Creating an internal profile as powerful as your external profile
Beth was considering a career move. Natasha hoped to reenter the workforce after caring for young children. Barb was retiring and looking for supplementary financial opportunities.
Each of these women faced upcoming transitions triggered by a variety of events. They shared a desire for change and were looking to find a renewed sense of purpose. What they also shared was a lack of structure for exploring their transitions. They longed for a process and dedicated time to do the internal work that would positively impact their next life chapter.
When facing a professional transition, many people focus on updating their resumes and Linkedin profiles, and nurturing professional networks – all of which are important steps for exploring career opportunities. However, far more time is typically spent preparing one’s external profile without sufficient time preparing one’s internal profile.
I recently facilitated a workshop for high-level technology executives in transition. I started the session by saying, “I’m not here to talk about the perfect language for your resume or elevator speech. I’m here to talk about your internal state – what really motivates you, what elements from past chapters you want to carry forward, what negative chatter infiltrates your thinking, what kernels of hope reside deep inside of you, and what criteria you use for making your next professional and personal decision.” They sat rapt. Their comments following the workshop ranged from “No one has talked to us about these things,” to “I’ve haven’t considered some of these important factors in my professional search.”
When we operate on the surface with out taking stock of our internal state, we can be short sighted. Because transition is a transformative process, as opposed to a simple change in external circumstances, it requires a deeper sense of awareness, heightened attention, and a commitment to challenging our assumptions. Transition requires us to look for new opportunities and hone in on intuitive nudges that inform decision-making. It requires time and energy, and our internal state is powerful fuel for transition.
The truth is, an informed transition is an investment – of time, money, and commitment. It demands reflection, honesty and action. It’s not something someone can do for you, like editing your LinkedIn profile or polishing your resume. It’s work only you can do.
Such transitions require a commitment of dedicated time; not time spent in fits and bursts with lulls in between, but time spent in a steady march of discovery, insights, planning and action. Creating dedicated time for working through this process is challenging for many women who balance the demands of work, family, service to their communities, and other priorities.
Successful transitions may also require a coordinated process. This process can begin with a clear inventory of where you are today. It includes strategies for envisioning different pathways for moving forward and tactical approaches for evaluating these pathways. It involves approaches for building a team of support, especially when you feel isolated and alone in the transition process. And it includes checks and balances to ensure you build momentum and maintain your energy during the process.
Dedicating time and commitment to a process is an investment. It’s no different than a company that invests in growth opportunities by ensuring a line-item budget for research and development. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet recently stated, “Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself.”
Yet women are often reluctant to dedicate resources to their growth and development. Author and speaker, Brian Tracy, suggests people invest 3% of their income on personal/professional development.
What would it look like if you invested in yourself this way?
The advertising world does a great job convincing women to invest in material goods. $99 for a pair of nice work shoes is standard. A $250 investment in a suit, shoes and accessories for a job interview is reasonable. Yet, what might similar investments in your ‘internal closet’ provide?
How are you investing in ways that allow you to match your internal sense of self with your polished, external presence?
We invite you to explore our website for blogs, articles, processes and resources to support your transition as you create your next life chapter.