Most of us, if not all, have been conditioned to take a specific path that was deemed desirable or acceptable. And oftentimes, we succumb to the expectations set by our family, the society we grew up in, or our culture. This is true, especially when choosing careers. If you feel like going to work is a job all on its own, don’t miss this episode! Laurie Swanson, Founder of InspiHER Tech, talks about the importance of staying authentic to your true nature and how acknowledging dissatisfaction is key to making the much-needed change for you to perform at an optimum level. Tune in and learn how you can transition from the work that you do to doing the work that you love. Don’t settle. After all, you can only bring your best when you come as yourself.
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Live Your Dream: Aligning Your Career To Your True Nature With Laurie SwansonIn this episode, I’m having a conversation with Laurie Swanson. Laurie is going to help us identify when it’s the right time for you to change careers. I will tell you a little bit about Laurie. Laurie’s core belief is, “Aligning your career with your true nature when your inner motivations, desires, and values are in sync with your outer actions,” is the path to living an inspired life. Laurie was a coder early in her career and shifted to recruiting and technology sales. She became an entrepreneur and founded the Laso Corporation, which evolved into inspiHER Tech, expanding into true nature career and job search coaching. Laurie’s mission is to bring inspiration, confidence, equal pay, and opportunities to women working in technology through a spiritually centered approach. Laurie is a personal and spiritual growth junkie who never says no to hearing your miracle story and is happy to share one of hers. Just ask her, she says. Laurie and I have a lot in common when it comes to spiritual and personal growth because we are both junkies when it comes to that. Laurie also went to the University of Texas. We are going to shift a little bit on what we are going to talk about with Laurie. Laurie is going to talk about the four stages of the career cycle. Stage 1 is career disruption. Stage 2 is career contemplation. Stage 3 is career discovery. Finally, Stage 4 is career love. If you are not happy in your career, read this very powerful and insightful conversation.
—Laurie, thank you for being here. I’m going to start off the bat. How did you come to be a true nature career coach? How did you come to help women in tech find their passion? First of all, Rosie, thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here. I love you and all the work that you are doing for professional women in advancing their careers. It’s so important. I will start with the women in the tech side of things. I was a woman in tech. I started my career as a programmer. That led me eventually out of heads-down coding, which wasn’t my passion, and into recruiting technologists, technology leaders, and people in technology adjacent careers. Nowadays, everyone is a technologist in some way, shape or form. You can’t get through life without an iPhone, Samsung, or Android. Recruiting has been my passion for a very long time. I was a Business major from the University of Texas with an emphasis on Information Technology. That blend was already there of high interest in business and how businesses work in different industries. Being a technologist myself, having been in a very male-dominated field, seeing how that worked and doesn’t work, especially for women, to be able to help companies build teams, focus on the women in the field, and being a woman technologist, there was already that connection there. For a lot of people, your career naturally evolves sometimes in spite of yourself before our benefit. Through the years, I started my own firm. I continued to do recruiting, primarily in Northern Illinois and Southeast Wisconsin, helping companies from multibillion down to scaling startups build their technology teams with this emphasis on #HireMoreWomenInTech. You can’t have women in the boardroom until you have women on the executive team. You can’t have women on the executive team until you have women in leadership. You can have women in leadership until you give them a hand up in the organizations. That starts with having a slate of interview candidates that are diverse. That’s where as a recruiter, I always thought I could make sure that’s happening. I had kids. I continued to run my business full-time but I was also volunteering at my kids’ school and in my community. There were points where I started to think about, “What’s next? Once the kids are more launched, and their need for me has reduced, do I want to go back full board into growing my recruiting firm?” I had been with twelve people as we relocated from Downtown Chicago into the suburbs, as my kids were growing up for family reasons. I had a smaller staff but was I going to grow it again? Was I going to keep it small? I was coming to a career crossroads. In that process, I started to focus on what I do, which led me right into what is a true nature coach. I started to focus on how I reconnect. Our essential self, our true nature, never leaves