I had one goal when I commenced my career in HR – become the Chief HR Officer of a multinational corporation. That would be the height of success, to lead a team and to lead strategy, to be seen as doing good.
About 5 years ago, I recognised that might not be aligned to who I was (and that I had no idea the complexity of that role). On reflection, potentially that was a career path I’d chosen was based in fear. I wasn’t enough, therefore my career would demonstrate that I was.
I had this moment, years ago. I was out on the town, living my early twenties life. I ran into a person who I’d gone on a date with with but to be honest, I was just focused on my career at that time, and it didn’t go anywhere. Anyway, this person had a couple of drinks in them, so when I reiterated that I was “just not looking for a commitment”, he responded with, “your masters degree won’t love you back” [ouch].
Thanks for the pep talk buddy, but he did have a point. I’d go on the learn that I needed to invest deeper in other domains of my life. While balancing my career goals.
Any-who where was I… oh yes…. I don’t recommend wrapping your identify your in your professional achievements. Professionally, you will have many set backs and while you will have agency over your response and influence outcomes, things may be out of your hands and politics and egos will in-fact, put you in your place sometimes. So if you are enmeshed too closely, your sense of self is built on shaky ground.
Trees don’t just grow one singular root into the ground. They have a network of options, giving them strength and stability.
Not to say career isn’t a worthy endeavour, I see it as a way to take responsibility, and cultivate your talents and character. However, the path I am exploring is how I straddle the accountability to my paid role, which I gain immense value from, with my desire to build something of my own.
The desire to pursue something of my own, comes from the place of wanting to see how far I can stretch my capability. To grow my thinking not just in concept, but in practice. I don’t have anything to prove, I’ve done that inner work, I want to live a life where I give things a red hot go – across my personal, professional domains.
I can swim comfortably in my backyard pool, or I can build my own boat and see if it’s sea worthy. Maybe I want to do both and that’s what I hope is possible.