How I ended my career and strengthened my vocation [Wise Wednesdays]
During the pandemic, some people asked me: do you miss working as a doctor or in public health?
It can be a little awkward because I loved my career as a doctor and public health advisor to governments. I worked very hard in my career. But at some point, I had to face the reality that it didn’t fit anymore. And the truth is I’m happy with what I’m doing now.
My vocation has always been around helping others – service – but also doing it in a way that’s aligned with my strengths and passion. And these can evolve and change over time.
Trusting your own evolution so that your career is an expression of your vocation and not the other way around is an act of courage.
Here are 3 types of trust that can help you let go of your current career while strengthening your vocation:
1) Trust in the impossible:
When you have a vision of a new life or career during a meditation or powerful coaching conversation, the vision can last a few moments. It’s as if the curtain is pulled back and you get a glimpse of the future. But afterwards, your current reality returns and doubt can set in. Your vision will always appear impossible from where you currently stand. Having a coach and supportive community to help you hold the vision is a powerful catalyst for aligned action.
2) Trust in yourself:
One of the most important insights I had in the run up to my career shift was in a conversation with my coach at the time: that my ultimate security and safety lie within me. I realised that what I had achieved in my life was linked to capacities I already had within me and that these were a more reliable source of safety than any job or career. You see, a part of you already knows what’s right for you and how to get there.
3) Trust in a mysterious order:
While chaos is part of life and of how this universe operates, so are order and patterns. Some patterns are meant to be overcome and others are meant to unfold. Seeds of potential exist within you and all around you that are meant to unfold over time if given the right conditions. Being patient and acting on your intuitive nudges will reveal them and you will see a beautiful pattern as you look back.
When you’re coming to a big decision that involves leaving a career or life, it can seem as though you’re inviting chaos and destruction and that you’ll end up alone and abandoned to the wolves! This is just fear speaking. It’s just the ancestral, primal fears that developed over millennia because leaving your tribe used to be a survival issue. But in modern society, basic needs are much easier to meet. So we have a chance to evolve further and discover more of our human potential.
I haven’t worked with a single client who didn’t think that the bigger vision of what they wanted in life was impossible. But as they kept taking small, courageous steps aligned with their vision, the journey unfolded. Then comes the day when they wake up and realise that they’re living the life they envisaged.
So if you have a vision that keeps speaking to you quietly – even if it’s been years since you took it seriously – don’t let it die. As 2022 approaches, reconnect with your vision for your contribution in this world – your vocation - even if it feels like you’ll be wasting the work you’ve put into your current career.
As Adam Grant puts it “If you’re considering a career change but worried about taking a step backward, remember this: it’s better to lose the past two years of progress than to waste the next 20.”
So trust yourself. What’s your true vocation?
Reach out if I can help.
Have a great week,
p.s. I’ll be offering a session on how to Navigate Career Uncertainty Like an Entrepreneur at the Lancet-NIHR UK Conference on Public Health Science next week. If you’re a researcher or know someone who is passionate about population health research and would also like insights into developing a research career in public health, the details and registration are here.
Plus… Do you want to bring your bigger career vision to life and inspire others?
Your journey starts and continues with your next step…
If 5 or more of the following questions are true for you, then read on for your next leap:
1) Integrity and authenticity. You’re known for being honest and perhaps even direct. People can count on you for your incisive contributions. YES/NO
2) Fearlessness. You’ve done courageous things in your life. You can take a risk without the idea of failure paralysing you. YES/NO
3) Intuition. You see patterns that others can’t. You’re willing to trust your intuition even if it guides you outside the conventional track. YES/NO.
4) Empathy and kindness. You know what’s needed in a situation before others do. You even know what others need before they know it themselves. Some say you’re a rescuer…YES/NO
5) Presence. When you’re in the room, people feel calmer and better. Perhaps they open up to you spontaneously. You show up powerfully when needed and this gives you transformational impact. YES/NO
6) Vision. You have a sense of how the world could be without so much fear and confusion. You’re willing to commit to a powerful mission. YES/NO
7) Bias for action. You’re not just a dreamer with a vision. You know how to get things done. When you’re on fire, you’re unstoppable. YES/NO
Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you create the career, leadership impact and life you truly want:
Get a free chapter from The Success Trap book on the distinction between being goal-driven and living from creative cycles, overcoming goal-setting fatigue, cultivating flow and the 6 Rs of creating a new career [Open PDF].
Find out more about Presence Power Possibility my 6-month transformational coaching group and mastermind and get the best of both 1:1 and group support.
Explore what it would be like to work 1:1 with me. I coach a small number of people to offer a deep, highly personalised coaching process to help reclaim your happiness, rediscover your power and create the career, impact and life you truly want.