CAREER CHANGE COMMANDMENT #4: THOU SHALT BUILD A TRIBE
Transitions are scary. The are filled with uncertainty and risk which can really send our mammalian brain into overdrive. It takes a good amount of self-regulation to stay grounded and persist in making one decision in the dark after another as you carve your path to your next resting point. But since you are a company of one in the market place (see Commandment 1: Thou shalt not tell your boss”), then you need to find your tribe - a little one and a big one – as you step out into the big unknown. By the way, did you think you were alone in the big unknown?... Career transitions are a classroom in the school of life Some would argue that life is perpetual change and that we’ve forgotten what it means to live in true uncertainty, the way our ancestors lived, not knowing whether there will be enough food to get through the winter or that you will return safely from the hunt. You are safe However, while career transitions may seem life threatening, they are not. The sense of danger, panic and anxiety is a product of our ancestral past in dealing with the unknown. If you live in Western society, it’s highly unlikely that you will die of starvation or mauled by a tiger. I discuss how to deal with uncertainty like entrepreneur in a previous blog. How to tell your brain that you’re safe and feed your soul One way we human beings have dealt with uncertainty is in moving in packs, forming tribes and building agricultural and then urban communities that eventually became cities. It gave us the safety to survive, multiply and create. So an effective way of moving through a career transformation is to find a pack or tribe – a group of people who will witness, facilitate and support your journey. Pamela Mitchell talks about the Career Reinvention Board which is based on this principle. In Buddhism, the sangha or spiritual community is one of the roads to enlightenment- it’s a refuge that can provide support and inspiration on the path. From a psychological perspective, we tend to resist consciously changing habits but the process can be catalysed by kind, supportive and challenging voices that help us to drop the old habits and adopt any new ones (including careers which you might see as clusters of habits!) How to pick your tribe We tend to have people around us naturally who support us in our endeavours. If you’re lucky to have all the support and information you need, then you don’t need to read this. If you’re wondering how to make your career change in the wisest way possible, it’s important to think of yourself as the CEO of your own company or a leader in your own world – reclaim your agency and self-ownership as you find the best way to make your contribution to the world. A simple approach is to pick people that you: 1) trust; and 2) will challenge you when necessary especially when you start making excuses that hold you back. Most of us focus on how we can get information or favours from others that can help us along and that we might pay back at a later date. This is the most basic level of a tribal relationship. However, it’s as or even more important to consider the psychological and emotional support needed as we take steps in a direction that feels risky. Learning collectively at these deeper levels creates the most nurturing sense of connection and safety. A bit more about the importance of the tribe in the video below from Russell Square, London.
The deeper meaning of it all Finding those who can help us evolve as a person along the way takes the career change process to a higher level that makes the process valuable in itself. It’s especially important for those of you who feel called to do something different and go against the grain. The world needs that thing that is budding inside you and a group of people is waiting to join you on the adventure. Stay open, face your fears and use your intuition (rather than just self-serving logic) to pick your career transformation companions. Then, practise the art of belonging. Our culture is so toxic in the way it pushes us into being busy, busy, busy that we become totally disconnected from our deeper experience and that of others. As a result, we feel lonely and experience a lack of belonging because we are alienated from our own bodies, each other and the earth. Practising connection during vulnerable times (e.g. times of change) can help to provide inspiration and support but also profound awakening to our human capacity to connect deeply.
News 1: Come to the TATE Exchange's Democratic Food Table event. I'll be speaking on “Food is a reflection of our cultural, historical and political economy values. How does the way we produce and distribute food affect the way we eat and socialise?” Come along and tell us about what you eat...! Details here.
News 2: I facilitated a Dine and Coach event for mums considering their next career steps, hosted by my friend and business innovator Aurore Martial. It inspired me to start putting together a programme to facilitate career transition for women in this stage of life. Watch this space for further information! It’s planned to start in January 2017.
If you have any reflections, please, share them in the Wise Wednesdays Facebook group. Until next week. Amina Find out more at www.doctoramina.com. Do you feel stuck in your career? Are you ready for your next level of greatness in your career and life? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a life changing conversation.