Looking back on my career trajectory, I see a lot of meandering, but it wasn’t for naught. Every twist and turn prepared me for where I am today.
As a high school senior, my vision for the future was as good as a fog-covered windshield. I didn’t know what I wanted, so I ventured to choose Kirkwood’s information processing program. Nine months later, I graduated and stepped into the exciting and scary world of work. I did not have the same spring in my step as Mary Tyler Moore, but I was out there.
My early career took me to some exciting places–I was part of the first wave of information technology, and also helped to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act–but it wasn’t until I was a decade or so older and wiser before the fog lifted and I recognized my true purpose and passion.
An abrupt career shift
I was sixteen years into my career when it happened. I can remember pretty clearly, sitting on the couch thumbing through a magazine, when I came across an article about a new thing called coaching. I felt a visceral recognition that this was my calling even before I was halfway through the story. Coaching was something I had done my whole life except that I didn’t know that I was coaching. It was just something I did naturally, without even thinking about it. Every aspect of coaching was a reflection of my natural gifts and talents.
I knew then and there that I had to become a coach, so I enrolled in the
world’s first coaching school. I graduated and launched my business. Having done so, I realized there was one problem. Most people did not know what coaching was, and so I started educating them, one by one.
Coaching has definitely taken off, and so has my coaching career, but it wasn’t easy in those early days when no one knew what kinds of things a management and leadership coach could do. Back then, I had to keep my day job and work on my coaching in the evenings and on weekends. I was pushed and pulled in ways I never expected. I withheld certain comforts from myself to stay the course. And my commitment to doing the work that allows me to do the greatest good has been tested repeatedly.
Contrary to the thoughts of my younger, less experienced self, finding my life’s work did not straighten my path or make it easier to follow. There are still twists and turns that challenge me along the way, but I navigate them with a new kind of confidence and assurance.
My past prepared me for my present
We all have a purpose for being on the planet at this point in time. What is yours? What makes your heart sing? What do you want your life to say about how you spend your days? Purpose and influence are two sides of the same coin. Where are you being called to extend your influence?
You will not find answers to soul-searching questions like these in the nosiness of life or the isolation of a vacuum. Purpose and influence are discovered and delivered in community – One conversation at a time. One act at a time. And one thought at a time.
All roads lead somewhere. I believe mine has brought me here for such a time as this when leaders are facing incredibly hard times. Collectively, life’s prepared me to give leaders the mental and emotional support they need to meet the day, again and again, ready to lead, inspire, and support their staff to deliver high quality, compassionate service to the customers who count on them.
Where is your road leading you?