A year ago I made the bold decision to find a better career fit. After months of risk analysis, discussions, reflection and sleepless nights I decided to step away from a successful career trading commodities and change direction. There were many factors that went into this decision, but in the end two goals emerged. First, to live life without regret, and second, to find that which aligns with my values and passions. Both sounded good during the discussion phase but I was unprepared for the outcome of this monumental decision. What I was about to learn wasn’t even on my radar. When I look back at my trek thus far there are two areas that stand out.
Networking is all the buzz these days, but here is a little secret. Very few people know how to do it. There is such confusion in how to become a master networker that there are even classes one can take to teach you the ins and outs. Most think it is about meeting people and exploring if there is a way they can help you get where you want to go. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Networking is about helping others. It is about being interested in someone else’s journey. It is about listening to where they have been and where they want to go, and then, unprompted, offering to help in any manner possible. It is about removing the focus from yourself and placing it on others.
As I went about my job search in the past months, finding a lead always brought an extra skip to my step. The thought that maybe “this is the one” would give an energy boost unlike anything else. Unfortunately the crash that occurred when it wasn’t “the one” was also unlike anything else. When I was able to focus on helping others (i.e. networking) and was able to help someone with a lead, a connection, or advice, a funny thing happened. I ended up with that same energy boost, but this time without the crash. I still had my own challenges and roadblocks, but helping someone take a step towards their goal became a better feeling than taking my own steps toward success.
Networking ushered in a whole new flux of people into my life. People I wouldn’t have normally met. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting each and every one of them. Here is what is amazing. They understand my plight and can empathize with my situation. They want to help. I consider some of them new-found friends. They challenge me, motivate me and are helping me grow. They are opening doors I never knew existed. They ask me questions that force a thought process. They direct me to places I didn’t know I need to go. This blog today is a result of my new connections. I always wanted to write, but for me there was a barrier to getting started. One of those connections offered me a platform, which led to exposure, which led to others who asked for more, and thus here I am blogging for another’s website.
Who Am I?
Transition, if you are in it long enough, forces self-evaluation. Time away from work has allowed me to distill the questions “who am I,” “what is my uncommon offering,” and “what gets me jazzed.” It is why some take sabbaticals. The more interaction I have with others, the more my story unfolds. The more my story unfolds the more defined I become. People who barely know me are able to share observations about things I do well. All of this information coupled with my past accomplishments went into the compilation of my resume. My resume has become so much more than a document of my accomplishments. It has become my brand. Yes, I have a brand and I know it well. I can now play to my strengths, exploit the things I do well, and determine which opportunity best aligns with my values and passions.
It’s about the Journey
It is often said that success is about the journey, not the destination. I second that. When I started this quest I was looking towards the destination of living a life without regret and finding the right career fit. It has been both fun and demoralizing depending upon the day. To be honest though, the one constant has been a year full of growth and learning. My take away thus far has been life altering. Transition changed my perspective. Transition will make me a more valuable employee. Transition taught me the value and rewards of helping others. Transition has taught me…about me.
Chris is known for communication, passion and the ability to inspire others into action. After 20 years in Business Development and Account Management across multiple industries, he decided to pursue a career that aligns with his passions for either Health/Wellness or Training/Development. In addition to searching full time for his new opportunity, he blogs at She Taxi and volunteers as a speaker for the American Heart Association. You can find Chris’s professional profile on LinkedIn.