When I hired my career coach, Hillary Hutchinson, back in the fall, I had no idea what a coach did. I’d heard—and laughed about—life coaches but had never heard of a career coach. I’d reached a impasse, though, and was determined to move forward. Since what I’d been doing thus far hadn’t been working, it was time to get out of my comfort zone.

I took to the coaching process right away. Honestly, it’s been a revelation. The old me is rolling her eyes but this shit really works. I’m convinced that my ongoing motivation is a direct result of the help I’m getting. Knowing that Hillary’s got my back, as it were, is invaluable. The direction and focus she provided at the beginning through assessments and asking hard questions have been crucial to my progress through this difficult transition. Her feedback and support now gives me strength and confidence. Graduate school is too often a disempowering experience; a job hunt almost always is, and making a career transition compounds the stress and emotional turmoil. I’ve come to realize the importance of seeking help and being open to self-help. I hope this marks a lifelong change in attitude on my part. Doing a humanities PhD is a solitary endeavour; life can’t be.

I’ve taken to coaching so much that last week I joined a separate coaching community for women entrepreneurs. I’m not sure the group will be right for me—I haven’t yet launched a business!—but I’ve already benefited after one group call. Jane Pollak led us through a visualization exercise. She asked us to picture a skier on top of a peak, unsure of what lay ahead. After taking three deep breaths, I imagined myself as the skier and was soon stretching out my arms. I started to fly off the mountain top, and when I looked down, nothing was clear. I realized that flying, looking around, and exploring are what I need to do right now. That is the next step for me.

This is an important insight and I know it’s the right one. Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling frustrated, eager to get the business ball rolling but unsure what exactly I should be doing. Relax, me! I’m giving myself permission to continue my search and not rush the transition process. All the half-formed business ideas in my mind (and on bits of scrap paper) won’t go anywhere. The reason I’m unsure about which one is right, or even if I’ve come up with a right one yet, is because my brain’s got more pondering to do. And I’ve got more research to undertake, including informational interviews. Next up: getting in touch with consultants who offer coaching services! I can’t get the idea of becoming a coach out of my head. (And, yes, I know that not that long ago I was thinking I’d be a freelance writer . . . clearly, I’m still exploring!)

4 Replies to “Exploration”

  1. Yes, I thought it was an interesting way to view the process that those who are leaving, or have left or are considering leaving the academia and moving into the post-ac world.

  2. Pingback: Staying in touch |

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