us. It's just that life happens and sometimes carries us right down to our true nature. – Laurie Swanson Click To Tweet Our essential self, our true nature, never leaves us. It’s just life happens. Sometimes it’s carrying us right down our true nature river. Other times we are off to the side, and we know it when we are off. We can talk about that a little bit more. I started to look at how I have disconnected from what I consider to be my essential self. There are certainly signs that you are disconnected. When I think about a true nature career, I can break that up into being the genuine and authentic self that everyone talks about these days, nature being organic and elemental. When you are in a true nature career, those elements are there. Your career feels light as air. The flow is not paddling upstream but you are going with it, and the fire in your belly that get out of bed, that enthusiasm. That happens when you are connected to the nature part of your true nature, and then Earth, which is foundational. You are solid. You are not in that quicksand all the time and trying to get your footing. I knew that as much as I love recruiting and still do and being an entrepreneur, that wasn’t going to change. I also knew that there was a way in which I had started to shift in what I consider my mission for women in tech and tech adjacent careers that connecting your inner motivations, desires, passions, and values to your outer actions. When you think about aptitudes, which are part of that inner side, those skills, gifts, and abilities that you have you’ve developed, using them as a recruiter, that served me for a very long time until it didn’t, until I started to get some of those signals that my evolving essential self was now off center from my true nature career. When I think about a career in that true nature career, your career is your form of service. I always say that. It’s not just service to others. Most importantly, it’s service to yourself. You are serving others and yourself at the same time. You said a ton of fantastic things. The true nature of career coaching is perfect for the conversation that we want to have because I am wanting people to be able to connect to their essence, skills, and everything like their aptitudes so that when they are in their career, they feel that fulfilling feeling. It is the worst when you know you are in the wrong career. Maybe you graduated in something that you weren’t really excited about but still went through with it. There are so many people that I’ve talked to. They are like, “I became a lawyer because my parents were lawyers. I became a doctor because my parents were doctors.” Going back to your true nature is so important. I work with women in corporate who already know what they want to do and are at least confident that they are in the right job. Sometimes, life happens. Things happen. When you are in a position, how can you tell that you are engaged? How can you tell it is the right position for you even nowadays? First of all, not every day is puppy dogs and rainbows. We all have our frustrations like frustrating employees, bosses, projects, and vendors. We all have that in our careers. Those things should the norm. How do you know? I’m very much on this inside-out approach. First of all, there’s a feeling. When you get out of bed in the morning, there’s lethargy, frustration, and boredom. Low-level anxiety might be there. Those things are happening more consistently.
Sometimes, we are aware but we ignore it. We are keeping our heads down. For me, with the job I came out of school doing, I didn’t know. A lot of people get into what I call cultural expectations job, the job your parents think is good. My mom, I hear her say, “Go into computers. There’s money to be made there.” It wasn’t bad advice but her vision of what I would be doing and ended up doing in relationship to the technology industry is completely different. There are these feelings of low-level anxiety, low-level stress, boredom, lethargy, and situational depression, perhaps, which I fully admit I felt at one point. Also, there could be external actions like overeating. I call it over X-ing. You fill in the blank like overeating. You get up in the morning and are excited about the day. By the time you hit the train on the way home, you are like, “Where’s that bottle of wine?” It’s overeating, overdrinking, and over-analyzing things, especially when you talk about women in tech who are already naturally skewed towards the left brain. I will call it the left brain, even though both sides do this but it’s the analytical, processing, data, science, show me the results and the facts. They are already skewed that way. They are trying to figure out, “How come I’m feeling like this? What’s happening?” They are overanalyzing things. It’s overcoming. Every day it feels like you have to overcome something. That’s a very clear sign. You are snapping at people more than normal. You are finding less joy in other activities that used to bring you joy or less desire to even do them because you are tired. When those things are happening, and you can’t say, “This is why. This project is just a drainer,” it’s time-boxed. If you have been in a career