In the last couple of years I’ve been focused on laying down the first draft of my memoir while also working on a pre-production draft of a documentary, so you could say that I’ve been deeply involved in peeling away layers.
But while peeling away layers, I was launching an online learning site and physically moving out of California after living in one of my favorite coastal towns for five years, leaving the Bay Area after residing in Silicon Valley since the mid-sixties has been a huge life change.
Going through all these changes will get a person thinking and reflecting, especially given that I’m now in what Ray Dalio, author of Principles: Life and Work, refers to as the third phase of a life’s arc.
I’m already aware of my need to shake things up every two years—I become bored and creatively restless. I also know that I pay a dear price if I ignore my intuition and allow two years to pass without reinventing myself. Creativity is a horrible thing to waste. It’s no fun having your creative side go underground where it can sabotage the status quo and where your peripheral vision shrinks to the size of a pea. You don’t consider (and may not even see) creative options. In other words, you become less in control of your choices.
I actually began the process of peeling away the layers of my professional life over a decade ago because I was curious about understanding the peaks and valleys of my career during the previous twenty years.This evidence-based research took me weeks to complete, literally a deep dive into the triggers associated with career twists and turns, highlights and lowlights.
What I discovered during this process was that my setbacks typically occurred within three years after I started a new job or accepted a new role or position. Coming up to year number two was where boredom would set in, about the time when an intuitive sense would surface letting me know that change was in the air for me.
It’s when I pass my two-year marker—my inflection point— that discontentment is felt more forcefully, a vulnerable time when I’m more at risk of making rash decisions and blindly forcing myself to make a change (or someone making it for me).
What I didn’t recognize at the time, though, was that I had a personal marker as well—five years to my professional marker of two years.
What does this mean?
Although I’m able to manage my professional life by reinventing myself ahead of the curve—before reaching my two year marker—my personal marker is often driven by external events or experiences that directly or indirectly impact me. What might this look like? Deaths of family members, close friends or pets, involuntary loss of a job, a divorce, or something of historical importance like an economic upheaval, an environmental disaster, or technological innovations that disrupt society.
It’s true that my reinventions every two years don’t always result in transformative change, but it’s my five-year personal markers that have the real potential for transformative change if I’m willing to look inward and do a deeper dive into the arc of my personal story.
So I went back to review my 20-year timeline. I was looking for personal events that were outside my control and the events or situations that I chose not to influence. A time when I wasn’t paying close attention to the undercurrents or I wasn’t connecting the right dots. Had I intervened on behalf of myself (knowing what I now know), I could have transformed the arc of my personal story.
A Defining Moment
So when an engineer pal of mine asked me for help in doing something different in her career, once we sat down to discuss what she was looking for, it’s evident that she absolutely wants to shake up her career. But she also needs a powerful change story. Her psychic need to transform the arc of her life and become the heroine of her own story is knocking loudly at the door.
Does this sound like you? If it does, I’d like for you to seriously consider registering for our Seeding Change Renewal 2019 cohort, a four-month intensive that kicks off in September where you’ll focus on reinventing your professional life, while learning how to recognize your own intuitive markers (professionally and personally), and where you’ll have one of your best chances in 2019 to transform the arc of your life story. Become the heroine or hero of your own life.