Some time ago when I lived inland, I became fascinated with whales and yearned to live close to them. Nearly a decade later that dream came to life. Somewhere in those 10 years, the aspiration got buried under a thousand to-dos and daily priorities.
When it comes to your career, what is happening to your desires?
What I have now come to realize is how easily a dream gets buried and how much time can pass before the dream re-emerges.
This weekend, two friends and I travelled to Telegraph Cove, a waterfront village at the entrance to Johnstone Strait and home to the one of the most predictable places to see orcas in the wild. I was reminded of a book I read in the late 90s called Among Whales by Roger Payne. The author is a field biologist who studies whale behaviour and why they do what they do.
He says, “For I believe that the principal gift that whales offer humanity is that they are the only animals that can impress us enough to persuade us to change our minds about the importance of the wild world.”
What we forget is that we are part of the wild world and how important it is for us to keep in touch with our wildness.
Whales remind us of life so much bigger than we know. They have existed on this planet for approximately 50 million years. That is some perspective. A perspective that is too often absent from daily life.
One of the most challenging dilemmas of western culture is how much time is caught up taking care of business. Too frequently a day, a week or a month passes without being in touch with our dreams.
Like whales, dreams lie below the surface and arise from time to time. It is the immensity that can be both exciting and daunting.
When it comes to your career ambitions, there is no need to navigate the exploration on your own.
This is where a career coach can be your strongest ally. Here are 5 reasons why you may need a career coach in your life:
Honing in on your career dreams
My work is all about helping people find their lifework. The definition of lifework is the principal work a person has in their lifetime; this is where we step into the ring – with dedication, creativity, enthusiasm and wholeheartedness.
What a career coach does is help you get clear about what it is you want to do with this “one wild and precious life,” as Mary Oliver has asked.
Your work dreams will manifest faster
Finding your dream job is not easy. (For those who always knew what they wanted to do, you are the inspiration!) If it was easy, you would have done it already.
What a career coach does is put the focus in the right direction. On you! What a career coach understands is to be happy in your work, you need to know what makes you happy. Another way to think of happy is energized and engaged.
Figuring what energizes you is the foundation. Build a strong foundation and what comes after is strong.
The focus career coaching brings will get you on your true path in a timeliness that is difficult to do on your own.
The discouragement factor will be decreased immensely
Opinions are rampant about the best direction to take for a career. Suggestions like, “go into healthcare, you will always get a job,” “you will never get a job doing (fill in the blank),” or “you can’t go wrong if you go into the trades.”
What if those ideas don’t work for you?
I have seen clients so deflated after hearing others’ ideas or embarking in a direction that leaves them cold.
What a career coach does is encourage you to look at many possibilities (there is not only one career for a person) and understand your choices. What they can help with, too, is narrowing the focus in the right way so it isn’t overwhelming.
Keeping you on track
When I was in between careers, I read books, hired a career coach and attended career exploration courses. The in-person assistance was full of ideas and inspiration far exceeding what I found doing it on my own.
My own career coach kept me focused with meeting times where I had a deadline for reflection and completing assignments.
Conversations with a career coach keep you focused and moving towards the overall goal.
Get a personalized approach
What a career coach does is listen to you, asks the right questions to help you better understand yourself and pinpoint what works best for you. They will notice themes and patterns, helping you to see where you can offer your best. They help you answer the question, “what will work best for me?”
They will also help you:
- Identify your particular strengths
- Gain a vision of what you want at this time in your life
- Know what motivates you
Getting engaged with your life
In a world where your daily activities are directed towards an organization’s goals, it is easy to understand how your dreams and aspirations are abandoned. Is the work that you are doing in alignment with where it is that you want to go?
A career coach helps you get in touch with what engages you in the right way. The work you do with a career coach generates a good picture of your gifts and talents and then where you can put them to the best use.
The result is you being fully engaged in your life, once described by a client as “in the driver’s seat.” The bonus is what you emit into the world is confidence and competence, highly attractive attributes to employers.
Confidence is something you create within yourself by believing in who you are.
When I think of whales and their mighty presence, I think of their compelling songs. What biologists have observed is the complexity and elaborateness of their communication. There is a whole world known only because of scientists’ recordings.
I am reminded of wildness, the innate part of you that is the signature of who you are and helps you understand where you belong in the world. And how do you get to know that part of yourself? There is an important lesson (at least one!) whales have to teach – by listening carefully to yourself, you tap into your dreams.