I entered healthcare and public sector consulting – I never thought about working in the public sector prior to that. But I spent many enjoyable years in that field.
And now I have my own business as a resilience and wellbeing trainer and speaker. I had been interested in human development since I was about 20, but at that age I didn’t think: I’m going go work in this field. I actually only had that realisation when I was about 31. And now, here I am, doing it.
You see, my point is that no one really knows or has all their career mapped out. And if you think you should have, or that you’re somehow failing if you haven’t, you may be causing yourself unnecessary distress by holding yourself to an unrealistic and perhaps entirely imaginary benchmark…
I’m also now remembering one of my mentors in my early career, he’d gone from the military, to school teaching, to executive roles.
I think about my entrepreneur cousin who owns a marketing agency doing photography and videography. He recently decided to buy a bar!
I think about a friend who started out as an accountant, worked for the Big 4, and now is an executive coach and would be happy to never see another spreadsheet in her life! (It’s amazing how many accountants I meet who don’t actually like numbers or spreadsheets 😂.)
Look, there are some people who know what they want and do it for their whole lives. But there are many more who don’t.
Many will chop and change. Especially in this day and age where opportunities and possibilities are far greater than ever before. And far from chopping and changing being wrong, I think it’s excellent. It’s growth. It’s evolution. It’s learning. It’s variety and adventure. And there is nothing wrong with that at all! It’s wonderful.
So don’t think you’re having a ‘midlife crisis’ if you’re questioning your career. Don’t stress yourself by thinking you’re ‘wrong’ for not having a plan.
I prefer to see it as a midlife breakthrough. That’s actually what it is, and if you allow yourself to go with it, you may find great treasures on the other side.
Whether its a radical change, a U turn or a slight pivot, save yourself the distress caused by thinking you should have it all figured out, or that you can’t make a switch, or that you have to stay in what you’re in just because you’ve always done it. Open yourself up. There are no rules.
Resilience and wellbeing is about flexibility, adaptability, growth and change
So don’t withhold the development of that skill from yourself by being rigid, by thinking you have to stay in one lane, by not allowing yourself to experiment and evolve.
There are no lanes. It’s just a big old mish mash of stuff – and you can do whatever you want!
So go forth and release your soul into the world, try things, fail at things, learn from them and keep on exploring.
You may find ‘one thing’ that you settle with for a while, you may not.
But if you and your loved ones are healthy, happy, well and looked after, what does it really matter? We’re all going to leave the planet one day and in a few generations, no one will remember we existed! So why not make the most of the ride.
A final tip
If you’re pondering different career avenues and maybe contemplating a change, some questions that can help you work through it are:
- What’s the worst that can happen?
- What’s the best that can happen?
Realise that by avoiding the worst, you’re also avoiding the best.
Lots of love to you,