I’m reading a fantastic book this week. Search by Bruce Feiler. This book explains why so many of us grow dissatisfied or apathetic with our work every few years. It debunks following your bliss and offers practical ways to find meaningful work in the new economy.
Bruce’s stance on how our personal histories intersect with our work aligns with my coaching approach.
We both believe that leadership is the sum of all of our life experiences. There is little separation of our personal and professional existence. At least not in our brains.
Bruce encourages readers to reflect on our childhoods to better understand how our lives impact our work.
He asks: “What did you learn from your parents about work?”
I’ve been giving this some thought.
My father showed me that work was hard and success was unpredictable, often unreachable. His professional life was a string of ‘if only’ and ‘almosts.’ If felt like we were precariously seated on the edge of calamity one day and riches the next. I dare say that for much of my childhood I believed my father had been cheated out of his destiny.
From my mother, I learned that work was for men. That children got in the way of female professional accomplishment.
So yes, I went to therapy.
But I also learned that you can have many careers in a lifetime. My dad was in the Navy, worked for the Dept. of Agriculture, sold cars, built houses, and now earns a living day trading on the stock market.
I learned that bankruptcy wasn’t the end and that if no one else will hire you, you can always work for yourself.
I have leaned on the positive work lessons as I’ve shaped my career. I have been an auditor, CPA, CFO, Sales Manager, Real Estate Investor, Yoga Teacher and Business Owner. That’s a lot of pivots in a 20 year career.
Definitely not a linear progression.
In the book Search, Bruce explains why we pivot and how to pivot effectively. He shares the work stories of people who turned disaster into gold….and then sometimes back into disaster.
If you are in the middle of what he calls a “work-quake,’’ this book is worth your time.
If offers thought provoking ways to both reignite the passion for your current role or to find a new direction.
I’ll be adding “what did you learn from your parents about work’’ to my coaching toolbox.
I look forward to helping you to finding meaning in the answers.
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Emerging Leaders Coaching
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