The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

235: Your Past Doesn't Define You: A Guide to Reframing Your Career Journey

March 26, 2024 John Neral Season 4
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
235: Your Past Doesn't Define You: A Guide to Reframing Your Career Journey
Show Notes Transcript

We all have a past! Some of it you are proud of, and some of it, well….come on, we all have something we regret or wish we could have done over again. But in this episode, I want to explore how much of your past you are bringing into your job search/leadership. 

Trauma is real.

Successes are amazing. 

And your past doesn’t define you. 

In this episode, I’ll teach you a powerful self-coaching strategy that will help you get better at telling your story and why your past is something you learn from and shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about. And when you implement this strategy, you’ll transform your storytelling and you’ll build Your Mid-Career GPS to find that job you love. 


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Speaker 1:

We all have a past. Some of it we're proud of and some of it well. Yeah, we wish we could go back and do some things over again, or maybe we have a regret or two, but in this episode, I want to explore with you how much of your past you are bringing into your current job search or leadership. Look, trauma is real, Successes are absolutely amazing and your past does not define you. In this episode, I will teach you one powerful self-coaching strategy that will help you get better at telling your story and why. Your past is something you learn from and shouldn't spend too much time worrying about. And when you implement this strategy, you will transform your storytelling and you will build your mid-career GPS to find that job you'll love. Let's get started.

Speaker 1:

Hello, my friends, this is the Mid-Career GPS podcast and I'm your host, John Narrell. I help mid-career professionals find the job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. Before we get into the episode, I want to share two free resources that I have for you. One is my mid-career jobseekers checklist and the other is joining my twice-weekly career and leadership newsletter. When you join my email community by downloading my checklist or subscribing to my newsletter, you get specific mid-career information that is relevant right now to your career path and journey. Plus, you'll be the first to hear about special events and programs before I announce it anywhere else. To join or download that checklist, all you need to do is visit my website at johnnarrellcom, check the show notes or my featured section on LinkedIn, and let's start building your mid-career GPS right now.

Speaker 1:

One of the things that is holding you back from going after your next advancement opportunity is some kind of baggage that you're holding on to from your past. It could be something that's causing you to take a while to find that new job, or it's your belief that you are a job hopper and that's a horrible thing. Years ago, that was a big deal in today's market, Not as much Getting fired from a previous position. Maybe you were laid off from your previous employer, or you were given feedback that you believed to be true, or maybe you worked for a toxic boss. Whatever it is, here's the thing what's happened in your past is just that it's part of your past and it doesn't define you.

Speaker 1:

Did you know that I got quote, unquote let go from my first job after college? Yeah, in the education world, what they say is your contract is not being renewed? But because I wasn't going to pursue a graduate degree and this was part of the contract. It was one of the reasons why my contract was not renewed. It wasn't performance based. I just wasn't a good fit for them anymore and I remember I felt like a failure here. I was my first job out of college and two years afterward I no longer have this position.

Speaker 1:

I've shared this story in a previous episode, but I want you to know is that at the time I had to do a lot of work around the signs that I missed what I had control over and what I would do differently if I was faced with a similar situation. But being let go from an organization is absolutely traumatic, especially when you don't see it coming. But here's one of my big takeaways from that. It was that job with that employer and that boss, and I was also 24 years old. As I progressed through my career, I learned more things, I had more experiences and I chose not to let that circumstance to find me and my value, let alone my worth. One of the things that happened after that job is I pursued some different opportunities. I worked for several temporary staffing agencies. I took a job within the bowling industry for a very short period of time and when I realized how much I missed teaching, I went and got my graduate degree and multiple certifications and ended up teaching in a wonderful district for 14 years. Had I let those circumstances and events from that first teaching position define me, I might have never found my way back into a classroom teaching and educational administrators position, solely because I let that one circumstance define me.

Speaker 1:

So how did I move past it and how can I help you move past it? Well, here is the one self-coaching strategy I wanna offer you today, and it's by asking yourself this question Did that event happen to you or for you? Think about it. Did that event happen to you or for you? How you answer that question will help you figure out how you wanna move on from that experience. So here's what I want you to do, and if you're driving or you're running at this point, come back to this so you can actually do this exercise and do it safely.

