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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Walking in the forest of your career: practices to enjoy the adventure [Wise Wednesdays]

“I can’t see the wood for the trees”, said the Royal Air Force wing commander. She hired me as her coach to help her figure out the big question: what’s my next career move? So many options and so little guidance. And, yet, jobs for life are over. Why aren’t we taught how to navigate these complex decisions? Why aren’t we offered maps, a compass and basic orientation skills to walk the magnificent forest of our careers: its thickets, clearings and wild beasts. Perhaps we will be in the future. In the meantime, here are a few practices to try if you’re figuring out your journey: 1) Honour the past What are 3 majestic stones or rocks in your career that serve as powerful landmarks? E.g. I became a doctor; I worked in a warzone; I took a big career leap and found my way. I can always look back to these as events I’ve deliberately chosen as orientation landmarks. If you feel waves of self-doubt, they can only crash against your landmarks. What are your landmarks? 2) Name your ‘holy trinity’ What are 3 qualities that are constant in your being? E.g. I’m reliable, caring and direct. I’ve always been that way and, barring a lobotomy or some such, that’s unlikely to change. I can rest in these no matter where I am in the forest. They operate regardless of what’s going on. What’s your ‘holy trinity’? 3) Orient to the present What’s the one thing that requires your attention? E.g. for now, it’s just writing this message to you. I don’t need to worry about anything else until it’s done. Tomorrow, it’s an important conversation. Next week it’s showing up fully for a talk. There’s only ever one thing, one next step on your journey, despite what fear might tell you. And slowly, you look back and new landmarks appear that help guide your way. What’s the most important thing requiring your full attention at this time? The future is the fruit of your past investments. Where will you invest yourself today? Look back and celebrate the landmarks. Then continue walking one step at a time to the music in your heart. Have a great week, Amina

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