Let’s face it: If you are in your 50s, 60s, or 70s, lost your job or business and/or your home to foreclosure, the future looks bleak. If you are younger, it will be difficult, but doable because you have time on your side. For so many of us, the last decade has been personally and collectively challenging, calling forth all our strength, demanding we dip/g deep into our spiritual well and hone our emergency toolkits so that no matter what chaos touches us, we can return to center. It’s not easy. But mandatory. (I know. I’ve been there too.)
This past downturn was different than past recessions: Most of the jobs lost will not come back. Instead of the usual cyclical contraction of jobs, this time the change is structural, leaving us with permanent shrinkage or total loss of industries and markets. If we haven’t stayed ahead of the curve of change, we may find ourselves with outmoded skill sets, markets evaporating before our eyes and clients slipping through our grasp, at some point each of us wondering if we have what it takes to keep on keepin’ on.
In nature, wherever there is a vacuum, something new rushes in to fill the space. In the wake of volcanic destruction, new life flowers in hardened lava. The creative process takes over. It is in this sacred emptiness where creative inspiration ignites and new opportunities emerge. This is where we will transform the dross of leftover dreams into the gold of new promise and possibility.
Yes, it will be far tougher than you or any of us envisioned. But things change in a moment! Lest we forget, we are here one moment, then gone. Change isn’t stopping for any of us. In fact, it’s not slowing down one bit.
Every time I speak on reinvention and re-careering, I find that everyone is asking the same questions and having similar concerns about how to reinvent their careers or their business, their personal lives . . . and our world. We all want quick resolution. But transition is never without its thorny detours and dead-ends. Questions come first. Answers later.
There’s a mind-shift taking place. Our conversation is changing. Of course, we all want security and freedom no matter our age or economic status. But what I’m hearing more and more these days are that meaningful connections and a life that matters tops the list of “Must Haves” for everyone.
The underlying conversation doesn’t change whether I’m with a group of high-powered professionals, a mixed group of experienced career changers, serial entrepreneurs, or new retirees. It’s the same yearning for a 46-year-old world traveler just deciding to settle down —even if it means changing careers to do so—as it is for a 40-year-old new mom who opts out of the fast track so she can balance work and a new baby, or for a 60-something experienced empty-nester giving back after taking early retirement.
The good news is that the departing Great Recession has turned us upside down and inside out. What used to addictively drive us no longer does, or at least not in the same way. The upside of downsizing is that we are considering changing venues in record numbers. Many careerists long to make voluntary career moves but are staying put, while forced-out job seekers are starting all over. Fortunately, the economic recovery is soaring, breaking new stock market records, so new opportunities are emerging again.
With radical social and economic breakdowns and breakthroughs becoming the new norm, massive structural shifts are being put into motion. These epoch changes are forcing more and more of us to seek the profound knowledge and critical skill sets needed to move through change and to create sustainable success in our careers and personal futures.
Whenever we find ourselves in the “middle of the muddle,” just remember that these involuntary shakeups of what was is a signal that we’ve been given a time out. Just like our kids, we all need permission to disengage so we can regroup and get back in sync. It’s a perfect time to re-examine the life you’ve lived and the career path you are on. Take time to rediscover what your strengths and values are, as well as your value-added assets. (Do this about your business or workplace too.)
Before you attempt to gain an edge in the current crowded and highly competitive marketplace, it is mandatory that you take time out to redefine success. If you don’t what to measure, how will you know when you’ve “arrived”? This is the starting point for all creative reinvention and transformation.
To create a sustainable future that matters, begin by asking yourself the deeper questions and waiting for your visionary voice to emerge and messengers to arrive. Stay out of your head. Get back down into your body, where your Soul, your inner sacred feminine, resides. Trust your inner knowing to lead you to discover new success criteria so you can create a clear vision of the future you want.
While the future is unpredictable, by understanding the forces of change and embracing all the possible ways in which we can influence the future, we can ready ourselves to meet the future with confidence and Soulfulness.
How are you redefining success? What new vistas are showing up by redefining what success truly means to you now post the Great Recession?