Have you ever wanted to do something but the noise around you said that you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t. The noise around you brings to realization the skills and abilities you don’t have and how you can’t accomplish something that means a lot to you. Slowly, there is a cavernous leap, that becomes wider and wider, that is created from where you are and where you would like to be. Time to pack your bags and find a new adventure!
Years ago, I encountered this issue. I was working in a corporate position which was a crown corporation for a number of years. It was safe and straight forward work. I would go in, get my work done, and at the end of the day, go home. Pretty simple but not satisfying. My realization was that I could do this work but it was not what I should be doing. Instead of just thinking about it, I decided to do something about it. I felt that there was something else out there that was more meaningful…but what would that be? I decided that there were three options:
• I could stay and just keep doing the work I was doing day in and day out
• I could move to a human resources position with little or no experience because that was my academic background
• I could go into this one area which I knew little about but sounded interesting called road safety
I realized that the first option was a no go and it was going to be HR or road safety. I spoke to the HR department and they said there were no opportunities at this time but they would keep me in mind for an entry level position. For road safety, I really did not know much about this space and people told me that I was wasting my time because it is a difficult area to get into and not a lot of people are hired from within, they are usually hired from outside and with considerable community relations experience.
OK, so I know what I don’t have. I did not have the community relations experience or any idea what the area of road safety involved. But what do I have? What I have is the need to be curious and learn about the position. As a result, I phoned the local road safety person and before I knew it, I was supporting him at an event. Eventually, I did more and more events and volunteering here and there. I started putting it to the world that I was interested in getting into road safety and created this presence. Eventually, it became obvious what I was working towards and the office manager said that he had seen the work I was doing outside of the office and if I could bring that into the office setting and create a community relations program. All of this was great and slowly I gained more and more confidence and support.
After 8 months of doing a lot of extra work, I applied for a road safety job and I did not get it. All of a sudden, the noise became louder and louder that I was not going to get a position in road safety and maybe I needed to take this as a hint. This was not from the road safety area but co-workers in the office. Well, I was not going to let anyone stand in my way and I carried on. Eventually, after 1 ½ years of doing extra work and working towards something I set as a goal, I finally got hired as a road safety coordinator. All of a sudden, everyone started asking me how I got in to the field. They wanted to know how someone with no experience in the field was able to crack into an area that was very difficult. What they did not see was the day to day dedication and unwavering commitment to do something. I did not say to myself that I was not experienced. Instead, I asked myself ‘what do I need to do to gain the experience?’ I knew that this was not going to be a short journey but rather a marathon.
This has not been the first time in my life and career that I was able to get into a position with no initial experience or that I was able to set my sites on something and accomplish it. How does this happen?
• Disrupt the cycle – If you are going into the office and doing the same thing every day and it is not satisfying, then it is time to disrupt the cycle. Have a conversation with yourself about what you are doing and does it line up with what you want to be doing. This is the point where you make a commitment to yourself that it is time for a change. Don’t just say it, start acting on it!
• Establish a plan – Decide what you need to do and how you might start focusing on a path to get the direction and focus established. Who do you need to talk to, what additional experiences do you need to consider and how might you accomplish all this.
• Ask yourself why – Take the time to really understand who you are and decide what is it about your present work that is making you look for a change. We don’t really understand who we are and if you don’t know who you are, then how do you decide what to do. I have always shared the five core elements exercise. What are the five core elements that make up who you are? This is in a blog post – http://www.sam-thiara.com/blog/2014/12/06/five-words/
• Investigate – There is a need to look into a pathway and start asking others how they got into the field. Do your homework and see what they have done, what they like about the position, challenges and what do you need to move forward. There are many people just waiting for you to ask them for help and they are willing to help.
• Do a personal assessment of what you have – We know what we don’t have but how about seeing what you have and if you feel you are lacking, what do you need to then build on those experiences. Instead of thinking of all the things you lack, it takes time to establish credibility.
• Make your plans known – You don’t need climb on top of a desk and make an announcement of your intentions but instead, have conversations with key people in your organization so they are aware of your intentions. A good manager will do what they can to support you in your journey. The more people are aware of your actions and intentions, the more they can support you.
• Be patient – This is probably the most difficult part. We want instant gratification and if we don’t realize something shortly after we begin, we might throw our hands up in the air and decide that we aren’t going to accomplish our dreams. The dreams are out there and the longer you stick to it and work hard at it, the greater the chance that you will accomplish what you need to do.
OK, so after all this, what would you like to do? How can you do this? What are you really meant to be doing? Check out GradusOne and their StepUp program – StepUp Program or the Rotary May 13th Young Professional’s Summit – Young Professional Summit
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