Career Transition & The Process of Change: Pt 1: Waking Up
When Dr. M reached out to me, she had been going to work at the same place for 15 years unbothered.Then one day she woke up and thought, "what am I doing with my life and my career"?As she contemplated her career, she realized that she had given up on her dream of having a wellness center. She wanted to be able to spend time with her patients, connect with them, and coach them on how to live a healthier lifestyle. She had planned on doing more training in functional and integrative medicine, but of course life happened.Three children later, here she is… stuck on this hamster wheel to nowhere; going to work early, getting home late after a 22 patient day and feeling like she was making a fraction of the difference she could be making. Furthermore, her dissatisfaction was making her unpalatable at home. She was snappier at the kids, neglecting her husband, and not connecting or doing the things she feels are important to her.So, on this day to work, as she walked into her building dreading the day, she said to herself "something's got to change"…. And then she saw the webinar.She knew what she had to do.
This is not an uncommon scenario, in fact I speak to Dr. Mommies daily with very similar stories.They are going about their lives seemingly "fine" for years then like an anvil dropping on Wiley Coyote's head, something hits them.Perhaps it's something their boss says, or an interaction with staff.Maybe it was that one final straw breaking the camels back that has them re-evaluate everything they've been doing.What has happened? They have awakened to unworkability. They have gone from pre-contemplation to a contemplative state… from asleep to awake.
Waking up to unworkability can be painful at first.It's like waking up to a Charlie horse to the leg.At first you are like "WTF!!" Then, you scatter around not knowing what to do but knowing you must get rid of this pain.You do research, join groups, even talk about it with your spouse or close colleagues/friends. However, the problem arises when you realize you are not ready to actually make a move yet; you are not even in a position to do so without turning your life upside down. Then come all the fears, doubts, and "what if's".
This is pathognomonic of the stage of contemplation.In contemplation, you are waking up from a slumber of automaticity and seeing unworkability. Yet like yin to yang when you wake up to unworkability there is also the opportunity to also wake up to possibility.
So, how do you handle this stage where conflict arises as a result of your awakening?The first place to look is at what you want.What dreams have you deferred? What would you like your life to look like in an ideal world.This will point you in the direction of possibility and give you a vision on which to build a blueprint.Second, get someone else involved in your brainstorming process. This is a great place to consult a mentor, colleague and best of all a coach.From this place of vision, a mentor or coach can really help tease through things to help your vision become clear and move you to (and through) the next stage of change, preparation.
In the next article, I will cover the process inside of the stage preparation, and how to make navigating through this stage painless and effective.For now, contemplate where you are and what you want for your career and your life. Be specific and generous with your wanting.Many times we trade our dreams for skepticism and realism, thus making us give up on them before they even have a chance to blossom into anything more than passing thoughts.Allow yourself to go big in your wants and desires.You haven't spent all of these years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to just survive your career. You deserve to enjoy it.
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