Focusing on the needs of your career is important. Life does not stand still and if we do not keep our skills honed and our networks active, we can find ourselves outpaced by others who are more open, progressive and dynamic.
There are different requirements at each stage of our career:
From education through to early mid forties is a time of outer development. Securing good jobs, receiving good development, coming under the wing of influential mentors, taking part in innovative interesting projects. Things seem to happen to us. This time is often described as “my career seemed to have a mind of its own, I moved from this job to that, with ease”; ” I kept being asked to take a new assignment and then I was exposed to new and interesting ideas”. “It was a great adventure, I mostly had great bosses and I worked in some great teams”
Somewhere in our mid life and this can be late 30’s to early 50’s there seems to be a call. Questions begin in our head and heart which challenge us to reconsider our trajectory and our goals. Maybe we find ourselves with a poor boss and no matter how good our influencing skills the relationship stumbles. Or, we find ourselves on a project which which struggles or goes off the rails. Perhaps we have a small health scare or life is not so good at home.
All indicate a time for reflection and refocus.
“There are different requirements at each stage of our career”
The second part of our career is more a journey based on an inner compass, coming from understanding of myself, my talents and how I deliver results. I hear clients daily say “I need to find the environment where I can best apply my unique skills”; “I don’t want to waste my time on politics and blame, I’m tired and I’ve out grown game playing”; “I have a vision which won’t go away, I have to follow it now”; “I love this particular type of work, I want to focus down on this now”. This is the call to use our own unique leadership and skills, working from a sure understanding of ourselves, knowing now both our strenghts and our weaknessses and with a general confidence which is sure and solid.
Some people continue in their current work, yet make a shift in attitude, approach and interactions with people and teams. Others make a more dramatic change, moving to a new vocation or perhaps moving to a different sector or industry. Whatever the decision, this is based on the foundation of ‘curve 1’ and yet brings a new dynamic to life and leadership ‘curve 2’. In this stage we are called to mentor more, to guide well and to make our views and beliefs clear to others. People want to know where we stand, why we stand there and if our leadership is honest and deserves following.