We have been talking a lot lately about change and moves and what's next and, as high-performing, driven women, while we are used to both doing our current role and ensuring we are taking action to be ready for that next opportunity, we both reached a point where we found ourselves saying "what if we don't know what's next right now?"
I think we would be fooling ourselves, and trying to fool you, if we said that saying that statement out loud was freeing and easy to embrace (spoiler alert: it was not easy nor freeing, at least initially!) We have both built careers that are rooted in progressive growth in role and responsibilities, so the idea that we could just be present where we are felt foreign and, to be completely honest, like somehow, we were not doing enough to be successful. We have coached so many women leaders on their own feelings of failure, imposter syndrome and perfectionist standards, so when we found ourselves struggling to not have all the answers, we had a lot of judgment and experienced many of the same feelings we help others work through in their own situations.
Here is how this played out for us: we immediately jumped into action - which was *exactly* opposite of what we needed but it was the easy place to go. It looked like this in our brains: 1) Identify a problem 2) Decide how to fix the problem 3) take action and fix the problem. So, what is wrong with what happened here? First, we turned a thought into a problem, which then gave us something to focus that needed "fixing" and we could channel our energy into action. And that felt more comfortable than allowing our thought to be a thought and recognize that we might have been creating a problem so we could put our energy toward solving it.
One of the best things about us doing this work is that we get to coach each other (and sometimes that coaching is needed both ways!) and so we spent some time uncovering what was really going on and helping each other figure out what we actually needed. We realized we did not need a grand plan for what's next or a roadmap to the next career move or even to overthink what we might want to do. What we needed was to create space to be present.
We learned to say out loud (trust us, saying it out loud matters) that not knowing what is next is not a problem. And that simple action helped us shift our perspective. We moved from either/or thinking to both/and, which is simple and not always easy! Instead of thinking that we were either on a path to successful careers or we were stalled and stuck, we shifted our thinking to recognize that we can both be successful and good where we are. Good where we are does not mean that we are done growing and progressing, it just means that we do not have to know what's next to be successful right now.
What simple action can you take to help shift your perspective and create space to give yourself what you need?