I was speaking a few months ago as part of a panel discussion when a gentleman who was mid-career shared his story. He was having a rough go at work. He was under-utilized, didn’t see a pathway to greater success, and felt he was always on the outside looking in. Like most of us, he had real-world worries of a mortgage, looming college expenses, elderly parents to care for.
He knows he can do more with his career with a company that will value and enable him. He wants to make a change but is scared. He’s making good money, benefits are solid and the commute is easy. He kept coming up with reasons to stay despite being miserable. So, I asked him this: “Is the thought of staying scarier than the thought of leaving?”. His answer was a quick “yes”.
He and I had some follow-up 1-on1-discussions after that panel discussion. He knew he was losing time and losing himself. He knew he had to reclaim himself and his future. We traded ideas and I discussed the concept of taking control and also viewing yourself as a brand. Shortly after answering “yes” to that critical question and as a follow-up to our discussions, he started building a personal marketing plan to claim the next great thing in his career. When he gets home each night, he puts about 20-30 minutes into a LinkedIn strategy, a personal outreach plan, a content publishing strategy, strengthening and adding to his connections and defining and refining his personal brand. He’s in a better spot now because he took charge rather than be resigned to fate.
I don’t know where I first heard the question that I’d asked him but that question has stuck with me for some time now. It’s a simple but powerful question. Ask yourself that question, and if the answer is yes, make a vow to move away from a place where you don’t feel you belong or can become more of who you were meant to be in your career and take steps to take greater control of your future.