“You are on a default path to somewhere.”
I remind my clients of this frequently. Whether in a stable situation, in transition, or trying to figure out what’s next… You WILL wind up somewhere!
I also talk about the notion of an “accidental career.” This is where you’ve made incremental decisions at various points over the course of your career: “That is a company I want to work for.” “That’s a great salary offer!” “That company is located in a place I’d like to live.” “I need a job, so I might as well take this one.”
Those decisions are likely the best ones with the information available in the moment. Except for the select few, who at an early age know exactly what they want to do and have laser focus on getting there. Most have made incremental decisions that have led you to where you are right now.
How did I get here?
It has likely served you well. You have been successful on many counts. You have a title and a position of importance. You have been able to provide for yourself and your family well. You have been able to use your gifts and skills.
But, are you truly happy and fulfilled?
If you have lived elements of an “accidental career” and also accept the notion you are “on a default path to somewhere,” it can be unsettling. As you get older, has it become your “accidental life?” You start to ask the questions “Is this all there is?” “How long can I ride this out?” “What’s next?”
Is it where you want to be?
The exciting thing is my clients also come to realize, “You’re right where you’re supposed to be!” Everything that has happened to you to this point in time – accidental or intentional – has created who and what you are in this very moment. You can’t go back and change anything, and you can decide what your next steps will be!
It is very freeing to realize you can create that path ahead.
Getting off that default path and creating the intentional path can be uncomfortable and difficult to chart. Doing it alone, or even with family and friends whose intentions are good, you are tied in to old stories and expectations. And, it’s hard to be free to be honest – and to dream.
Through a reflective and structured program of looking at your past & present, uncovering strengths & values and clarifying passion & goals, we WILL be able to map that course and put intention ahead of accident.
Let’s shift gears and start taking control of your path…contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a conversation about how coaching can help you create that path.
Leadership According to Nelson Mandela.
I’m currently traveling in South Africa. It’s an amazing place for the natural and cultural beauty. And, you’re never too far from an image of Nelson Mandela. His face appears on signs, souvenirs, sides of buildings, and even as graffiti in places it “should not” be. But you know it will not be removed.
Conversations about him are full of reverence and admiration, but also laced with fear of what might happen now he is no longer around to propel the vision and control those that might stray.I participated in anti-apartheid rallies in Philadelphia in the mid-80s and organized letter-writing campaigns to release an imprisoned a South African pastor. And now I am walking the streets of Cape Town and driving past the Townships.Tonight I read a posting from the respected theologian and author, Jim Wallis of Sojourners. He too traveled to South Africa recently and shared this quote from Mandela:
“The cell is an ideal place to know yourself. People tend to measure themselves by external accomplishments, but jail allows a person to focus on internal ones, such as honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, generosity and an absence of variety. You learn to look into yourself.”
I can’t think of a better explanation of why leadership begins first and foremost with an understanding of self. And, I can’t think of a leader worth emulating more than Nelson Mandela.
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