How to Reignite Your Life's Work in Uncertain Times
It's the summer of 2020 and your plans for changing careers or your job may be put on hold for the time being. After all, making a career change in the midst of a global pandemic might seem a bit too wild at first. The unemployment rate is currently at 14.7 percent—the highest since the Great Depression, and it's difficult enough when times are good to make a change.
Today, a pivot or reinvention change requires new habits, new skills and some formal assessment of your risk tolerance for change that impacts your job prospects and lifestyle. For leaders, the most important character traits include flexibility in times of uncertainty, and resilience. And, resilience is the key to reigniting your life's work or ability to spark a change or pivot.
There's lots of new research on this important and rising trait, from fields as diverse as leadership, positive psychology, sports psychology and mindfulness. So what does bouncing back really mean?
Bouncing back is a return to a state of wellbeing. It's just the beginning of adapting to what the present circumstances require, If you are resilient, it means that you are able to emotionally withstand the stress caused by changing circumstances and to regain your internal momentum to move forward as you choose.
Being resilient is a great quality that helps us overcome chaotic challenges in the economy, society and in our own families. It help us to build and implement change strategies and innovate for wellbeing. So, the big question is when you do bounce back, will you be well positioned to move forward with your whole self, with greater self-awareness and insights to cultivate a path forward? This is a new path unlike the road that brought you to this place today.
“Be the witness to your own thoughts. Choose courage over comfort in navigating a new path”
– Kelley Connors, MPH, Life Work Coach
I talked about resilience in my recent webinar “How to Reignite Your Life’s Work” to Boston University Alumni. At the end of the webinar I was asked a question I am always prepared for in my work. The gentleman asked, “I don’t see how this inner work will help me get a new job in my career”. There’s just one answer for this and it's nothing to do with external actions directly, such as resume writing and networking.
The way forward when reinventing or reigniting your life's work celebrates all that you have become and creates opportunity for new possibilities. It comes from your mindset, your lens, your world view which gives you insights about your path forward. It comes directly, as Simon Sinek points out, from your "WHY". Another way to think about it is "what's your purpose?".
As explained by CAROLINE CASTRILON, Contributor at Forbes, “This is particularly important if you’ve emotionally checked out of your career, and are on autopilot. You get up, go to work, come home, and do it all over again without feeling any real satisfaction. Now it’s time to look inward and reconnect to your authentic self.”
What’s required of us is a real connection with who we are for an authentic new beginning that we can continue to evolve. There's no finishing in the arena of "becoming" but there are measurable milestones for us to consider.
In my just launched guide book for women leaders and entrepreneurs, “Be Your Own BRAVE & Reignite Your Life's Work, I call this connecting “head” with “heart.” It’s tuning in to feel this brain-heart connection that helps you understand exactly what brings you joy and meaning. In order for this connection to have a "pulse", you must practice mindfulness to let go of the opinions, thoughts, beliefs that bind you, warp your perspective and cause you stress. The connection to heart is absolutely key and it moves you…emotionally, physically and intellectually forward … no matter your circumstances. (The moving forward part come from the heart’s highly motivating energy.)
When you think about it, the relative social isolation over the last few months has been a great time to self-reflect on who we really are, and to see who we really are. Our attachments, desires, expectations can so easily get in the way of moving forward. By practicing letting go of our expectations and desires, we relax and reduce the tendency for "fight or flight" responses and respond with more wisdom. This intellectual wisdom is not all about thinking our way forward. It's about feeling what emerges when we take action.
What I know to be true is this: if you want to connect with others remotely in this new virtual world, and as times are uncertain, it’s increasingly important for you to get grounded in the fundamentals of who you are as a leader or entrepreneur. The components are tightly linked to you as a person…your “why”, your “how” and your “what”. If you’ve never seen this video before, Simon Sinek refers to these components in his original TED Talk and it’s definitely applicable to you as a personal brand today.
My own journey of new beginnings, transitions, and transformations along with other dynamic leaders I have interviewed and coached, enrich the work I do in the area of life work coaching. It's a blend of positive psychology, mindfulness and coaching that opens up new possibilities just when you thought there were few. It is the path through the ambiguity in uncertain times that gives you the tools to live well and work well.
If you are ready to get out of overwhelm, self-doubt and gain clarity to move forward in your life’s work with more joy and ease, join me in my July or August summer mini-retreat to Be Your Own BRAVE and Reignite Your Life’s Work for women leaders and entrepreneurs.