Find Your Way Forward By Looking Back

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A view of a sunset from a car's side mirror.

Some of my happiest moments working have been when I found myself in the zone.

I'm picturing myself as a server in a busy dining room during a weekend dinner rush. My body weaves between tables with the grace of a ballerina, checking on drinks, dropping off checks, pausing and squatting at eye-level for a second here and there to answer a question or drop a quick joke. I'm on autopilot. There's no time to think or worry. It's react, move, react, move. The restaurant floor is a chess board and by the end of the night I'm going to check-mate in a pool of sweat.

On the flip side, I hated being a bartender. It was all of the rush without escape. I got trapped in conversations with customers. I felt torn between caring for my people and making sure drinks were ready for the rest of the room. And when the rush ended, it was even worse. I would fiddle with things to look busy desperate for the clock to speed up.

It's been a long time since I've had either of these roles, but my likes and dislikes haven't changed. I love to feel fully absorbed in a project or person. I love to be moving and talking. I hate to feel confined by structure. I hate being the center of attention.

There's an exercise I do with clients to map these kinds of highs and lows. After we map them on paper, we parse each individual experience for the lessons it provides. For example:

  • What does this experience tell you about the environments you thrive in?
  • What kind of people (if any) you like to be around?
  • What activities fire you up?

I'm really excited to share that I've turned this exercise into an hour-long workshop. It's for folks who are considering a work or career change but aren't sure what they want to do next.

The fabulous organizers at Design Brew will be hosting this free, virtual event on Thursday, July 29.

If this sounds like just what you need, I'd love to see you there! And if you know someone who could benefit from this kind of exploration, pass it on.