Written by: Britt-Mari Sykes, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
How can we draw meaning and insights from the changes and challenges we experience throughout our career lives?
The starting point is acceptance.
Acceptance is not resignation
Acceptance, as a topic and as an experience, is always present in my work as a Career Counsellor: how to comfortably accept a sudden job loss, how to accept a career change, how to acknowledge and accept that we are experiencing unmanageable stress or burnout, how to accept that we are feeling stuck and disengaged in our current work, how to accept the indecision we are experiencing about a career direction.
Accepting the changes and challenges that we encounter in our career lives does NOT mean resigning ourselves to a particular situation, much less to a complete loss of control. It just means recognizing the difficulties or the discomfort of a given situation. Are changes, challenges, and losses in our career lives difficult? Absolutely. Can we experience uncomfortable adjustments throughout our career paths? Yes indeed. Are there times we do not like the changes we experience in our careers? Of course.
The practice of acceptance makes room for possibilities
Practicing acceptance – and it does take practice – gives us more “internal” space to acknowledge the range of feelings we may be experiencing during times of change. Consider the following:
Acceptance means taking this range of feelings seriously, “holding” contrasting feelings, and recognizing the valuable information and insights they give us on how we are experiencing our current situation.
Acceptance helps to reduce the psychological energy we may be expending to minimize, deny, judge, and/or fight against what we are currently experiencing.
Acceptance helps us to stay present and to pull back from the stress and anxiety of “what if” statements: “What if” I never get hired? “What if” I go a year without work? “What if” I slip back into burnout when I return to work? “What if” I hate the career decision I make?
Acceptance allows us to regain perspective. It gives us the space to reflect with more ease and to assess, realistically, our current situation.
Acceptance fosters our capacity for resilience, it activates attitudinal and emotional flexibility and a more compassionate stance towards ourselves and others. This in turn reminds us to be more present in our lives and more connected to our daily experiences.
Acceptance helps us to regain personal agency, it helps us to be active, intentional, and decisive in creating and implementing personally relevant steps to integrate the change(s) we are experiencing and to move forward in our lives.
Some questions for reflection
What kind of change am I experiencing?
What kinds of feelings am I experiencing with this change?
How comfortably can I “hold” the different feelings I am experiencing?
What questions arise most prominently when I contemplate this change?
What is challenging about the change? Where am I stuck?
Are there changes or adjustments that I am comfortable making in my life right now? What could make these changes more comfortable?
What kind of information do I need to gather to help me integrate this change?
What kinds of resources and support do I have around me?
What is possible at this moment, during this day?
What can I accept?
Career Counselling can help at any stage of your career life. Contact Canvas Career Counselling for more information.
Britt-Mari Sykes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Britt-Mari Sykes Ph.D. is a Career Counsellor and founder of CANVAS Career Counselling working remotely with clients across Canada. Britt-Mari offers a reflective and strategic process to clients, one that integrates their lived experiences, values, and aspirations. This experiential approach to career counselling helps clients gain greater clarity and perspective and design practical steps towards a more meaningful relationship with work and career.