So glad that you’re on this journey with me.

Why this matters

Who cares if you show up for these questions? What’s the whole point?

Years ago, probably on NPR (it wasn’t on Krista Tippett’s show, but it would certainly fit there — wish I could remember the exact source because it’s nice to give accurate attribution), I heard an interview with an activist nun. I’m paraphrasing here, but here’s the essence of what she said:

Everyone has an immediate answer to the question of what we’d do if we won the lottery. We’ve all dreamed about it. But very few of us have a ready answer for how we’ll spend our most precious resource, one that we already have: our time.

Your time, how you spend your days, your energy, how you show up in the world — that’s the whole point of these 100 days.

Whether you feel like you’re staring at a blank canvas or you already have some ideas shaping up, perhaps like images through a fog, these questions will move you towards intention about how you spend your time, particularly your work time and your income-generating time.

Here’s a question before we get to the 100 questions

Before we dive into the questions, let’s set the framework for what you want to get out of these next 100 days of questions and reflection. You’re communicating with your highest self, and the purpose that you set for this process will guide you both consciously and unconsciously to create what you most want from it.

What do you want, from the deepest part of yourself, to emerge from these 100 days of reflection?

Allow yourself to respond with the timing and process that works best for you. And get to know your own process of responding to these questions:

  • do you have an immediate visceral response?
  • do you want to sit with the question in meditation?
  • will you carry them through your day and allow inspiration to visit you?
  • are you an extrovert with a craving to talk to people and hear yourself throw out ideas?
  • do you want to generate 10 possible answers, knowing that you’ll get closer and closer to your truth the more you write?

Honor yourself, and if you don’t know the best way to access your inner wisdom, experiment.

What to do if you draw a blank

As you engage with this framework question and also the questions that follow on subsequent days, you may notice that you seize up sometimes.

If you’re worried that you won’t produce a response that feels true or if you’re struggling to come up with ANY response, know that you’re not alone. This part of yourself is absolutely welcome in this space.

Ask yourself how you want to engage with the part of yourself that feels stuck. What do you usually do to tune into your inner voice? Use techniques that you already know that work for you. And please share in the comments below any tips you have for people when they find themselves stuck.

Here are some ideas from me about how to approach paralysis with this framework question and any questions that follow:

  • Pick a handful of archetypes (the orphan, the hero, the caregiver, the explorer, the rebel, the creator, the lover, the jester, the sage, the magician, the ruler) and imagine how each one of them would respond. Write from the voice of these archetypes and see which ones resonate for you.
  • Start a stream-of-consciousness writing. Commit to writing X amount (100 words, 500 words, whatever you think will get you to where you want to be), and just let your fingers or your pen fly. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, describes a journaling technique called Morning Pages that captures this approach well.
  • Talk to people about the question. What are their responses? What do you notice rising up in you as you hear other people answer the question? Envy? Judgment? Resonance? Just notice. Plus, try talking to several different people and answering the question in wildly different ways. What do you notice in yourself as you’re talking? What do you want others’ response to be? Look for playful engagement and see what arises.
#career #100DaystoCareerClarity #wisdomfromMotherNature

When I freeze up as I’m facing big questions, I walk to the river behind my house. No headphones, no input except the world around me. I’m embarrassed to say this, but I sometimes ask the trees for answers. Mother Nature: she is wise.


And now, for today’s question!

Here’s where we start with our questions:

How did you end up here in your current work situation? Start at the beginning.

The first place I go when I begin to answer this question is to the role of victim because I see my environment (the global economy), the people around me (raising children and the resulting logistics, for example), and the place where I live (rumor has it that Fort Collins has the best educated hotel maids in the country because people will do anything to live here) as the defining variables in how I got to where I am. And it’s true that the question is phrased a bit passively and that we’re affected by external factors.

And my invitation to you is to answer the question from the perspective of the creator of your life rather than the victim. What are the goals you went after? Where did you make strategic decisions?

It may be helpful to write 2 responses: one from a “life is imposed on me” perspective and another from “I’m driving my own bus” perspective. Play with how you respond and see what emerges.

I want to hear from you!

Really, no kidding, I want to hear your answer to these beginning questions. Partly because I have this “is anyone listening?” gremlin. And also because I want to compile responses to include in a book with these questions. Plus, I sincerely want to know what you have to say. Write to me: careerdesignandcoaching at gmail dot com.

PS-Most of the notes you’ll get on the other 99 days are MUCH shorter. Lots to say in the kickoff here.