that you have been passionate about, it’s hard to believe that maybe it’s time for a change. It’s hard to believe that, “I chose this. I have been in this. I’ve loved this. What’s going on here?” If you’ve ever read the book by Gay Hendricks, and I tell your audience read it, The Big Leap, he talks about the zone of excellence versus the zone of genius. That zone of excellence is you are good at it. People look to you and think, “She’s my go-to person.” Doesn’t that feel great? Yet you are drained, over X-ing, and bored, yet you are in your zone of excellence. The next thing up that starts to push against that comfort zone is your zone of genius, which is your true nature career, everything you’ve brought forward, and now something different. Occasionally, I will hear someone say, “I’m dreading Monday because I have to go to work.” That is a key indication that it’s time for you to do something different because you feel all those feelings like you said, and that’s no good. There’s an old statistic by the Gallup World Poll saying that 70% of people are not engaged in the work that they do. That’s so terrible. Your career is your form of service. But it's not just service to others. Most importantly, it's service to yourself. – Laurie Swanson Click To Tweet That’s still true. They do that poll every two years, and those numbers have not changed much. That’s incredible. What I hear you say is that it is never too late to change a career. The next thing I think of, especially when someone is established in their career is, “I’m going to have to start all over again? How do I do that?” Let’s talk a little bit about that. When you decide, “I need to do something different,” what are some 2 or 3 steps that people can do to start on that journey of transitioning? They will have information on how to get to my website. I have a quiz there that talks about The Four Stages of a Career Change Cycle. That first stage is career disruption. That could be by circumstance or choice. In some cases, you are laid off. Your company is relocating to Boca Raton, and you are like, “We are not going to Boca Raton.” By circumstance, you are thrown into change into an opportunity to change. It also could be by choice. Maybe you are like, “I’m going to take off a couple of years to pursue my MBA.” During those times, people can spend a lot of time or some time because we’ve got to pay our bills in reflecting and evaluating. There’s often some fire under there. Sometimes it’s a choice. In this first stage of career disruption, sometimes there’s grieving that needs to happen. Sometimes there’s anger and frustration that needs to come out because it hasn’t been your choice. Other times, it isn’t so overnight but it’s those feelings that we were talking about like those scary Sundays. They are dreading Monday and are not sure why. That’s all part of that career disruption. You then move into career contemplation. In career contemplation, this is not a time where you spend a lot of time doing outward actions. You may work a little bit on your resume and LinkedIn profile but it’s very much about going inside. That stage is so important. It’s accessing and moving out of the data, logic, and analytics into your imagination. That’s where real freedom lies. It’s imagining possibilities for yourself and imagining something different. That’s what happens in that stage. You then move to stage three, which is career discovery. In career discovery, that’s more outer actions. You might be doing informational interviews, going to more networking events, those things. Finally, you are in career love. That’s working with someone like you, Rosie. That’s a perfect time. There’s also a perfect time earlier than that to work with you but in this case, what if you are pretty happy in your job but there’s still more to do during that stage that is a career coach? That’s the first answer, get a career coach. Career love isn’t just sitting back and putting your feet up. There are plenty of cool things you can do there. People are often thinking of stage one. If they get laid off, they will jump right to, “I got to start interviewing.” They skip right over this contemplation piece, and that could lead them right from a frying pan to fire. They are sitting there six months from now in a job and are still feeling drained. I suggest you take a beat, give yourself some time to dream a little bit, and take in everything you’ve learned because the person you were at 20 is not the person you are at 40. You’ve grown, changed, matured, and evolved. Life is a constant evolution and ongoing process. There is no finish line. That’s why it’s the understanding that there are no missteps either. You may think that job that you took for six months is a real horror on your resume. It’s not. There’s gold in there to be mined. I would say hire a career coach and do the quiz on my website to recognize what stage you are in. Give yourself a minute or more to dream and imagine. Ask yourself questions, “Where have I let go of my dreams? Where have I disconnected from my core values?” Are you working for a company that you don’t believe in its mission? I love the contemplation piece. I also know that as part of the contemplation