Heading in the "right" direction

Someone asked me ‘what’s your story’ the other day, it’s not the first time I’ve been asked and I’m sure it won’t be the last. And to tell the truth I love having those conversations with others, as everyone (no matter who they are) has surprises, experiences and gifts worth sharing. But I was challenged not so long ago to think more about the key learning/s you want to share as a result of your experiences rather than simply communicating the story, and it has certainly flavoured my thinking ever since. So today I share my story… well, one very small part of it but one with a lesson I’d love to share.

After returning from overseas in my 20s and completing post graduate study I took the first job offer that resembled the career I’d dreamt of. The truth was it only had a small portion of the work I loved but I happily dealt with the other 90% of the role. A couple of years went by, I resigned and was offered a role that had a good salary and some new challenges for me to explore, I was later headhunted for another role and from that point on there just seemed to be opportunity after opportunity and promotion after promotion. With every new career step, I was elated, overjoyed in fact, that I was valued and rewarded for my efforts.

I never really had to think about much in terms of a career plan because things just happened for me. Despite appearing to be ambitious and career focused I never really mapped out the path to where I wanted to be. The trajectory of my career growth was not conscious nor did I proactively manage it. Opportunities came and I simply said “Yes” and worked hard.

So where did it get me? Well it got me into a well-paying influential leadership role in the public sector, I had a strong network around me and was regarded well, I had 72 staff and perks, but no head-space and an over-burdened mind with things (upon reflection) that really didn’t matter, and with the things that did matter I was constantly trying to strategize how to socialise ideas in order to make them happen. All in all, I was exhausted, I wasn’t enjoying myself and I felt disconnected from the world around me.

I look back and the best way to explain it was that I had climbed the career ladder but when I got to the top runs I realised the ladder was propped against the wrong house and in the distance stood my house (the place where my passion, value and knowledge so clearly sat) that my very own fit for purpose ladder leant against. I hadn’t chosen the wrong ladder I’d simply not ever taken the time to reflect on the climb and where I was going when others put opportunities in front of me.

Now from the rooftop of my own business (metaphorically) I can look back and say that climb (offered to me by all those great bosses) wasn’t wasted, it made me mentally strong, it increased my skills and resilience, it allowed me to explore the things I enjoyed and those things that I didn’t, and ultimately understand my passion). However, for over ten years I wasn’t mindful in my career choices and only now can I acknowledge that.

I’m far from a life coach or any of those other amazing support networks but one thing I know is - it pays to know the direction you’re going and the destination... it's a much nicer place to be.

So, what do I do now? I help organisations identify potential partners, map stakeholders and guide relationships where businesses can work with others to reach their goals quicker while maximising resources… And just as being mindful in your career is critical to your happiness, so too is the importance of being thoughtful in your stakeholder relationships when striving for business success.

If you are looking to grow your business through engagement and collaboration call me on 021 756074.

Amanda HemaComment