8 Responses

  1. After finding no open doors with a BA and a Masters degree, I felt led to teach Spanish – a great way to have a real job doing something that excited me! Nearing completion of that first year, my wife and I decided that we needed a long-term sustainable solution that would free her up to raise our future kids. With a second Masters degree in hand, I launched into a technical career with HP. After 5 years, it looked like the specific work and the market itself would not continue to provide, so I adjusted to be closer to customers (as a systems engineer). When Carly launched 20,000 of us to re-discover ourselves in 2002, I decided on project/program management. I have been riding that roller coaster ever since – experimenting with alternative pursuits in consulting and interpretation/translation along the way. 2+ dEcadas, 1 pArafo.

  2. How did you end up here in your current work situation? Start at the beginning.

    Life Imposed on me – I needed to keep full time work with good benefits to support my family- I am the income person. I was at a nonprofit I cared about a lot, and things were changing and my current job was moving to another city- Also I had to keep a job to support my family- there was to my mind, no space for ‘not working’ for any period of time

    I’m driving my own bus –
    I was lucky there was an opening in a diff division – that was still in my city – the new job I applied for would stretch my knowledge and experience in compassion, caring about others, along with having a boss who I used to work for who I really liked a lot.
    If I kept my old job (which turns out – was deleted from the organization) then I would be super stressed about working with/for untrustworthy management who I had great difficulty w/their meanness, nastiness and what I felt inappropriate way they treated many staff who were not their ‘pets’ – using my words on that.

    I”m not much of a writer, but I really am looking forward to having this opportunity to have this guidance to just WRITE and then at some point start to make a better picture of myself on this journey that isn’t so scared of change that I lock my self up-

  3. How did you end up here in your current work situation? Start at the beginning.

    Well, I do not know where to begin. I was lucky enough to obtain my current job through LinkedIn after disabling my profile many times. The director was impressed with my skills and thought I would be trainable in the field of career counseling. I was in the process of completing my masters in social work and did not know what I wanted to do; however, I have aspirations to teach at the university level so when the opportunity came to break into higher education I took it an ran! This is my first professional job and it has been quite the learning curve. The skills I once thought ruled my values and interest were a big “no-no” here where I worked. People were questioning my skills and abilities to work in this sort of environment and I was beginning to think so as well.

    Luckily, with the help of an amazingly supportive supervisor, I was able to change their attitudes towards my professionalism and make a great turnaround earning the support of executive level administrators and other faculty/staff on campus.

    While I do not have much of a story to tell, I am thankful to be able to share this with you all. I am a first-generation minority woman and it is great to finally have the confidence to work in a professional world when my thoughts leave me in the K-12 range.

    Thanks for allowing me to share with you all,

  4. Stephanie says:

    I’m currently unemployed
    Own Bus:
    I’ve become more and more picky about the jobs I take, realizing that while I will put myself in a position that will challenge me and make me at times uncomfortable, I don’t want to do something that is so against my nature that I will be miserable. I want to put myself in a place where I am doing good for both myself and the world.

    Funding ran out on previous project and politics of some folks who feared the outcomes created hostile environment to the project.

  5. I am very lucky. I have only a GED, and I’m currently the office manager/legal assistant at a law firm. I worked retail for many years, and was hired by a fellow school parent to do “some office work” for him. It turns out that I’m good at it, and I love doing it, and in the past 14 years, have worked in 4 offices. However, this still isn’t what I want to do “forever”, and so I’m starting back to school for the spring semester, with no clear vision of what it will be in the end. I feel called to law/policy research, but it will be a very long part-time road, so I’m not sure what will happen.

  6. I just wrote 800+ words on this, but won’t torture you by posting it all here. The summary:

    I fell into my current career because I was good at the work, ambitious enough to accept more responsibility, but not credentialed enough to make huge leaps. My behavior has been half passive and responding to circumstances, and half aggressively seeking out new challenges.

  7. I’m currently a Paraplanner, I sit in front of a computer all day, writing financial plans. I’m a qualified & registered financial planner but every company I work for (5 so far in 7 years) wants to pay an average wage & give me commissions based on performance. I don’t want to be a ‘sales’ person, I want to help people without the product bias. The industry is trying to change this ‘sales’ perception, but it has a long way to go, it doesn’t suit my values.
    8 years ago, I was a single mum, left a bad marriage with a husband who was a gambler. I returned to uni cause I thought by increasing my education, I would also increase my wage – and yes I’ve tripled it.
    I did a business degree, started out doing a HR major, cause I’m a people person but changed to financial planning after doing an elective (for personal financial literacy) because I excelled in this area.
    So now I earn good money but I sit in front of a computer all day, it’s sucking the life out of me, I need people contact. I’m enrolled to start a psychology degree at uni next semester but it’s a big ask, another 6 years of part time study while working full time & raising my 2 teenage daughters, I just don’t know if I’ve got the stamina to keep going.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Access My Dropbox