Clean Slaters

We all dream about starting over. But how many of us do it?

What does it take to wipe the slate clean? To move forward with intention?

When it comes to work, there’s an alchemy of forces that converge to create a seismic shift.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take vision. It doesn’t take vows. It doesn’t take force. It doesn’t take harsh determination. It doesn’t take ripping up the fabric of your life.

It does take an admission: the status quo isn’t working.

It takes introspection, a deep dive into our own patterns and drivers and triggers and patterns of self-sabotage.

It takes a village, too. A village of people willing to champion you, to mirror back to you your brilliance, your foibles, and your essence. A village of people who walk alongside you instead of a village of fixers. That village needs to have critical mass so that when we let one another down or stumble (as all of us do at one time or another), there’s another soul to turn to with a question, a request, or simply some heartfelt connection.

To assemble that village, it takes engagement, truth-telling, big girl panties (or just big person panties), and a willingness to integrate new learning about your own resonance and dissonance, your own needs and desires, your own edges, your own style, and your own drivers.

The ingredients of a fulfilling career are simple:

  • Purpose: impact, meaning, ripple, contribution
  • Mastery: expertise, prowess, skill
  • Autonomy: freedom (time freedom, freedom to select projects, to go in the direction of your choice, and to shape your own path)
  • Creative Expression: traditional art, juicy ideas coming to fruition, translation of hypotheses to experimentation
  • Connection: both internally and externally
  • Protection: status, power, money

Here’s the thing, though: that list may be simple, but it’s also highly individual, and the rank order of what we elevate to the top of our priority list shifts.

Also (and this is not a small dimension of the process), there’s the question of where there’s overlap between your rank-ordering and personal expression of this list and where the market is heading. Where can you make a viable living? What are people willing to pay for? Where do you have to be and how do you need to present yourself in order to command that income? Basically, what’s the Venn Diagram overlap between the fullest expression of you and the market?

So that is what it takes to wipe the slate of your career clean. You know the outline, now let’s get to the specifics: the process.

I might come across as a little too enthusiastic about the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. I’ll admit that it’s captivated me with its useful activities (such as the Good Times Journal, mind maps, and Odyssey Plans) and groundbreaking concepts (such as gravity problems, anchor problems, and dysfunctional beliefs/reframes). I consider the book a modern-day version of the classic What Color is Your Parachute, and I’ve jumped in with both feet to apply the book’s concepts and help clients use it to create the next chapter of their lives. To read more of my gushing praise, take a look at this blog post that I did about the book right after I discovered it, and also this one about my certification course in San Francisco.

You can DIY the book, for sure. In fact, if you check out the Facebook Group for the book, there are often posts from people looking to team up with others to go through the book. Dive in and have fun with the content. It’s accessible and easy to follow.

If you’d like to have some guidance, structure, and accountability to get through the book and really apply it to your life, let me know, and we’ll talk about both individual and group options.

I can’t resist adding a few details about the transformative power of the activities and concepts in the book. Here are some of the reasons I’m so in love with it:

Bill Burnett, me, and Dave Evans
At the DYL coaches’ certification course with the authors of DYL.

Instead of offering you the [fill in the blank] number of steps to achieve [undefined goal], it equips you with a set of tools to apply over and over again as you navigate the changing dimensions of work, play, love, and health. Rather than helping you figure out what you want to be when you grow up (which is an enticing proposition – would it be great if we all had a clear pathway in front of us?), it offers a process for determining where you want to go next because our lives are always evolving. Get ready for some myth-busting about passion, work/life balance, planning, where answers reside, and epiphanies. If you get stuck with making decisions (or you find yourself regretting the decisions you’ve made), there’s massive insight here. Flip from FOMO to JOMO, and kick FOBO and FOGO to the curb. Together, we dig into idea generation and outlining multiple pathways forward for you. We’ll cast aside leaping (which sounds great, but can land you in a tough spot) in favor of prototyping or exploring before going all in.

There’s so much here, and I can’t wait to talk to you about it. In fact, here’s a quiz that includes some content from the book that may help you explore whether the book will be helpful to you.