piece, sometimes the recommendation is to go back and think about the things you enjoyed as a child. You have to go way back. Did you love music? Did you love to paint or whatever? You are right because that creative contemplation is going to be what drives your happiness down the line. It is your key to freedom. I know you also said there is no finish line, which this is a tangent conversation. I heard that there are even stages when you retire from a corporate job because you were in leadership. I heard a specific story where there was a woman who was a psychiatrist. She was a well-renowned psychiatrist. All of a sudden, she retired and was, in her head, nothing. There’s a whole other stage. To your point, there is no finish line, even when you retire from work. You still have to create yourself. It’s almost like you go back into that contemplation even after. There’s an identity with work. When that identity goes away, no surprise that you are going to feel a little lost and unwanted but then you look at people like Grandma Moses, who started painting at 77. She was driven circumstance by arthritis. She’s like, “I can’t.” She was a seamstress or something. She couldn’t do that anymore but she could manage a paintbrush. Thank goodness for that. She was 77. Imagination is where real freedom lies. – Laurie Swanson Click To Tweet Paul Gauguin was an attorney or a tax accountant. He’s a white collar. He gave it all up and moved to Tahiti and started painting himself. Dante wrote The Divine Comedy at 40. There’s so much in the tank. It’s about taking that time to capture all of these gifts, skills, and experiences you have and then be like, “How can I serve?” It’s always back to, “Not only others but myself.” It isn’t necessarily in Corporate America but somehow, there’s a form of service that’s going to be happening. To your point, if you are not happy yourself, you are not going to be able to have a happy relationship with others like your spouse and kid. You are going to always have that inner turmoil until you figure that out. If someone is reading this that is in this contemplation or maybe close to doing a career change, I know that they have to go back to contemplation where they assess themselves and all that stuff. You said the second phase is moving into doing more external things. It’s the third. First is the disruption. You are like, “What happened? What’s happening to me that I’m not as excited about this anymore?” Next is the contemplation, and then stage three is discovery, those outer actions. You move between 2 and 3. The real advice I give people is to follow the fun. What lights you up inside? Let that lead you to what’s next for yourself. Sometimes it may lead you to say, “That’s a nice hobby but I don’t think I want to do that.” You don’t sometimes know, so you go out, discover, and find someone you admire that’s doing the work that you are considering. You see if they will do a coffee chat with you or something. I’m about the body compass, using your body as your guide. I believe that’s the real truth-teller. Out of the left-brain stuff, there’s imagination, expanded consciousness, and your body. It’s not only your physical feelings but these spiritual senses that happen like intuition and that thing. You are going out and doing these third-stage discovery actions. First of all, you might become attached to that idea, and then it’s deflating again. You might find yourself back in disruption. You then moved back into contemplation like, “That wasn’t it.” That’s okay. You get to check it off the list and be like, “What else? What’s next? What am I missing?” You are asking these open-ended questions, journaling, and walking around a lake, thinking about, “Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want to serve? How do I want to use what I have to make money because I’m all about making more money?” if that’s important to you and your family at this point. It may or may not. You may have been with those brilliant people who set themselves up well financially. They can explore more of those hobbies or volunteer work and things like that or make money doing a career that serves you and others and feel confident in yourself. I liked the fact that you said a few things about contemplation because when we tell people to contemplate, like, “Figure out what you want to do,” it’s a little bit overwhelming. Some of them are like, “How do I do that?” You said a couple of concrete things. You said journaling. Journaling is big because it’s a matter of you writing out. It’s almost like brain dumping, writing everything out, getting it on paper, and maybe reading over it to see what came out. The second one is walking in nature. I do better walking outside when I don’t have plugs in my ears. I have the ability to talk to God, look at the trees, look at the sky, and get outside of my brain. Sometimes I feel like walking outside but I have stuff on my headphones and listening to a podcast. I’m so busy with the podcast that I miss everything I saw. I was like, “I have no idea how I got home.” Lots of people can relate to that, for sure. It is important to disconnect from stuff being fed into your brain. I love podcasts. I learn a ton