This weekend I found a bird’s nest. It was nestled into one of the gears of my garage door, and when I brought it down, I studied it: a home of woven grass, sticks, and debris from the nearby alley. The birds had taken what was available and made it into a haven to cradle new life.
Your career is like a bird’s nest. The experiences you have had might look like a collection of debris, some of those experiences might feel shameful or “below” you. You may feel in some instances that an experience or a job was “all a mistake”. In fact, your myriad experiences – good and bad – hold you up in ways you might not even realize.
After I graduated from an elite university, I headed to New York. As a woman, I didn’t have even close to the same opportunities as men. The only way to get a foot in the door was to be a secretary. Think Mad Men. At Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School I learned to type and struggled through shorthand. What a come-down after studying Calculus, Asian Art, and the Greek philosophers. But Katherine Gibbs got my foot in the door, and eventually my experience grew, the world changed, and I had many opportunities.
As I came of age in the workforce, the women around me were refusing to learn how to type. For good reason. They now had a chance to enter management training programs like their male classmates, and they didn’t want to be perceived as secretaries. It’s why I never put Katherine Gibbs on my resume.
And then the computer age exploded. Keyboards were everywhere, even in the C-suite. Very few people actually know how to type easily and quickly, without looking at their fingers. But I could, and that once shameful experience at Katherine Gibbs began to augment my career as a consultant. I can have an intense conversation with a client and never take my eyes from her face. The amount of detailed notes the client receives as follow-up staggers them and gives them the confidence and trust that I was really listening. When I go to a conference, see the speaker, or view slides, I can capture every word for future reference.
So back to the bird’s nest. I found a way to weave that “debris” from my past into an amazing benefit in my current life.
And you can too.
If you are still holding on to the pain or shame of something in your past, pause and ask yourself what learning you took away. What positive resulted? How can you use that experience to weave the “nest for a new future”?
This weekend a group of men and women will have that opportunity in the Discover Your YIPPEE Retreat. Half day Friday and all day Saturday we are meeting in Nashville to find out how every part of our lives makes sense. And how we can use those experiences to propel forward into our highest visions of ourselves. Yippee retreats are life-changing and can bring you to places in your career you’ve only ever imagined. You still have time to register, and we’d so love to have you with us.
Until next Tuesday…or this weekend. YIPPEE!