Speaker 1:

But if you are listening to this with me right now, I want you to go ahead and take out a sheet of paper. I'm gonna offer you to actually write this down as opposed to typing it. But if you need to type it or capture it in your smartphone, that's certainly okay too. But when you think about that event from your past that you're holding onto with some type of emotion be it shame or regret, embarrassment, frustration, disappointment, whatever that is I want you to write down that event at the top of the page and underneath of it, I want you to list all of the things that happened. You may wanna take a moment and pause the podcast right now as you do this brain dump of all of the things that happened around this event.

Speaker 1:

Keep in mind that no thought is too trivial or less important. I want you to capture all of the details here. Once you've done that, you're going to go back and look at each line on that piece of paper, everything that you've written down, and ask yourself did this happen to me or for me? And with that, you're going to look at each of those things and ask yourself how you're different because of it. Are you better because it happened to you? Are you worse off? Take each thought and ask yourself is it true? Is it true? Is it a fact? So one of the things that I had to do in this exercise was am I a horrible teacher? The answer to that was no. I had great evaluations, a proven track record that had nothing to do with my dismissal.

Speaker 1:

So when you go through and you identify the facts and the thoughts, you will then identify where your work is. What do you need to work on and, when you think about that work, why is that work important to you? What is that work going to get you? If you've been let go because you were deficient in a particular skill or you didn't have a certain skill set that was needed for the job, part of your work may be actively working at closing that skill gap. How you close that skill gap can be through a variety of places, from getting a graduate degree, obtaining a certification, taking some online courses, getting some kind of in-house training or some of the other outlets and portals that are online for you to be trained in certain things. But you wanna go through this list and identify the things that you believe you need to work on and why that's going to make you quote unquote better. Now, when I'm saying the word better here, I want you to imagine this in air quotes, because better can mean a lot of different things. Better may mean you are more marketable, more talented, you are adding more value, you have more technical expertise. I want you to get clear about what better actually means for you and once you've gone through line by line and you've identified each of those things and whether or not they are factual or not, and how did they make you better or worse quote, unquote you can look at this exercise in its totality and ask yourself did that event that I listed at the top of the page happen to me or for me?

Speaker 1:

I will tell you in the heat of the moment and I have gone back and thought about this extensively but when I was 24, I thought that happened to me. I was angry and upset and frustrated and I felt like a complete and total failure. But what I learned as I navigated through that and certainly as I've looked at my career to this point, that was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my career. I learned so much from that experience and I can look back on it with a tremendous amount of gratitude. Is that event happening for me? Because there were things I was supposed to learn?

Speaker 1:

I will often ask my private coaching clients when they bring up situations that have happened to them in their career. What have you learned from it? Did that event happen to you or for you? What's the biggest takeaway from that event? As you go through and you do this exercise, here's the takeaway I want to offer for you. Your past is just that A blip on the radar or an event that happened to you where you didn't get along with a particular boss or you were terminated or you were laid off from an organization. That is merely a page, Maybe a chapter at most, in your career story. It is an experience and a circumstance that you have and will continue to learn from, because it is shaping you into who you are today, and you can either let it define you, destroy you or let it help you evolve. As I shared, getting fired or being let go from my first job was truly one of the best things that ever happened to me, because of what I learned from that experience, how I have learned to keep my finger on the pulse of where I was at within various organizations, how to solicit better feedback and also to make sure that I was supposed to learn something from that whole experience. That event absolutely happened for me With this is episode 235, with 235 episodes of this podcast, you have an opportunity to look at these things along your mid-career journey and determine whether these events are happening to you or for you.

Speaker 1:

And if they are happening for you, what are you learning? What are you taking away from those experiences? How do they make you a better employee, a better manager, leader, executive, wherever you are in that? That is the gold in building your mid-career GPS, because you are here in this moment because of the totality of your personal and professional experiences, and that is why we keep coming back each and every time to build your mid-career GPS to whatever is next. So I'm going to ask you to do me a favor here. If this episode was helpful and you enjoyed it, would you do me a favor and share it with somebody? Send them the link to the episode, tell them about the podcast.

Speaker 1:

More and more each week we're getting more people coming in and listening to the show and I am so grateful for that. That is because of people like you who continue to spread that message. Don't forget to check out my website at johnnarrellcom. You can download that mid-career GPS checklist. Also, join my email community. It'd be wonderful to have you there.

Speaker 1:

And lastly, remember this you will build your mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how you show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day and I will see you shortly with another incredible interview and guest on the mid-career GPS podcast. Until then, take care of my friends, be well and be safe. See you next time. Bye. Thank you for listening to the mid-career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcast. Visit johnnarrellcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnnarrellCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.