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Gentle Career Change

For years I've practiced something called gentle nutrition. I'm not advocating for it and I'm far from qualified to teach it, but it works for me. I'm drawn to gentle.

Health is a complex, nuanced thing, and it is so much more than food and fitness. Mental health is health too, and sometimes focusing on mental health means putting nutrition on the back burner. What looks like gentle nutrition for one person could be completely different for another. I believe the same can be said for our career. It is a complex, nuanced thing, and it is about so much more than just our job title.

This is why I approach career change gently and not as a one plan fits all. I think this is important to say. I approach everything with gentleness in mind. Here's what I'd like to talk about tonight:

If we’re looking to transition into a new job or field, build a private practice, or a business of any kind, we know we have to attract employers or customers or clients. We know this requires interacting and connecting with others in some way.

We gravitate to things like online job boards and social media believing this is “the how”. Yes, the Internet can be awesome. How did we even do anything before we were all online, right?

Why would anybody willingly do anything other than what can be done safely behind a computer screen? After all, there’s COVID and people don’t want us bothering them by asking them for things. It all seems very true that the way to get a job is to write a resume and start firing it off into cyberspace and the way to start a business is to put up a website and start posting on social media. Of course, we’re taught to do these things. Seen the commercials lately? They really get you in the feels.

Social media platforms and websites can be useful but only if the people you're hoping will find them actually do. They're tools. I love tools! But I also know that to be effective, they might need to be part of a bigger strategy.

Your career change and business building is up to you. If the only tools you’re using are social media or online job boards to grow your business or change your career, you get to decide if this works for you or not.

There’s comfort in using tools outside of us to achieve a goal, I get it. It feels more comfortable while also keeping us feeling productive. If it doesn't work, we can blame the tools. It’s not a problem, keep using these tools but if your current approach is producing the results I think it is for you, it probably means you’re sending many resumes into the black internet hole or making lots of posts on social media and crossing your fingers, waiting for somebody to pay attention to you.

Of course, sending out resumes and posting on social media can be great if people ARE paying attention to you. If you’re getting positive responses to your resumes and posts in the form of interviews, customers, or clients, awesome. Keep going.

What if you’re like most people though? Well, then you’re not getting positive or any responses. Just a whole lot of nuthin’ and it feels terrible. It wouldn’t be so bad if you actually then realized you simply needed to try something else—then it would be fine, but most people don’t. They just keep doing the same thing over and over with the same results which start to feel worse and worse. Then they start to make it mean something very bad about themselves.

Don’t do that.

The Online Rabbit Hole

There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a human having a human experience that can feel terrible. Remember it’s the approach that isn’t working, not you.

Why do we avoid doing things that deep down we know might be more helpful? Let’s take networking for example. We know it’s important, we’ve heard a million times that a high proportion of jobs are never posted online or, in fact anywhere.

I’ll tell you why. Often, it’s because we tried what I described above first. We’ve gone down so deep into the rabbit hole of everything online, we don’t know how to get out. We’re now thinking so terribly about ourselves that the last thing we want to do is interact with other humans. No way. No how. Not doing it. We want to hide. It makes complete sense.

Even if we’re not feeling rotten about ourselves, we’re still not jazzed about networking—even though again, deep down we know we “should” be doing it. We know that it is probably the way.

Secretly I think we don’t want to believe this. Perhaps it’s just easier not to, then we can continue on with low risk actions. We can apply to what’s available online even if it’s not a good match for us. We can tinker with our website copy or social media accounts and feel productive. Then, when we don’t get the results we want, we can distract from how terrible we feel by continuing to tinker and scroll while we lie on the couch.

I LOVE lying on the couch. I'm darn good at it. But, sometimes we don't want to be lying on the couch, right?

We can’t fathom taking different action without it immediately being shut down by our exhausted brain and tender, beaten up heart. Maybe we’ve never tried anything else so we assume it won’t feel natural or enjoyable to us, or we won't know how, so instead we just stop trying or never try at all.

There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing.

But most of us think networking is kind of gross. Hey, I’ve been there. Of course, if we’re thinking it feels gross, it will be kind of well, gross. This is because we have a thought about it and that’s what makes it true. So, it feels out of integrity somehow. It doesn’t feel genuine, it doesn’t feel authentic.

Time to change your thoughts!

I’ve always known that I’m not into being pushy or manipulative. The same way I’m turned off by hustling and artificial “hype”.

The Covid Cocoon

I know I’m not alone. This is why I approach and teach networking in a way that feels full of integrity and kindness. It’s simply connection. There is no downside to this. It will make you feel way less terrible. It will wake you up and get you moving and living. It’s gentle connection. Engaging and re-engaging with fellow humans. That’s it. I know even that might sound awful now while you're deep into your cozy, sheltered, COVID cocoon. That's okay. The way I teach it, it almost feels too simple to work. But it does work. In profound ways.

If you’re a heart-centered job seeker or career changer or aspiring business owner and respond better to connecting with others from a place of generosity, sufficiency, and belief that there’s something in it for both of you, I hope I can provide a helpful reframe to some of the networking approaches you might already be familiar with.

At its core, we want to connect by getting back to the basics of trust, meaning, and purpose. Not by acting like robots reciting canned elevator speeches to strangers. No more using COVID as a reason not to do this. COVID is in good part why we need to.

What I teach might even be considered a radical approach.

Who would even believe that it’s possible to connect with others for the purpose of career or business building authentically? Gently? I believe there is a way to do it authentically and gently. There IS a way to implement a networking approach from a heart-centred place that will actually feel inspiring, invigorating and interesting. It will allow you to get actual feedback instead of only hearing crickets.

I teach you how to use what it is you want for your career and life to connect with your people. It’s magic. It can line up with your values while offering the opportunity to approach connecting with others in your own unique way and get amazing results.

It’s all about building up relationships from a place of trust, not a hidden agenda. It involves leaving others a little better off for having interacted with you through a method of engaging, inspiring, inviting, and enriching.

Career change, job search, and entrepreneurship don’t need to feel jarring and exhausting and unsupportive. They can feel gentle and supportive—even joyful. Let’s normalize the desire to change and to grow rather than continue to find all the ways to resist it or make it mean there is something wrong with us. Feeling uncomfortable and less than over the moon happy sometimes is normal. I want this for you. Engage with the people you already know, reach out to those you don't, inspire through your unique story, invite true connection and enrich your life and the life of others every day. This is not only required to get a job or a customer, this is required to ensure all of us thrive in life. This can be done in small, simple, easy ways. It doesn't have to involve grand gestures.

Don’t hand your agency over to the job boards or to Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram. Use these tools if you want to or if you’re having success with them but if you’re not, don’t give up. You’re not doing anything wrong…you just need to be open to another way.

You’re so darn important. To me, to so many others. Remind yourself of that. Everybody is needed. This world works best when it works for everybody. Let's make that happen. The way to do that is to let yourself move towards growth and change if you're craving it. Let's stop resisting and lean in instead.

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