Finding Your Direction In An Uncertain World
“I find images have a way of by-passing the inner ‘critical voice’ and can stimulate optimism and creativity in relation to the future. Images also help harness the power of emotional intelligence which is critical to making career decisions that will lead to sustained effort and satisfaction over the long run. I believe we should help clients to set their direction before they set their goals.”Patricia Parish
My coaching client yesterday said that she had finally got COVID, after avoiding it for 2 years. She got a positive test on the first day of her family getaway, of course! She had struggled for 3 weeks and was now trying to get back into work. Her head was fuzzy, and she said she was grappling to focus and could only work a few hours a day.
My client is a high achiever. She is busy, focused and dedicated to planning and executing above and beyond expectation. Every day. All the time. Feeling disconnected from work and her world was not a comfortable feeling.
While it can feel scary and uncomfortable for over achievers, being fuzzy is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can even create a sense of being appropriately dissociated. It may help you to see things in a different way.
Helping people to see things a little differently is something that Career Education Consultant, Art Therapist, and Certified CCS Practitioner, Patricia Parish is familiar with. I recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a session at the Career Development Association of Australia conference, where Patricia shared her thoughts on managing these turbulent times, along with a unique process she has created for identifying your own true north.
When your world is fuzzy, and you’re grappling with the best next steps, here are a few tips Patricia shared:
Start where you’re at: It’s easy to gallop ahead in your mind as to where you want to be and that can, at times, become overwhelming. Starting where you’re at now is useful to ground yourself. It means realistically acknowledging where you are and what you have so you can move forward.
Self acceptance, not judgement: in a world of uncertainty, we can also resort to beating ourselves up on what we should’ve done, or would’ve done, or didn’t do. It’s exhausting! And it’s not useful. Let yourself off the hook and accept where you are – it’s a much lighter way to travel!
Whole life, not just career: While you might be thinking about exploring your career options, it’s important to consider your whole life, not just one aspect. I think work/life balance has been a mental model that has caused a lot of grief for many. What if you considered your whole life and made decisions based on that?
Patricia’s process, Working Toward My True North, combining the CCS Cards and Design Thinking, can be used for self reflection, or as a tool in coaching your clients to help identify your, or their, True North .
The process combines the power of the CCS Cards for tapping tacit knowledge, by-passing reason and tapping the emotions with the design thinking approach, from Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The process frees you from specifics and allows you to explore what matters most to you, what brings you joy (and what you want to avoid).
When you’re feeling fuzzy and uncertain, taking a moment to step back, reassess and firm up your direction, can be a very empowering move!