but there’s time for that. There’s also a time when it’s just getting quiet and allowing this grander intelligence to guide you. This is an auger shell. There’s a story behind it. I say on my website that I love miracle stories. This is one of mine. If you guys or girls want to know, email me. I will tell you. The point is that when you are out there journaling, walking in nature, and being in meditation, all of a sudden, there’s something you are thinking about, and then there’s an auger shell. That’s a snake runs across your path, and you can make the connection of the metaphoric meaning. To me, those are gold. Metaphors, animals giving you signs, coincidences, and songs on the radios, these are things that when you are quiet and not all the outside stuff going on, all of a sudden, those answers that you have been seeking start to come to you. That’s happened to me so many times. When it happens, you’re like, “That’s why that happens.” You think that it will never happen again but it wants to happen all the time for us. It’s here for us. I love the whole meditation, being quiet, and journaling. All that is great. You also said start talking to people. This is one of the key things. This could be happening even during contemplation. Imagination and creative contemplation are going to be what drive your happiness down the line. – Rosie Zilinskas Click To Tweet It goes back and forth. When you start talking to people and asking questions, you can figure out what you don’t want to do. When you figure out what you don’t want to do, that’s helpful because that starts narrowing the field on what you want to do. Would you agree with that? It’s all about clarity. When you are feeling unclear, there’s nothing wrong with that. It can feel uncomfortable, for sure. Everyone wants to be here but hates what’s in the messy middle. I always say that part of the process of life is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Clarity comes through exploration. Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t make any mistakes. I just found out 1,000 ways not to do that.” That’s what it’s about. Don’t look at it as a waste of time or energy. You keep saying to yourself, “I’m even clearer. That’s good for them. Not for me.” Amy Poehler said that. Talking to people is going to be one thing. Once we moved from the contemplation to stage three, the discovery, what are some concrete things that you can do? You already said, “Hiring a coach is good because we can guide you on what you need to do.” If you want to do it on your own, what are some things that you can do in the discovery? The internet is a great resource. You and I are both very focused on the career side. If you go to the quiz, take the quiz, and happen to be in the discovery stage, it will give you some ideas I can’t even remember now. From the viewpoint of a career, there are informational interviews, using the internet to look up job titles and be like, “What are those job titles? What are those people do?” You then start to think about your transferable skills. There’s this practical side of things. I do an exercise. It’s spiritual but it’s an ideal career. You might start to think, “If I had my ideal career, what would my salary be? Where would I be working? How would I be getting there? Would I be taking the train to Downtown Chicago? Would I be flying a lot? Am I working from my home office? What am I wearing? Who do I see when I walk into my office? Is it on the screen I see Rosie, and she and I are doing our one-on-one check-in for the day? Do I see my journal on my desk where I’m writing?” The salary and the location, how are you doing that? Who are you working with? What are you doing? What are those things that you can get rid of? You are at a perfect place where you can look at these activities and are like, “I used to love managing teams. I’m done with that.” You remove that from the list. You are doing this ideal career, that contemplation but it leads you into, “I’m thinking about my career differently.” That then will point you to, “Who should I talk to? What job titles might I look at? What career coach is best for me now for where I’m at?” It’s because there are great coaches at different places like you and I are. There are lots of similarities as far as our perspectives and how we connect with people but also different skills. Your remarkable career is different than mine. You are looking at that career mission I talked about. What values do you want to make sure the company has that aligned with your values? What mission are they going after that you can fully get behind? You start looking at all of these, then start doing these actions of finding companies that have similar values and missions. Maybe there are social justice missions. Maybe it’s women in tech missions. Maybe it’s technology or whatever. You then start to know, “These are the industries that I want to focus on as I begin this next thing.” Maybe you have been thinking about that side hustle or hobby of yours turning into a real career. Getting a coach that can help you as an entrepreneur might be a good thing or taking some business classes. Maybe it’s time to go back for a certain certification. All of those