I recently gave a workshop on Career Well-Being & Resilience to a group of articling law students. For many young professionals the focus early in their careers is on achievement – landing the first job, making enough money to pay the rent, getting recognition. It isn’t until later that we start to question what else matters. I was impressed with how these students were willing to speak openly and candidly about their own sense of well-being and how to build resilience when demands are high and control over work load is low. This is such an important dialogue in a profession that has high levels of career burnout, depression and anxiety.
With spring on its way, I wanted to invite more people to engage in a conversation about what gives them a sense of well-being at work and at home; and how to build resilience in the face of obstacles.
Start to ask yourself:
- What are my supports inside and outside of my workplace? How do I build them up?
- Have I locked myself into a single narrative for my life, even if I’m not happy living it? How can I shift my focus to something more positive that is within my control to change?
- How do I cope with stress? Which of my habits is more likely to build up my energy? What can I do starting today to introduce more of that into my life?
Read on for how spring can inspire us to respond to life’s challenges and how to find your own voice after a significant career set back.
Finding My Voice (written by a former client and lawyer)
I never wanted to be a Bay Street lawyer. I joined a big law firm as a summer student, and found the compensation and benefits too great to seriously consider leaving. I was clearly different from the people around me, but they were smart and I admired them, so I tried to blend in. I dressed the part, spoke only when spoken to, and worked extremely long hours. It was an incredibly stressful environment for me, but I had a very traditional work model – “the Silent Generation”. I had successes – but always felt out of place. I worked at full speed at all times, and was ultimately admitted into the partnership. Success. But I felt utterly bereft. I was exhausted. I had barely seen my own small daughter, had no real relationships or social support network, and had a value that was measured exclusively by my profitability and productivity. The stress had an impact on my physical and mental health. I left the partnership and lost my identity.
I sought out Lianne when it was time to return to work. I felt truly traumatized by my professional past, and yet compelled to repeat it. I was convinced that it was the only economic option. I expected Lianne would be helpful, but had not expected how thoroughly transformative my work with her would be. Our work on my career profile led to a new personal insight. In particular, identifying and understanding my personality type has had a profound impact on me and my self-awareness. I began to see myself, and to think about work, in a new way. I started to find my own voice and to learn how to hear it.
Lianne was an unparalleled support during the most difficult time of my life. She was empathetic, non-judgmental and extremely effective at helping me to identify and find meaningful work. Work now has a place in my life, and no longer consumes it. I work from home and enjoy what I do. I have dogs, and see my daughter every day. Happiness.
Note: This client is now happily employed and working from home as a legal writer and researcher.
How Nature Inspires Resilience (contributed by Morgan Cowie)
Spring shows us how responding to challenge allows us to bring forth our true beauty and power. Think about the single-minded direction of a tiny crocus bud pushing up through layers of nearly-frozen dirt. Small pebbles and debris can’t stop the inevitable flowering in the light of the sun.
As human beings, we’re not so different! In our careers and our paths through life, we are offered infinite pressures that either build up our resilience or slowly chip away at, and ultimately deplete, our inner strength.
The power to face obstacles in a way that enhances our spring-back ability depends on a number of factors including close relationships with family and friends, seeking help and resources and seeing yourself as resilient (rather than as a victim). In other words, no matter what we are facing in our professional or personal lives, we can thrive as long as we find ways to feel positive, in control and confident that we can handle what’s in front of us.
Look to the natural world for inspiration! It’s all around you at this time of year. Be a part of the unfolding of spring as you move towards your inner ability to grow, take action and thrive!
Powerful Conversations at Work
Monday April 6, 2015,
6:30 – 9:00 pm, Toronto
Space still available. Register now to secure a spot.
With Lianne Krakauer, Career & Leadership Coach, an evening of hands-on learning on how to create more positive, dynamic and productive workplace conversations.
Career Well Being & Resilience
A new workshop designed to help professionals and leaders recognize the signs of burn out and take ownership for creating career well-being and building resilience. If your employer, association or community organization is interested in learning more about this and other customized workshops, contact Lianne for more details.
Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Lianne Krakauer is a career and leadership coach with 20 years of experience in professional services, law, education and the public sector. She works with individuals at all levels to find ways to re-invent their careers and bring about positive sustainable change. Lianne has led workshops and presented on a wide range of topics related to career and leadership development, communication and coaching. Lianne has a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Education, both from the University of Toronto; and a Bachelor of Arts from Western. She has a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University and specialized training in Solutions Focused Coaching. She is certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, a psychological instrument that supports individual growth and team development. Lianne is a Professional Certified Coach, a designation granted by the International Coach Federation which recognizes coaches who have completed over 750 hours of individual coaching. In her free time she can be found on her yoga mat in a favourite warrior pose.