Rick Jarow, author of Creating the Work You Love, introduced
many of us to the notion of career seasons. When we're struggling
with a career, we're most likely to think of winter. At some
point a career change (or other transition) feels like being
buried under a coat of ice, hibernating through long, dark
days. Hopefully we learn to see the beauty of winter -- sun
on the snow, clear air, the bare outlines of trees denied
their leafy cover-ups.
Spring gets promoted as a time of new beginnings -- and it's
a fragile season. Buds appear on trees, only to become leaves
in a matter of days. Cherry blossoms, forsythia, and daffodils
seem to last just long enough for us to learn their names.
Spring also brings energy. Here in New Mexico, we're blown
about by winds. The dog races around the park like a young
puppy and the cats spend hours bird-watching.
Spring can be harsh. Frost can crush the brand-new blossoms
and a sudden snow will take care of next summer's harvest.
And you can be fooled. Just when you think it's safe to shut
down your heating system, pack up your parka and begin a joyful
summer of shorts-and-a-tee, you get a cold day. The dog is
thrilled -- but you're not.
You probably see where I'm heading with this. Often clients
seek out my coaching services after a long, hard job search,
or a long dry period of seeking customers for a new business.
They've glimpsed a taste of success: a few nibbles to the
resume, a few customers who seemed happy but then disappeared.
They're really ready for summer.
Spring can be harder than winter. After slogging through
ice and snow, you're ready for warmth! I remember living in
cold climates -- Alaska, Connecticut, Manitoba -- when a gray,
cold spring seemed like the last straw. We deserve more!
Inevitably, we do move on because the earth turns and life
goes in cycles. Longer days bring more sunlight to fight the
frost. Icicles start dripping and then one day we notice they're
gone and a dandelion sprouts on the front lawn. At last!
Your experience of spring depends on where you lived up to
now -- literally and metaphorically. By midlife, some people
have experienced only summer. The first winter can be terrifying.
You don't own a parka and have no idea how to shop for one.
Boots? Gloves? Where do we start?
If you've been there before, it's easier to believe spring
is coming -- and you've learned some tricks to protect your
fragile new growth.
Need an extra boost to get through spring -- your own or
the season's? Talk to people who have been there. Find a coach
or counselor. Join a new group. Take the dog for an extra
long walk. Devise your own Spring Festival. And keep looking
for glimpses of summer every day -- even when you've had to
pull an extra sweater out of storage.
Exercise: I recommend keeping a record of spring. Write down
the changes you see -- and the dates. When do you first notice
a snowdrop or a dandelion? When does the ice start to melt?
How are you responding? How does this spring compare to the
last one? And put aside your record in a safe place -- to
read the next time spring comes around.
|Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and
speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast
move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com
or call 505-534-4294.