By Gilly Weinstein, MS, PCC. Pia was perplexed. At 48 and in a highly visible role for a major multinational, she sensed her growing and learning curves had flattened. As with many things in life, the pandemic surfaced some unavoidable reckonings, including the reality that life was short, that she was bored, and that it was time to plot her next career move. So after 3 years of rebuffing headhunters, Pia accepted an offer to meet with a client company for a role whose description fit her to a tee. Her qualifications ticked every box, the scope felt squarely in her wheelhouse, and the headhunter was excited and hopeful that she was truly the ideal candidate.
After she met with the company — a C-suite member and a senior HR partner — Pia realized nothing they’d said or asked felt exciting. The interview went OK, she had answers, that was a no-brainer, and she had great questions (she’d prepared) but the blah-ness she felt that evening left her wondering: why did this shiny new role, that had her name all over it, produce such a profound sense of indifference?
Pia is a friend, not a client, and she reached out to ask my opinion. As coaches we are not hired to provide an opinion, as friends, we can let rip and opine away (read more about what professional coaches do).
What became clear as we spoke was that the lens through which Pia was contemplating her immediate career transition was obsolete. Throughout her life, when new jobs came up, her filters were: can I do this, will I be good at this, which boxes do I tick, is the package ok? I pointed out that, at this more advanced and frankly more senior stage in her career, she could filter out opportunities through a different lens and recommended she get some coaching.
If any of this resonates read on.
Here was my advice (as a friend!) to Pia.
Stop looking at the job opportunity (any one!) as merely a balance sheet of pros and cons. Look at it in terms of how it jacks up your alive-o-meter. When a new prospect energizes you, it doesn’t actually matter how many boxes you tick/don’t tick. Incidentally, most women err on the side of needing to tick all the description requirements before applying. But that’s a separate topic.
Some people are lucky enough to truly know what will boost or erode that feeling of aliveness. If that still feels murky, as it was for Pia, consider getting some coaching.
Over that same Zoom glass of wine, I explained that a professional coach would help Pia put her finger (and ideally a few words) on what has meaning for her, what her values are, where her passions lie. This in turn would help her see what would constitute a fulfilling choice.
This kind of exploration, in service of deepening our self-awareness, is hard to do alone in our own head, or even with a good friend (such as me) who will inevitably have some a-priories about you (not in a negative or ill-intended way), or some (often unconscious) agenda about what you should/shouldn’t do. Or even a conscious agenda for what they’d like you to be, or where they’d like to see you go.
This is one of the reasons such a personal exploration is worthwhile undertaking with an experienced, neutral, third party coach who will ask you questions to surface values, passions and personal priorities. The coaching should also surface the self-limiting stuff or unhelpful assumptions you may be harboring. By this I mean old, possibly obsolete beliefs that interfere with your ability to take bold steps with your career, beliefs that throw a wet towel on a muffled voice inside you that shouts “Just do it!”
Once your coach has helped you untangle yourself from limiting beliefs and find and name your values and priorities, you’ll be better equipped to know when a choice (like a new job opportunity) is right for YOU. Incidentally, that’s way more important than establishing if you are right for THEM.
One outcome of effective coaching is the ability to really know when our mind, heart and gut are aligned. It’s a state that grounds us in the face of what could otherwise be a challenging decision; it’s also a trait of effective leaders. Another benefit of this state is the Superpower it gives us: the effortless ability to confidently say NO or YES to any job or career opportunities.
For more about exploring your values and priorities, and working to eliminate self-limiting assumptions and behaviors, schedule a consultation with Gilly.