That’s how one of my young clients, let’s call her Lilly, started our last session. I stayed open, but anticipated that I might need to self-manage regarding what came next. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that the sentence ended with “…I decided to apply to Teach For America.”
Lilly and I discussed why she was so nervous about this decision, since teaching was an option she’d been considering. Was it because she now felt committed to a path? Was she worried it was the wrong choice? Was she afraid she would be a bad teacher? No, mostly she was worried that she wouldn’t be accepted to the program; several of her friends had taught with Teach For America (TFA), and she didn’t want to let them down.
We considered the worst case together, and Lilly realized her friends wouldn’t suddenly abandon her or like her any less if she didn’t get accepted to TFA. She quickly found her resourcefulness, saying that she would find a different teacher training program, if needed.
Lilly was also concerned whether this was a good decision or not, since it’s a big commitment. So we looked at the work we had done over the past couple months and saw that teaching was a great fit for her values, needs, strengths, skills, passions and the type of environment she likes. For example, ideally we want to be in our strengths 75% of the time at work. Lilly’s strengths are that she sees and appreciates differences in people; she is patient with challenging people; she is highly adaptable to new environments, situations and people; she is positive and optimistic; she is quick to smile and offer praise; and she is a curious explorer who loves to learn about new places, ideas and people. Sounds like someone who will be a terrific teacher!!
By the end of our session, Lilly’s fear had become excitement. She was solid in her decision and motivated to take the next step. If this sounds easy, it was only because we had already done all the work to figure out what’s important to Lilly, how she shows up, and what she does uniquely well. We were able to use that information as an objective filter to determine that teaching was a good choice for her. (And Lilly understands she can always make a different choice later.)
Imagine you got drunk last night and made a career decision to do the thing you really wanted to do, but were afraid to. What would it be?
Here’s to your right work!
p.s. Do you have enough information to know if your next career choice is a good fit for you? If you are in the Memphis area, I am running a small career group again in 2017 beginning in late January. More information can be found here http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-jan-2017/
p.p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching