Women In Business

Pay attention to the career road signs

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We all come across career road signs in our drive to success ⎯ and similar signs in life. And often we don’t pay them the attention we should, and miss an important turn, staying on a road we should have left.

Those roads are something we map out for ourselves, even as children. I remember as a child having my life mapped out.  I planned to live in a certain house, have at least six children, become a surgeon, and live happily ever after with one of my favorite television characters who would be my knight in shining armor.  Although some of my desires did come to fruition, several things did not and I’m so glad of it!  I did get married, but to someone who has never been on television. And I am a mother, but of just one child ⎯ although many mothers know that a single child can seem to have the demands of six sometimes.  I didn’t become a surgeon, but I had the desire to help others and that is something I am so fortunate to do on a daily basis.

Each of us have moments in our lives when our thoughts don’t actually line up with our realities.  We are okay when we realize those dreams were not meant to be … but what happens when the things we wanted move in such a different direction than we hoped or predicted?  What if what we wanted doesn’t happen the way we wanted it to, or as we envisioned it happening?  It is easy to become frustrated and even disillusioned.  As women, it can be easy to believe we don’t have it in us or that we are too old to make things happen.  Others feel that when a door closes, we must kick it down as hard as we can ⎯ when the best things for us might actually be that door remaining closed.   Some of us live vicariously through our children or others in our lives, giving up on the desired dream while pushing others to go for theirs.

So often, we are determined to arrive at the destination that we fail to enjoy the travel.  We can get so distracted about the process and its ups and downs that we ignore the lessons of the journey.  Along the way, there are so many signs that can serve as guides to translate the experiences we need for our trip.  We can miss so much on the journey when we always ask about the expected time of arrival.

I remember at a previous job inviting a speaker to present to my clients.  I remember remarking about his brilliance and wondering why our paths never crossed.  He seemed to change the subject to ask me about the car I drove at that time.  I couldn’t understand the reason for the question but it was clear by the time we finished talking.  He asked if before I purchased my car I had noticed others with the same vehicle.  I told him no.  He then asked when I got the car was there a difference in what I noticed about the car.  I told him that when I considered purchasing the car, I didn’t see many on the road with the same car. But after I bought it, I saw so many cars like mine.  He reminded me that the cars had been there all the time—I just failed to see them.

I realized at that moment that there were possibly so many times I had signs available to me but in my quest to reach my destination, I didn’t see them.  I didn’t notice amazing people around me who were always there but I was too busy to even pay attention.  Our journeys have so many lessons for us to take with us while we travel to our destinations.  Don’t miss the signs you need to reach the goal.

Stop

Sometimes we fail to see that some situations, especially in business, require not only stillness but reflection.  How do you understand when it is time to stop, listen, and examine your next move?  When we plough through this sign, we can miss out on opportunities or even create a collision that injures us and others who are in close proximity.  Stopping isn’t a bad thing.  It can often serve as a life saver.

Yield/Give Way

There are times that require us to look both ways.  Are you proceeding with caution or even slowing down to evaluate the surroundings?  Slowing down doesn’t demand stopping completely but there are times  when we need to not move as fast and examine the scenery before we proceed.

Go

Life presents moments when we have no restrictions, we can press forward.  The problem arises when we move too fast not watching the signs for limits on our speed or boundaries we need to respect.  Our bodies tell us to slow down and in our quest for success, we keep going –ignoring the flashing lights.  You can move too fast and hit another moving object or an obstacle in the road that can prolong your arrival.  Even in those instances, there are lessons in the consequences.  We must be open to learn what life presents so we don’t continually repeat the course.

Detour

I know personally that this sign isn’t the most comfortable.  This one stretches and pulls my thinking in a different direction.  I have to find a new route.  It is especially frustrating when I have a plan and it is disrupted.  Detours are not the end of the world.  Some times in life and in business, we have to re-route our GPS and get new directions to a new path.  The new route might be shorter, faster or even longer.  Despite the setback in reaching our destination, we still arrive.  Don’t get overwhelmed on the way.  Detours are often a great time to see new sights and gain new experiences and allow us to tell others about the path we’ve taken as a preventive measure.

Life presents each of us signs.  Each sign is a teacher.  I am reminded of the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.”  Allow each sign to serve as a teacher on the journey.  Our focus can’t always be on the end result which is important but we must balance it with gleaning insights from the travel experience.

 

About Dr Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew is a PhD graduate from Antioch University in Leadership and Change and the National Director of Community Engagement for World Vision, US Programs. She provides coaching and training for individuals and organizations on social capital, relational leadership and identifying one’s Immunity to Change. For more information about the book or to purchase, please visit www.austinbrotherspublishing.com

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