Stuck in a Career? Try This
by Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
understand the concept of a career wall. You want to escape your career
but something stands in the way. It may not be tangible but it is very
real. You may even imagine a solid wall with guard towers and barbed wire.
To obtain career freedom, you must get to the other side of that wall.
In this article, I will share examples of walls and an exercise to help
you begin your own journey to career freedom.
Here are some examples of career walls:
Gary's wall was confusion. Gary had worked for a small arts foundation,
running a profitable educational program. "I've been here twenty
years," he said. "I am ready to move on. We just got a new director,
for the third time in ten years. I want to leave but have no idea what
to do next."
Kevin's wall was made of paper. He wanted to work in the US but lacked
a green card.
Anne was exhausted from her corporate job because she felt her values
conflicted with those of the corporate world in general and her firm in
particular. Her wall was her family. They needed her income and she was
afraid of taking a risk.
The metaphor of tunneling under the wall comes from a wonderful book
by Julia Cameron, Supplies:
A Pilot's Guide to Creative Flight. Cameron reminds us of
the lessons we can learn from watching prison movies. People who escape
tunnel under the wall. She compares their success to small dogs that dig
under fences, one paw at a time till a large hole appears. Nobody notices
but one day you're gone.
To pursue the image of the wall, you may want to borrow a video copy of
the movie, The Shawshank Redemption. That movie is a metaphor for
escape from any situation where you feel trapped. After you've settled
into a corporation for many years, you find your values changing and you
want to leave. Maybe you never wanted to be there in the first place and
you realize you'll never belong.
Your wall may not be a prison wall. Here is an exercise to begin your
own journey to career freedom:
Step 1. Get into a relaxed state and conjure up an image of career
freedom. Try not to be too literal. You are not using creative visualization.
You are trying to understand the meaning of freedom. Rather than imagining
yourself presiding over a meeting, let images come to mind freely. Here's
what others have suggested: "A bird soaring over a mountain."
"Swimming in the ocean, basking in the sun, feeling warm and cared-for."
"Hugging someone and feeling close."
After you've spent time with the image, write down everything you can
about your emotions and feelings. Consider telling a story about the image,
as if you were not present.
Step 2. From a relaxed state, ask for an image of an obstacle that
bars you from career freedom. Again, keep yourself out of the picture.
Stay with the image. A logjam? A wall? "Caught in a tornado, totally
chaotic." "Bottom of a well and no way to get out." "Barbed
Step 3. Now imagine your obstacle going away. If you can't imagine
yourself destroying the obstacle, just imagine the obstacle in a state
of destruction or disappearance. Is it broken or smashed? Has it stopped
by itself? Did you do something creative to make it go away?
How did you feel when the obstacle went away? Relieved? Scared? Confused?
If you repeat these exercises, you will gain an understanding of your
own resistance and your own wall. You may find your obstacle changing
to something more fearsome or more manageable. As you metaphorically clear
away obstacles, you may find yourself moving to freedom in your own life,
or understanding what keeps you trapped behind walls.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and coach. She helps clients
who want to move to career freedom and develop their intuitive style as
they progress through life transitions. To subscribe to her free ezine,
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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When I started doing the research for this book, I knew that my own experience as a Portfolio Careerist (having more than one career at the same time) wasn’t going to be enough.
After all, those of us who love and maintain Portfolio Careers also love the variety and thrive on doing things our own way. So, I put out a call to those I knew have or have had Portfolio Careers and would be willing to answer a series of questions.
Thirteen Portfolio Careerists answered my call, so you will get the full story
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