CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Archive for the ‘Career Coaching’ Category

Crossing the Threshold

Monday, May 16th, 2011

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkein

I’ve talked about receiving a call, but once you’ve received it there is always the first step. Not that that first step is easy at all. Once you’ve accepted the call to action, you have to get out of your comfortable space and cross your threshold into the wild beyond.

That first step requires a lot from you. Not only are you leaving behind (at least some of) the comfort of your former life, but you’re treading into the unknown. You don’t know if the maps you’ve drawn or picked up are correct, current or even relevant to your journey. You don’t know if your provisions will get you to your destination. And in that crucial first step you’ve left behind any support not carried or travelling with you.

But this is how an adventure starts! This is how your adventure starts!

The heroes and heroines of legend receive all manner of help at this point. A mirrored shield for facing Medusa, magic swords and instruments, guardians or guides for the road, even a lock of hair from a loved one become talismans to carry forward and help in times of need.

While they might not have the supernatural abilities of their mythological counterparts, coaches and mentors like (shameless plug) CareerSherpas can help you make that transition and offer support in the face of obstacles. Friends or family who have been successful professionally, former and current bosses and others who work in your fields are all great places to find support too. With the right support even the most perilous of opportunities can be smoothed out.

Need help with that first step or any other point in your journey? Contact us!

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Receiving the Call to Adventure!

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Most people don’t immediately think of their jobs, current projects or stages in their career as an adventure. In general, they’re missing out. If you miss the intrinsic value of what you do and keep the blinders on you miss so many of the possibilities spread out in front of you.

A few posts back I described the concept of the hero’s journey, so now I’d like begin to look at the first stage in the cycle: The Departure.

The Departure is made up of a collection of steps, each leading along the journey’s path. But for today I’m going to focus on the first two:

  1. The Call to Adventure – Where our heroine receives a (sometimes unwelcome) call to set out on the journey. This is often followed by…
  2. A Refusal of the Call – Usually characterized by “Who me?”, “Why should I risk my neck to do that?” and “I can’t do that!”

The call to adventure in life comes in so many forms it’s probably impossible to list all the possibilities. It could be an opportunity to take on a new role or learn (possibly the hard way) a new skill. It could be the pressures of a negative boss or the opportunity to slow down from a hectic pace.

Whatever the call, it’s reasonable to expect that it won’t be entirely welcome or without risk. Naturally we’re all ready to question or even downright refuse a difficult change in our lives. Why shouldn’t we? Change can be hard, scary, painful and jarring. Who wants that?

The reality is that unlike the literary or mythological varieties, the calls in our lives may not be opportunities we get to accept at a later time. Projects get assigned elsewhere, positions get filled and not recognizing the time to leave a situation can burn us out or have us removed in a more negative way than if we made the choice ourselves.

Opportunities need to be evaluated calmly, objectively and with as much information to hand as we can get. Our natural reaction may be to reject the changes out of hand, but we might need to offer ourselves a second chance by taking a pause before answering. Who knows what lies around the bend in the road?

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Will You be Loved, Feared or Hated?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

“Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?” – Nicollo Machiavelli, The Prince

That Machiavelli guy was onto something right? He must have been, otherwise we wouldn’t still be reading what he wrote hundreds of years later and finding new nuances in his work. From a Machiavellian point of view, fear and love are the important options to be courted while avoiding making people hate you.

A recent article by Joey Strawn called “Everybody Likes You, Too Bad You Still Suck” made me think hard about Machiavelli and offers an interesting counterpoint. In the age of the “Long Tail”, lowered barriers to starting businesses and advancing careers, and the democratization of access to pretty much everything, Strawn argues that being hated by some is actually a sign of success if a larger group love you.

We’re all human and we want to be liked. Realizing that not everybody will like you, it’s still important that those people involved in your success are positive toward you. Ideally you want them to love what you do for them. Strawn’s prescient observation that this will likely make someone hate you for it is an important reality.

There’s some truth to be had in both perspectives, but there’s a strategy decision involved that you have to make for yourself depending on circumstances. Your decision has to take into account what you’re comfortable with (can you stand some people really hating you) and who you’re responsible to (what will your boss support you on).

More and more we’re all looked at to be leaders to succeed. How are you going to lead?

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.