“You have to separate your net worth from your self-worth.” Chris Gardner
In today’s article, two women discuss the paths they each took to changing careers. Erica Curless is a former journalist who became an equine and canine massage therapist and Shirley Bonuccelli is a former school librarian and financial planner who now details cars for a living. Here they share their “radical-change strategies” as well as thoughts on their lives today.
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” Napoleon Hill
It’s been three years since Paul Potts won the Britain’s Got Talent competition. Since then his audition clip has been viewed millions of times. Watching this moment still inspires and reminds us that a person’s life story can play out in amazing ways. Paul’s story includes: dreams of singing as a child, pursuing music as an escape from being bullied in school, experiencing various obstacles as an adult, and then a coin toss decision to show up for an audition. Now doing what he feels he was “born to do” Paul says, “In life you sometimes take a turn you weren’t expecting, you don’t know where it leads but you have to take that path.” Read Paul’s bio here.
Some helpful thoughts here that may broaden your perspective on career change. In the Now What? career transition coaching process, examining your life story is often a pinnacle moment because it helps you connect the dots in a new way. Patterns and possibilities emerge that can only be detected in the context of your whole story. Once understood, the next chapter often writes itself.
Special thanks to Britta Stromeyer Esmail, the author of today’s article.
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
Most people suffer from what I call “the misinterpretation of the dream”. They had (or have) a dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up and if it never came to be, they either consider it a flight of fancy or a failure. Wrong! There is so much left untapped in that discarded dream that can show you what you can be doing now or adding to your career reinvention for utmost satisfaction and meaning.
What we have been trained to do is see our dreams as a literal mandate from our hearts, minds and imaginations. If I dream of singing on Broadway then, clearly, I am to be an actress with all that it entails. However, when you are given the key to the clues that the dream holds, you are no longer beholden to one form that your work life can take.
One woman who received the key realized that her futile attempts to break into the broadcasting field did not mean she had failed at her dream. What she really wanted to accomplish by being a broadcaster was to get vital information to people that they needed for their lives. She realized that she could do that in many, many forms and it did not need to rely solely on landing a position as an on camera newscaster.
Sometimes a discarded dream can be a place in your life history where you got away from your truest self. A place where you left your soul on the side of the road to live the life you thought you had to live. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are supposed to go back to that dream because being a baseball player at age 52 just may not be feasible, but it does mean going back and picking up your soul from the gutter. It might mean getting that old glove back on your hand and remembering who it was you got to be (or wanted to be) and then bringing that person into your life today. The dream must live; it will just have a different form.
I once met a man who wanted to challenge my method of looking for the wisdom in people’s dreams. He had accomplished every dream he had ever wished for, so he felt he could debunk there being any theme or connection between his dreams that would mean anything to his current conundrum about what to do next. This man’s past dreams included being a magician as a kid, an architect, which he did become, and a branding and advertising person, which he also became. What he was confused about was that he could not reconcile his love of outdoor adventure sports like rock climbing and kayaking with his next career move.
It did not take long to recognize that each of his dreams evoked a sense of awe in people. A magician’s impressive illusion, the architect’s astounding work, the ad man’s billboard—they all made people be amazed and awed. Nature does the same thing. Upon tying the dreams together for him, he told the truth that he wanted to have an adventure travel company and introduce more people to the awe of nature. It all made sense. He knew what he wanted to do and why. He wasn’t confused anymore.
How about you? Can you reinterpret your dreams and find the clues in the past that point to your future? No dream is foolish. It’s just our interpretation that is flawed. Go back, retrieve yours and soar!
Based on Chapter Four, Your Past Holds the Clues to the Future, from Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo
This scene comes shortly after Jerry examines the question, “Who had I become?” and, disliking his answer, pours out his heart in a 25-page mission statement. Reclaiming both his integrity and his passion, he takes a stand with a support team of one… plus the goldfish.
Here Mary Lou Quinlan discusses how to “break out of stale roles” and choose your work identity consciously. She also offers some specific examples of women who did this successfully. We agree with this approach and think that identifying your Who is an essential part of career transition coaching. In the Now What?® process, we look at Who You Are to Others, both in the professional realm as well as your personal life, and pose the question: Who do you want to be?
“Who Are You at Work? Finding Your Identity.” Mary Lou Quinlan