Nicole (not her real name) was recently affected by a headcount reduction. Her job was eliminated due to the economy.
In my coaching, I work with a lot of “Nicoles” who find themselves in career transition. Most often, that transition is from one company to another in a similar position―from Controller there to Controller here.
Occasionally, there is someone like Nicole who says, “I’m done! I didn’t like what I was doing, anyway, and I don’t want to do it anymore.”
Okay, but now what? It’s not uncommon to hear, “I have no idea.”
Author John Maxwell encourages us to unleash our power of passion asking: What do you sing about, cry about, and dream about?
Those are good questions to reflect on. What stirs your heart? What might bring you fulfillment? They’re clues to your purpose; what’s at the intersection of your passions, your capabilities, and the needs of others.
Once you bring that to light, then what? You just may need to reinvent yourself―innovate. Innovation is not just a business activity. We need to innovate personally, too.
Innovation is a process of making changes to what already exists―our lives in this context―with the intention of making us and the world around us better. It’s about:
- The engineer who never did like engineering, who gets laid off, takes her severance, and invests it in launching the coffee shop she has always dreamed about.
- The CEO who has achieved the CEO’s lifestyle that his wife and kids are enjoying, but has made him miserable. He resigns, moves to the country, and buys an apple orchard like the one he worked at when he was in high school. He generates an income which he doesn’t really need doing something he really loves―and his family is loving it, too.
- The woman who had a successful early career, got married, and was a stay-at-home mom. When the kids were all in school full-time, she went to work as a counsellor at a crisis pregnancy resource center.
Personal innovation may be triggered by a major life disruption, like a job loss or death of a spouse. Perhaps a desire has been marinating for a long time and it just seems right to act, now.
Despite the apparent risks, the perceived rewards are far greater. It may call for some self-improvement and unfamiliar sacrifice, but the alternative of unfilled dreams may be the greater sacrifice. Many―maybe most―people at the point of taking the leap decide to play it safe. Their circumstances aren’t enough to push them to change. The investment of self, time, and resources appears too great. Fear of failure prevents them from acting.
Sukant Ratnakar cautioned, “Do not get obsolete like an old technology, keep innovating yourself.” And remember:
Dream and the way will be clear
Pray and the angels will hear
Leap and the net will appear
Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And believe in everything
You’re going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you’re free to go
―Right Outta Nowhere by Christine Kane
Written by Jim Gernetzke, Executive Coach and founder of Nos Lumine