activities are practical but don’t forget about the magical or spiritual side of building that muscle of your inner compass so that you can almost or definitely discern between, “This is a should.” Even the ego sometimes gets a bad rap but it’s an egoic decision that isn’t necessarily settling in with my true nature. It may sound good on paper but that inner compass is going to be collapsing in on you. Your throat is going to start to close. You are going to feel a pain in the neck. You are like, “What’s happening? The universe is talking.” Listen to your gut because your gut is going to talk to you. If you feel an it-factor in your gut, follow that because it’s trying to tell you something. During that discovery stage, when you are having lots of outer actions, keep coming back to that. You can go back at the end of the day and say, “What did I enjoy about that conversation? What did I like about those job descriptions I was reading? What did I like about those companies? What didn’t I? What are some yellow flags? What do I need to explore more? What are some other questions I need to create during the interview process to make sure that this flag, the thing that came up, is valid? Is it as valid in that I need to ask the question for clarity, and it’s like, ‘Peace?'” Your body compass is the real truth-teller. Use your body as your guide. – Laurie Swanson Click To Tweet I posted an article on LinkedIn. I have been saying to people that once you’re in the interview stage part when you are going to talk to somebody, you need to be able to articulate your worth with massive confidence and conviction. I noticed that you also released an article about the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself,” question. Can you talk a little bit about maybe 1 or 2 things that people can talk to the manager when someone asks them in the interview, “Tell me about yourself?” First and foremost, you are going to get that question, so be ready. As a recruiter who coaches a lot of people, interview prep and having confident interviews, as well as negotiating confidently, that question, “Tell me about yourself,” needs to be clear, succinct, and complete. What happens is that people can get off on a tangent. You have a 30-minute call, and all of a sudden, you’ve spent 5 of those 30 minutes telling them about yourself. It’s about being very clear and spending a few minutes writing. I’m sure in that article that I probably gave a formula. I’m a big formula person. I don’t have it in front of me. When I do my blog, I always like to say, “Try this. Do this.” I’m sure there was a step that said, “Tell me about yourself.” First of all, sometimes they want personal. Sometimes they don’t. You can’t always get a clarifying question in there, “Do you want me to focus on my career a little bit more than that?” They will say, “Tell me all.” You want to be very cognizant of the time because there’s important stuff you want to get to about the job, your skills, and abilities but this is also an important piece. You might say simply, “I went to the University of Texas and got a degree in Business with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems. I was a programmer but it wasn’t my thing. I then got into recruiting.” You are giving very brief. You don’t have to go into all the details. You then end it with, “I can go into more details on any of those points if you like,” and you’ve thrown the ball back to them. In that way, they can continue to guide and direct the interview. You can do that technique throughout the interview process. They ask you, “I see in your resume that you’ve worked on this project. What can you tell me about that?” You don’t want to give too little information where they feel like they are pulling teeth to get info out of you but you don’t want to give so much that the interview gets used up with answering one question. There’s that fine line between those two. I always say that’s a great technique to say, “I can go into more detail if you like. Did that answer your question?” They may have been specifically asking about something that you heard differently. It’s no one’s fault. You just heard it differently than what they were intending. If you’ve now spent ten minutes answering the question different than their intention, now what? That’s my thing. Some people go, “I was born in Chicago, Illinois.” I will look at the clock sometimes. It’s fun because I use this as a boundary-setting exercise on how you gracefully cut someone off. I use it as a coaching moment. I’m like, “We are only to 1996 here. I’ve only got five more minutes.” Along the interviewing thing, a lot of managers or interviewers want to see how you react in a specific situation. What I recommend to people is to go online. There are a million different types of behavioral interview questions. Answer 30 or 50 or something like that if it’s a long period of time. Sit in front of the TV, have the questions, and write them out. The only reason why I asked them to do it is that it gives them ideas of stories that they can pull from their past and write them out. That serves them because when you are asked about a situation, now you have a bank of stories to bring to. It’s