Escape member Anna took a three-month sabbatical earlier this year to travel alone across South America and last month left her job at a multinational corporation in Geneva. She’s just moved back to London and is looking for her next adventure. You can follow her at @annaselundberg and on her blog annaselundberg.com. Here, she writes about our event earlier this week with Charly Cox. (Upcoming events listed here.)
Perhaps the most inspiring part of Charly’s talk last night was her own personal story. Now a coach, she’s been through very different roles and experiences to get here. In fact, when faced with the first opportunity that would put her on a new path, she hesitated:
“It’s good, but it’s not THE one.”
“No, but it’s A one.”
The first lesson, then, was not to over-think things. Be open to opportunities that come along. It may not be the perfect job that ticks every single one of your boxes, but a step in the right direction might be just what you need.
Escape’s own Adele compared this aspect of job seeking to dating: you’re most likely to meet someone when you least expect it, so stay open to opportunities but don’t imagine that you’ll know your soul mate on the first date. (I must confess to this tendency of dreaming of the perfect match – maybe that’s why I’m still single.)
Past, present and future
In a first exercise, Charly had us look back at where we were three years, one year, six months, a week ago; and to look ahead to tomorrow, one week from now, one month…
Some of us noticed how much has happened and how small steps can be transformative over time, which is incredibly encouraging when you want to make big changes going forward.
Others recognised that things have not changed as they would have wanted and (hopefully) resolved to make sure that the future will be different.
I have a dream
In the second exercise, we were asked to face the stranger next to us and introduce ourselves: “Hi, my name is Anna, and my dream is…” The energy in the room exploded as everyone launched into this seemingly simple exercise.
Saying the dream out loud to someone makes it real. There’s also an element of the law of attraction: once it’s out there, once you’re clear on what you want, the universe will conspire to make it happen, as Charly quoted from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
For many of us, though, the problem is that we don’t yet know our Dream. Well, helping each of us identify that dream was hardly within the scope of the evening, but Charly did offer this advice to find a more fulfilling job: start with your values.
Look back over your previous roles and think about what attracted you to them at the start, what are the aspects that you enjoy and why.
Personal values that include creativity, curiosity and flexibility may lead you to a very different set of opportunities than if you rather value comfort and stability.
Making the leap
So, if you have identified your dream, or at least A dream, what can you do to support yourself in making the necessary changes?
Charly gave a few pointers:
- Prepare emotionally: Changing industry, moving to a new country, starting over – these are big decisions, with big consequences. Charly argued the importance of preparing both the departure and the arrival in terms of how you’ll feel; the logistics will follow.
- Find your tribe: Your family and friends, though well intentioned, may not be the most objective or encouraging when it comes to the changes you want to make. Reach out to people, join groups, take classes. If you want to make documentaries, talk to people who are already making documentaries. That’s the best way to learn and be inspired, and to silence those pesky saboteur voices in your head that otherwise hold you back.
- Consider getting a coach: Well, you can’t expect someone to give a talk without just a little bit of self-promotion! A coach can guide you to find the answer within yourself, and then hold you accountable as you go ahead and make the changes you’ve identified.
So, my key next steps from the evening with Charly: be more open to different possibilities (in work and in love!), silence those saboteur voices in my head, and in the meantime go out and “find my tribe”.
I feel I’m already one step on the way, having met like-minded people at this, my first event with Escape the City.
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