I had an interesting conversation today with one of my clients. Over the last seven years I have been witness to Marks' setbacks and successes, his layoffs and his promotions. I've met his wife, his kids, and he has met my sons. Our relationship is truly of "trusted advisor" nature.
This past Friday he was laid off from a software firm that had difficulty securing an additional line of credit. At best, the firm has another 6-8 weeks before they close up shop. Mark called me this afternoon, lamenting the job loss, his children's' tuition bills, his career prospects, and the economy itself. Unfortunately I've had quite a few conversations like this recently. I'm sure those of you reading this know someone who has been affected personally by this recession (if not yourself) and realize this has become a familiar refrain.
Part of my recruitment process and responsibility is to help bring clarity to an individuals short and long term goals. Those of you who know me have been asked "where do you see yourself a year from now? Three years from now? Why is that important to you? How do you plan on achieving that?" more times than you can shake a stick at! I've kept copious notes over the last 10 years of my conversations, and enjoy revisiting these very items and helping them remember who they are.
I asked these very questions of Mark (again, for the umpteenth time) when he had finished dumping on me. I don't know that he was in the right frame of mind to be contemplative, but I owed it to him to look down the rabbit hole a little bit. What I wanted Mark to bring to the surface were those things that energized him, excited him and get him juiced to the point that he loses track of time. What follows is the part of our conversation that I had recorded.
"Yeah, you lost your job. Okay, I get that. But you haven't lost your skills, your talent, your expertise, or anything between your ears. That is your intellectual property! We've seen this movie before; we know how it plays out. It's not the first time you've lost your job, and every time, without question, you have always told me how it was the best thing that could've happened because you've ended up in a killer role! It may have taken a few weeks, but you've always landed on your feet, Mark. Think about this, though; aren't you tired of having to go through this every 24-30 months? Can this time be different? What if you created an opportunity where the skill, the talent and the expertise are transferable?"
"What I mean is that creating an opportunity and looking for a job are two very different things. This could absolutely be the right time for you to consider creating your button rather than pushing the same one you've pushed over and over again. What if it could be different this time? Rather than making a decision based on desperation, why not put some thought into it? Mark, I want you to think about the one thing you'd love to do so much that you'd roll out of bed in the morning and do it for free."
"This is your time to find something where the sun can't come up soon enough because you want to go do your thing. This is your time in life to really show up."
Over the years I've talked to people all over the country, and they've shared their stories of struggle and triumph. I love what I do for a living, and really enjoy helping people create better visions and better versions of themselves. Nothing makes me feel better than knowing I've impacted someones life positively.
The last thing I had mentioned to him was this: "At some point we have to determine if it's a higher priority to abandon our soul, ourselves...or to actually have the life we want."