such good advice. I always say you want to have the story of a real success achievement story. You also want to have the story where you overcame something. It could even be a result that didn’t quite come as planned but you learned from it if you are having some of those stories in your back pocket. Behavioral interviewing has been around for a long time. Past performance predicts future performance. There’s real truth to that because if you have never been faced with something before, it doesn’t mean you are not super capable of figuring things out. If this company knows they are walking into this, they may want someone who’s seen some of the obstacles and potential pitfalls before. I always say that job description. It’s practicing those stories in general, as you said. It’s a great idea to have 2 or 3 good career stories in your backpack that you can describe succinctly and clearly. Look at that job description. Look at those duties and write next to it, “I did that at ABC company,” and what those outcomes are, “We saved this much time and money. We created an innovation that the company hadn’t thought about. We brought a new line of business that came out of that.” You are looking down the duties and tying your stories to that job description. I tell my candidates, “Get a job description that will serve you through the whole interview process.” They’ve generally spent a lot of time crafting those job descriptions. Sometimes they use an old job description over and over again. That’s super frustrating. Part of the interview process is you will be like, “I went through the job description very thoroughly. Is there anything on there that you feel are the top priorities? I would love to make sure we are addressing them.” Behavioral interviewing is important because past performance predicts future performance. – Laurie Swanson Click To Tweet The interview is very much a back and forth. They are learning about you, and you are learning about them. Having questions is super important, even if you’ve covered everything. You are like, “I don’t even think I can think of another question.” Come up with another question. First of all, it shows engagement and interest. If you can’t think of anything else, ask them about themselves, “What was one thing you wish you would’ve known about this team or company before you joined that you know now? What’s one thing that happily surprised you?” You want to end on a high note, “What was the best advice you got in your career?” You can always say, “Why are you still here?” What is your fourth stage in your process? It’s career love. You either are there now. You are the person that isn’t necessarily pursuing new opportunities. You are going home, and that glass of wine is super satisfying. It’s not numbing you. It’s more joyful. I don’t drink but I know that can be a real pleasure. Unfortunately, now, it’s just the numbing substance you are using. It ruins the wine. You might be that person that is happily engaged in their work, loving the project that they are on or the projects that they are doing, the team, and the mission of their company. You might be loving that stuff, yet there’s more you can do. First of all, you want to continue to keep career advancement on the radar screen. That’s I know where you will come in. How do they keep making sure that they are getting access to the right people, getting on glamour projects, and those things? You want to continue to do that. You may look at ways to give back. I mentored for the Chicago Executives’ Club and Chicago Innovation, looking at opportunities to mentor and guide those that are coming up behind you, especially women. It is so important. When you are in that stage of career love, giving back is an opportune time to do that. It’s not saying you want to do it all the time but that’s a great time to think about extending outside of advancing your career and giving back to your company but looking a little broader. Think about the things that are bringing you joy now. Make sure that your life balance is there. I call it work-life alignment. You may have climbed the ladder a little bit. That’s okay. You don’t build a business, and maybe you do but I did it with smarter people than I. It was everything to me but I loved it. I would think, “I need something on that wall. I’m going out picture shopping this weekend. I’m going to go to some art galleries.” It’s something like that to, “Our employee manual is deficient, and I want to start to update that or hire a firm to help me update that.” It’s all-consuming but at some point, if you are experiencing some of those draining energies, maybe work is taking up too much. When you are in a career love, explore hobbies, go on trips, spend time with family, and figure that out because there may be a time when you are in stage one, and you have created this full and complete life for yourself. That stage one will not throw you off your center at all. It will be like, “I now get a chance to do something different. How exciting is that?” That difference could be 80% of what you are already doing but there’s that 20% you have a chance to have some agency over. It’s fun. I love all that. I want to point out that it’s important