Between the launch point and the destination is a spaghetti bowl of experimentation and discovery. “Umm…let’s try this.” “Oops. Look what I found!” “Who would have guessed I’d end up here?!” “Ahhh…now I’ve got it!”
A foundation is established by proven methods:
- Assess your natural proclivities.
- Study academic and career options that are aligned with your discoveries.
- Connect with people who do this work.
If you do all three, work becomes play.
The secret sauce is the connections. In the “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim…” world, career exploration is risk-free as long as you stay in ‘research’ mode. Studying alternatives causes little anxiety, and probably reduces stress because thinking has far fewer commitments than doing. Insight is free. Action is costly.
Action is more than sprucing up your resume and tweaking your LinkedIn profile. Action is branching out to your network. Who do you know? Who do they know? The twists and turns that happen in your career trajectory are rarely guided by contemplation or passive exploration. The most important moments happen when someone you meet turns you on to someone they know (or even better, turns them on to you).
It’s all organic from that moment forward. A spark ignites a flame that fuels a fire. Your network has come alive on your behalf. Like most of us, you can define the most satisfying aspects of your professional path by the people who have stepped in and sponsored you. Your team is your path.