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Life-Changing Career Advice

The Career Advice That Changed Everything

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.

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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.

She said:

"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.

Every day.

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