Do you ever wonder who it is you listen to most? Whose opinion shapes the way you see the world, your choices and in the end what you do? Do you feel a wait of obligation to live a certain way, especially in your career?
I often see clients who want to change job, and feel that they should be aiming for a more senior role in their profession: a role with more responsibilities, a bigger team, more influence and greater financial reward. Or they are working for themselves and believe they need to be growing their business, reaching out to more customers, creating more work and opportunities.
However there is something that is holding them back. And that worries them.
I also had that experience. When I was working in government agencies the next step for me was to move to a CEO role. So I applied and got interviewed, but never made the short list. I even had one experience where several people suggested I apply for a role, encouraged me, made it feel it was within my reach. And again I did not get short listed. Which was disappointing.
But not as disappointing as I thought it would be. You see when I got the call from the recruiter (who was really apologetic) I had a feeling in the middle of my back that something I had been holding onto had let go. It was a physical release, an “a ha” moment that life was back on track. After expecting to go down one path, that would have fit my expected view of “success” all of a sudden I felt this great relief that I did not have to do this job. I did not have to fill this role. I could do something else instead.
It was not much later that my role was restructured, I could take a small redundancy, and find a different way of working. In fact as soon as I had told my Director that I would not be applying for the new restructured role, I went back to my office expecting to have a small melt down at being without work for the first time in a very long time. Instead I got a call from someone offering me a short contract, which I could do on my terms.
This “journey job” was hardly the job of my dreams but it gave me the space to look around and see what I really wanted to do. It gave me time to just day dream and imagine, find out what felt right and go from there. It was here that I began to find a shape to what Albany Lane might be, and with the help of some coaching myself I found the courage to commit to founding my own business.
Now Albany Lane has changed quite a bit since then, and I am working in a way I never really expected. I have taken a lot of advice, made many mistakes, and learnt to listen to my own intuition. Most importantly I am working to my own values and views of the world.
As a friend and colleague said, all the advice is useful, but at some point you need to throw it out and do it your own way.
So be careful who you listen to and whose opinions matter most. If in doubt check in with your own inner voice and let it guide you. It might take practice, but you will have some interesting results.