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The Winds of Change

The nature of business, the ways we connect both physically and virtually are global in scope. I can note this blog, watch the Markets, the Royal Wedding and prepare next week's team session simultaneously. Not only are these variable channels of action expected, the prize belongs to those who find the complexities, multiple realities and instantaneous communication exciting and fulfilling.

From the Fortune 500 world to academic medicine to medium-sized professional offices, the theme that emerged this week is the continuous change and a sense of angst that changes are not beneficial to employers, employees, consumers or anyone else. The C-level clients I speak with daily are more and more open about their concerns over job loss, the feasibility of business models or the ethicality of the business path. Usually the C-level players are immune or discreet about such concerns. The landscape has changed. We are all worried, challenged and wondering what the next step enatils.One senior client felt pulled between the perceived "smart" move of orchestrating a package out of a company and the conflict with personal values regarding "giving up" and belief in his own abilities.  A leader in a major medical research organization is considering retirement yet the word has such connotations of "over the hill" "past the prime" that the individual equates to becoming some very creaky zombie-like creature. No matter where you are in your career, whether you are in a corporation, a professional office, or an organization either non-profit or governmental you are probably experiencing a level of stretch and uncertainty that is dizzying.

In the gaps between our perceptions of work reality and our own values of who we are and want to be lie the glimmering stars of our next step in life.

In a private session recently a senior executive discovered a gap between his desire to be out of the on-going daily challenge of a corporation and his belief that he could not "provide' or be held in esteem if he did not carry a significant corporate title. We dubbed him President of the Seekers and he is sorting through the aspects of his professional life and the aspects of his own identity as he knows it to create a position that reflects both to the greatest extent possible. Regardless of whether he remains in his current position, becomes a consultant or takes an entirely new direction, the point is that he will choose at deepest possible level of consciousness based on the greatest truth he knows of himself and the world around him. In that choice, gaps disappear and the world becomes an intensely satisfying place.

Here are the secrets I have been practicing lately:

Notice the gaps in perceptions. We have talked about leaving companies and perceptions of accomplishment, strength, vigor or leaving companies and perceptions of "couldn't do it" and "too old." You may have gaps such as "I have great ideas but this is just an old boys' club. I'll never get to a (fill in the blank) level." Take on the reality of each side of the gap.  Just listen to your inner voice as you examine the situation from all perspectives. Listen to the information, feel the feelings. Take no action.

Now you can identify the conversations you are having with yourself that keep you stuck in worry or doubt. The good news is that you are the only one having the conversation and can change it at any time.

Imagine the world is a mirror. If you are not seeing a place where you are fulfilling yourself as a person as well as taking care of the pragmatic realities of the world, then you just have to tilt the mirror, enlarge it or change the angle. What you can give up is any worry that the place of fulfillment and taking care of life's pragmatics in an effortless combination does not exist. Of course it does.

You are painter of the canvas of your life. Want more artistic expression? Paint it in! More Money? There's plenty. Paint some into the picture of yourself. Need that first VP title? What would be true of you if  that had already happened? Get the paints ready!


Let's practice together. Identify one action you are going to take toward something you really want in your life but think is impossible. Even if it is just making a call or writing a letter of inquiry. Paint your canvas with glowing, luminescent shades and we'll compare notes next week. Can't wait to see what you paint!

Linda C. Thompson