When I began my training as a Career Coach, my coaching mentor told us that the key in finding your ideal career is to look back at your childhood. What did you love to do? What filled you with joy? It’s a question that I’ve attempted to answer and one that I asked my clients often. However, it is has was never easy for my clients, or myself, to answer. It’s not that there weren’t things we loved to do as children, it’s just that over the years it has become increasingly difficult to recall them. Years of work related stress and conformity have melted those memories into tiny drips. When you thought about it, it probably sounded like this: dancing, writing, playing, sports… so what do I do with that?
I had fallen into this small drip thinking, and therefore found the exercise of looking back into my childhood kind of dry and ineffective. Until one day I realized that you had to re-experience it, not just think about it. It works best when you actually hold it in your hands. It happened to me in quite a peculiar way. An old box that had been sitting in my parent’s basement, then my garage for years, suddenly re-surfaced. There was oil leaking in the corner of our garage and my husband began clearing out everything that was around it. In that corner, sat an oil-stained box with my poetry from high school and my journal from college. It also contained my music books and my most treasured stories. Reading, touching, and spending time with these items made me realize just how far I had stepped away from who I was. It was like meeting an old friend again, but feeling it like it was the first time you met. It became crystal clear which parts of my life were working and which one weren’t. Where I had strayed too far away and what direction I now needed to go.
Take some time to spend with the younger you. Recover a past journal or piece of artwork. Play with who you were and it will reveal tons about who you want to be. It doesn’t mean you will drop your goal of becoming an investment banker and paint all day. It is simply a way to open yourself up to every part of you. It may actually show you why being an investment banker is the best path for you and who you were meant to be. It may remind you of unused talents that could help you in your job search or career. Give yourself time to explore, see excites you, and allow the ideas to form. In his book “A Whole New Mind” Daniel Pink discusses how people who learn to use their right brain ideas will be the most successful in the new economy. He discusses the notion of “play” as a way to stimulate your mind. We all have right brain capabilities; it’s a matter of tapping into them and then letting your left-brain do all the logistical work. If you follow your natural instincts and relax into finding your ideal job; you’ll notice that your career path will start to lay itself out before you.