Two stepping stones of self leadership are getting crystal clarity about the path you will travel and then on who you will be as you travel it. Using play as both a clarity and creativity tool is a great way to explore different possible career paths.
In the book the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, as part of an exercise called “Name Your Dream,” Julia asks you to complete these sentences for yourself:
1. “I would secretly love to be a ______” and,
2. “______ is what I would do for a career if I was being very selfish.”
Questions such as these are crafted to call forth your quiet authentic voice. They are questions to aid you in giving yourself permission to begin to explore what you would do, if you were being a little more “self-full.”
When you begin to give yourself permission to explore what you would do, if you better followed your authentic voice, you access more and more awareness of what would bring you fully alive in a career. Authentic voice exploration also opens you up to your dreams and thinking and acting bigger than you might have done if you hadn’t given yourself such permission.
How many people do you know that just landed in a career rather than crafting a specific A to Z career path? I know I am personally surprised to hear just how many people haven’t crafted a career – or even their ideal hobby for that matter.
I know my story of my earlier career was more of “landing in it”. A summer job when I was 16 for an airline flight kitchen took me on a 25 year joyful journey in various roles in the travel industry. None of my journey was scripted.
I didn’t create a clear forward path in advance – I just lived my life and opportunities arose – and I just kept on making choices to move myself forward. Now, I got to see a lot of the world and met some absolutely wonderful people and somewhere I realized that life was “living-me” with regards to my career.
In the late 90’s, triggered by a pending organizational merger, I began to open my mind to the possibilities for what could be next for me. I did a few things in combination: I took career aptitude assessments, picked up all the popular career books at the time, I worked with a coach on my own life’s self expression and meaning and most importantly, I played.
Using the book , the Artist’s Way for inspiration, I played in the sense that I used my dreams, my small little authentic voice and the joint learnings from multiple personal strength assessments to play out different scenarios and try on different hats in answer to the question “I would secretly love to be a ____”.
My own personal different possible career hats were:
- A professional coach
- A minister
- A Feldenkrais practitioner
- An organizational consultant
- A national trainer (skills)
I took one possible career hat each week and scripted out what both my ideal day and typical day would look like. What kinds of things I would be doing and how I might be feeling.
I took on the mindset of each career, asking myself what I believe and what values I would have in each career.
I imagined the environments I would be working in. Who would be around me, who would I be in relationship with and what would be my deliverables in each of these relationships.
And most importantly I started to do activities that were in alignment with testing out moving forward with any of these careers. I attended workshops, I interviewed people, entertained new ideas and I continued to allow myself to play with the dream of what it would be like to do each of these career paths.
At the end of my five weeks of play, I remembered all my scenarios – and remembered where I felt most alive, most self full, and most in service.
I continue to know without a doubt that I am in a career that is aligned with my personal talents and aliveness. I know this because I tried on the hats and walked in the shoes of the other careers in play.
What have you secretively dreamed about being or doing? Is it perhaps time to play and try on a few new hats?