Take One Step

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months coaching in the area of career development. I’ve been helping individuals figure out how they want to grow and advance their careers.  More often than I would expect, I hear the following comment from my clients, “I really don’t know what I want to do next.”  Perhaps this is why these individuals seek coaching but I’ve realized that many people seem to fall into their career paths without much conscious thought.  We’ve all been there:  in college and sometime between ages 18-20, we are forced to “pick a major”.

So, we pick something; anything that seems interesting or tolerable and then that ends up being our career for the next however many years.  And, often, about 10-20 years after that, we find ourselves saying, “How did I get here? Why did I pick this?” and, “I really don’t know what I want to do next”.  It is at these times that I coach my clients to pick something; pick anything that seems of interest to them and sparks some motivating energy inside of them.  Then, start down that path.  It’s similar to how the college major might have been chosen but this time it’s a more conscious decision.  You intentionally decide that you have an interest and want to explore a potential area to grow and develop yet, as you begin down the path, if you discover it is not truly what you want, then you make a turn.  You make a conscious decision that it’s not the right thing and continue seeking what is right for you.

One client in particular is not sure if she wants to continue in her field at her current company or pursue a new job in a related field elsewhere.  So, she has decided to find a mentor at her current company and take some additional courses to build her skills in her current field.  She plans to do this for the next six months and see if it continues to spark interest and be a path she wants to continue to pursue.  She many find out that it is and she may find out that it isn’t.  If it isn’t, she will then consider pursuing something different in another company.  It’s all about taking that first step and being open to what presents itself to you along the way.  Without making a move, nothing will change and you may always be in the mindset of “I don’t know what I want to do next”.  At least if you start to take steps in one direction, you begin to see new opportunities and gain more clarity around what you could possibly do next.

It’s exactly what Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase.  Just take the first step.”

You might be surprised at where that first step lead

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