Monday, February 8, 2016

Passion - the holy grail

In grade 3, I wanted to be a mystery writer of the gory and strange. By grade 6, I wanted to write plays. By grade 10, it was movies (I had an Oscar outfit all picked out). By college, I wanted to be a musician. By the end of college, I wanted to be a psychologist. By the end of university, I wanted to teach Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature. I dropped out of my first Masters' degree in Lit to be a touring stage manager and assistant director.... last year I was head of infrastructure planning for trading in finance. Careers don't always follow a straight line.

I was/am passionate about all my choices. I'm still a writer. I still study psych. I no longer play in an orchestra but I write music. My daily paycheque is in technology, being creative to help drive change and strategy.

I understand, from talking with my peers, that none of them knew what they wanted to be in the early years. I was lucky; I knew my goal. If you're like many of my friends... or my son and his friends... it's less about passion and more about aptitude. (What can we do well enough that someone will pay us so we can have a life?)

I believe we all have passions in our lives. Baking. Cooking. Running. Old movies. Sports. Woodworking... we call them hobbies. We love them enough to devote time and money to them. These activities refresh us, inspire us and keep us sane.

Lately, it seems like everyone is being told to "find your passion" and be reassured "the money will follow."  That's not always true. Circumstances (health, family, etc.) can get in the way. Sometimes you just are not sure what drives you at a particular time of your life. It can feel unattainable - the holy grail of opportunity.

Sometimes you have to construct passion.

I believe we can find a little something for ourselves in anything we do... if we understand what motivates us.

Over the next few Monday blogs, I'll lay out an exercise I constructed to help identify what gets us out of bed to go to work or helps to identify a new opportunity for ourselves.

If you don't know your passion, you only need to know how to ask yourself questions.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Feminist - a dirty word?

Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has been in the news a lot of late. He gets critiqued for being "too pretty," "too young," or "too trendy." It's like he's a woman and the world is trying to lessen his messages by wondering aloud how such a package could be taken seriously.

Then he says that - male or female - folks should not be afraid to stand up and be feminists. Go Justin!

Yet, just read the comments this GlobalNews article garnered.  Frightened. Angry. Dismissive. I wonder that we live in a world that can denigrate half the population. Plus shout down any who speak up.

Then someone walked by me in the underground yesterday and groped me on his way past while I stood talking with three other gentlemen.

Yes, we need to speak up. Yes, we need feminists. Yes, it's really the 21st century.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Time for a change

We own our careers. There are tools to help and people to support us but, ultimately, the choices and decisions are ours.

It may not always feel that way when trying to prove something to a new manager/sponsor/peer about what we can/cannot do. It definitely is harder to remember who holds the power during year end reviews, requests for promotions/increases/assignments.

Motivation comes from us... ourselves... Other folks can put tools in our path but ultimately, those tools only matter if it strikes the right chord for the time/place/mindset in which we find ourselves at certain points in our careers.

Money, recognition, and challenge are the three common buckets from which we can draw to motivate ourselves. We have all made decisions about joining/staying/leaving based on these factors. These offers from our jobs mesh (or don't) with our own work ethic, sense of self (at the time) and drive (which also can fluctuate).

I spent a lot of time reflecting on the above during the holidays. It's time for me to challenge myself to get the piece I've always been the most reluctant to request. It's time to be honest with myself about what I want to do and how. It's time to go out into the world and find my next job that will shape the coming decade.

I love what I do. It's time to say it proudly, publicly and go big!

Scary? Absolutely. Necessary? Maybe. Exciting? Yes. Gets me thinking and feeling proud of my attitude?  Totally.

If I say this to mentorees, then I should walk my talk. If we can say the above about ourselves and our careers, then that's a great place to start the search!