for me as well to bring women that are coming up behind me because my whole mission is women supporting women. There’s this author. Her name is Rachel Hollis. She said, “Women that don’t support women should go to hell.” It’s important for us, especially since I’m in the bottom half of my career. I am passionate about helping other women coming up and knowing they have to advocate for themselves because some people may be in career love but they don’t know how to get to that next level. That’s where I’ve come in about making sure you advocate for yourself, having advocates, sponsors, and all that good stuff. We don’t know what we don’t know. That’s how coaches are so awesome and mentors and sponsors within your organization. Use all of those resources as women. We want to help. It’s going to serve you, and you can serve others. Laurie, this has been an amazing conversation. I am going to ask you. If you can think of two concrete things that someone can use in their careers, two tips that you think would be useful to someone that is in, “I’m not 100% happy with my career. What can I do?” Can you give me two actionable items that people can use?Laurie, this has been an incredible conversation. I hope it has been helpful for many of you. I am going to have all of Laurie’s contact information on the NoWomanLeftBehind.com website. Laurie, any final words? On the practical side, talk to someone like a career coach or an old boss, and get some support in where you are at, and then trust the process is the more unpractical in some ways. It’s difficult sometimes to believe that you are being held through this process but you are. The things that you need are coming to you. The doors will be opening. The people, resources, and all those things are coming to you and are available to you when you can detach from the outcome and rest in the process. It isn’t passive. There are actions. The more connected you are to your body compass, the more you will know like, “This is a time to rest. This is a time to act.” You will be more and more clear in yourself. That’s it. Get support from women like Rosie, reconnect with your essential self, and allow that to guide you forward. Laurie, this has been an incredible conversation. I hope it has been helpful for many of you. I am going to have all of Laurie’s contact information on the NoWomanLeftBehind.com website. Laurie, any final words? Thank you for what you are doing. Keep doing it. The more goodness we put in the world, the better.
—What a great conversation with Laurie Swanson. I told you that if you are thinking of switching careers, Laurie would be the perfect person to guide you to your next career. We went through the four cycles of the career transition. Each cycle in and of itself is so valuable. Once you get to the career love stage as she had said, it’s not a time for you to stop. The difference between Laurie’s coaching and my coaching is that she can help you figure out what your passion the true nature from withinhow you can use that true nature to match that career you love. That’s what we are all about. We are trying to find a career where you are happy and fulfilled. Whereas for me, I’m not so much on people helping find their passion but once you find the career you love, I help you move up that corporate ladder. That’s the difference between Laurie’s coaching and my coaching. To wrap this episode up, I’m going to recap the two tips that Laurie provided us. The first one, she said, “Talk to a career coach.” I’m going to be biased towards that. Meaning get the support that you need. Sometimes you don’t know how to get to that next level without talking to someone that can help, support, and coach you. Tip number two is to trust the process. I get and realize that this is not an actionable tip but it is still valuable because, as what Laurie said, you are being held through the process. The things that you need are coming to you. One of the things I always hear is, “Things are happening for you, not to you.” That’s what she means by that. Trust the process. Know that you are going to be exactly where you are supposed to be. I’m going to add tip number three on there. Continue to meditate because when you meditate, you let those creative juices come around. Like I was talking to Laurie in the episode, sometimes, when I go for a walk listening to a podcast, I miss the time when I can be creative and think about ideas because I’m so focused on the podcast. I have been trying to walk outside without listening to anything. Be in nature. Appreciate the trees, flowers, sky, my dog, and whatever is happening around me. With that, I hope that you enjoy this conversation. Laurie is amazing. All of her contact information is going to be on my website, NoWomanLeftBehind.com. If you have any topics or ideas that you want me to cover, please send me an email or DM. I’m on LinkedIn. All of my contact information is on my website as well. With that, remember to be brave, bold, and take action.
- inspiHER Tech
- The Big Leap
- The Four Stages of a Career Change Cycle
- The Divine Comedy
- Article – 4 Steps to Advance in Your Career: the final step
- Article – Manifest What You Want In 2018
- LinkedIn – Rosie Zilinskas