At a Career Crossroads? Make Space to Reflect

My mom was battling cancer for a number of years when I was first introduced to a lineage of yoga called Mysore. The first week of my Mysore yoga practice brought lightness in my steps as I glided into the office. Despite all the chaos in my life, the yoga practice made me feel calm and at peace.

The more I stepped onto my mat I felt at ease and gained more clarity. Despite this, I avoided Mysore for a number of years. It brought about changes that I knew I needed to make and I wasn’t ready. I feared sitting with my own thoughts. It was scary hearing my inner voice so clearly. And naturally, I ran the other direction.

My inner voice had told me a number of things that I needed to do at the time:

  • Be kinder to myself

  • Spend more time with my family

  • Stop thinking and decide what to do

  • Change my routine to get new perspectives

  • Take a break and re-evaluate my career path

Recently, I returned to my Mysore practice. My physical practice looks hideous since I’ve had to modify many poses due to multiple injuries. But it’s the breath married with movement that centres me the most. The breath calms my mind even though my body screams at me. This practice forced me to focus on the present.

Making career decisions are hard:

  • When’s a good time to ask for a raise?

  • How do I know if it’s time for a second career?

  • How can I approach my boss about leading a new project?

  • What can I do when I retire?

The clients that I work with are at various life stages: from new grads to senior level professionals. And what I’ve learned from each of them is that everyone is learning or growing. There’s a sense of humility and willingness to take on challenges with each of them.

Common thoughts that we’re faced with when we make decisions. What if:

It took me over a year to make some tough career decisions that felt natural to me and step off the career path that I was on.

Many people thought I was crazy while some thought I made a brave decision to quit a full-time job. To me, I like to simply think of it as making a choice to finally take action. I sat on the fence for too long and it was delaying the true path I wanted to take deep down.

By deciding to quit my job, I gave up:

  • Pension and benefits

  • A steady stream of income

  • An accelerated career path that I worked hard to establish

  • My work identity

By choosing to listen to my inner voice, I gained:

  • Freedom and flexibility

  • Space to reflect and time to gain clarity about what I want to do

  • Time with family

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to quit your job to get clarity or that you need to integrate a yoga practice in your life to find your inner voice. You can find time to reflect in whatever format that fits your lifestyle.

Change requires you to recognize your fears and insecurities, and to confront your emotions and this may feel uncomfortable.

Ask yourself, how would you describe your readiness to:

  • Embrace the process of change and decision making

  • Accept your present situation and actually start making changes

ACTION: What can you do to create space for yourself to reflect and manage your emotional health?