Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Judy recently told me that when she was young she was obsessed with E.S.P. Yes that’s right -- “extra-sensory-perception”. She stayed up late reading tons of books about it trying to crack the code.
Get this - she was convinced that she had a special talent to be a mind-reader.
We know. This sounds a little strange. But what Judy was really interested in was the lives of other people -- their thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams.
So why are we talking about a memory from Judy’s childhood and what do other people’s hopes and dreams have to do with your career change?
Thinking about a new career direction on your own can make you feel like you’re on a deserted island. There’s no one to talk to, no one who gets where you’re at. What you need: other women at similar transition points to share ideas, wins and challenges with.
How are you getting out of your head and into the lives of others?
It’s a myth that you can’t make authentic connections during this pandemic. This week Judy and I enjoyed reconnecting with clients we’ve worked with in the past. One woman told us her breakthrough opportunity in social entrepreneurism came from a new contact she met in a webinar...originating across the country!
Stories like these are uplifting and energizing. They remind us that career transformation is a process. And that we can’t become who we’re meant to be in isolation.
It’s time to listen to someone else’s story
Change happens from staying connected with others -- not from ruminating in your head. It’s time to start listening to the stories of others. As women, we tend to be good listeners and value being in touch.
But we’re not as good at talking to people about their careers because we see this as asking for a favor (gasp!) We’ve got to turn that around!
Reconnecting with others: good for them AND for you!
Here’s the thing- even if you aren’t the type of person who loves to reach out, think about this -- people LOVE to talk about themselves! You’re giving them the opportunity to shine and you’ll also gain insight that will help you to start clarifying your own goals.
Here are 5 ways to reconnect with the people who’ve shaped your career in ways big or small (or maybe in ways that you don’t even know about yet!):
1. Reach out to former colleagues.
You know that person you loved working with but you’ve lost touch somehow? Reach out for a zoom or phone call! Find out what they’re doing now - and what excites them about their current role.
Be clear about your interests and ask for a referral to one new contact!
Bonus Tip: If this is someone you trust to speak well on your behalf, ask them to complete a LinkedIn profile recommendation for you.
2. Identify 3 people to message on LinkedIn this summer.
Social media works best when you use it to be “social”. We love the message function in LinkedIn.
Here's how to get started: “Hi! I’m interested in xx and want to gain insights from experts like you. I’d love to learn more about what you do at xx company. Do you have 20-30 minutes for a chat?”
The message doesn’t have to be long. Once they say yes, you can exchange emails and offer to set it up.
3. Get in touch with your lunch buddies.
Do you remember who you spent your lunch breaks with? The woman (or women) who’d join you to walk around the block to grab a coffee? Those office chats are something we miss when we’re working remotely or have been out of the workforce for a while.
Judy recently had a zoom meetup with three former women she worked with for over a decade at Girl Scouts of the USA. There’s nothing like old friends and colleagues believing in you. It reconnects you with your former superstar self and energizes you to keep going.
4. Email the last person who you considered your mentor.
We’ve all had mentors along the way who’ve shaped our careers. It could be someone who was your champion at work early in your career, a relative who encouraged you to go for that graduate degree, or a friend who challenged you to dream bigger.
Set up a time to talk with them and tell them the impact they had on you. It will be a gift for them and remind you that you have many reserves of support to tap into.
5. Make social distance gatherings “work” for you this summer.
At social gatherings (on Zoom or physical distancing), take the opportunity to learn more about a friend’s career trajectory.
Come prepared with questions, such as how did you get to be a (____)? Did you always know that you wanted to work in (___industry)? If they’ve changed careers along the way, ask them how and why they did it.
Through these conversations you’ll be inspired by how others got to be where they are now. Chances are - like most careers - the road was winding rather than a straight path. You’ll develop more compassion for yourself and recommit to staying the course in your own journey.
Don't go it alone - we're here to help!
Thinking about returning to work or changing careers? Has your personal life impacted your professional life and you're ready to make a change? Maybe you're like many who were laid off in the midst of the pandemic.
Join us at Evolveme.work . Connect with other women who will see what you have to offer the world, even if it feels hard to do that on your own right now. We’re better together!