Blogger and meditation teacher Kim Nicol shares with us the most important career advice she ever received in this article from Medium.
About six months after I left my corporate job, I was feeling very lost. There's a kind of intimate gravity around despair. It draws you in for a hug and then sinks you to the bottom of the ocean.
I signed up for a 60-minute coaching session with a career coach — something I had NEVER done before. Moreover, she is famous for being direct and I had heard her challenge people to the brink of tears in interviews. But I wanted a fresh perspective, and I trusted her candor.
So I told her about my work background, and how and why I left. I told her I felt like a failure and like I was bad at my career.
"You're good at your career. It just feels weird because it looks different from everybody else."
And in a very direct, no-nonsense way, she repeated back to me some of the things I had told her, as evidence.
It was a fascinating moment. Like the world paused and then pivoted in a very subtle way.
Everything looked a little bit different. And better.
That shift in perspective, the shift in the story I told myself about my career, created a little bit of space. And within that space, the embrace of despair loosened its grip. I floated back to the surface and took a deep, fresh breath.
I'm thinking about this now, because the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves matter.
You can create a story that weighs you down, or one that serves as a lifeline when you're in unfamiliar territory and finding your way in the dark.
I sometimes still get caught in the gravity of despair and feel like I'm failing at life. It helps to get an outside perspective. It reminds me that I can change the story I tell myself. That I have a choice in the story I wish to live — in who I want to be and how I want to be in the world.
Sometimes I forget that beating up on myself is not actually helpful. I'm glad to have friends to help point out when I'm being too rough.
There's a reason I teach self-compassion and treating oneself with kindness and friendship. It's something I've needed to learn — and still need to practice.