Michele Martin #2- Career Change

In How to Change a Story that Keeps You Stuck, I worked with Michele Martin to identify some places she could work on to shift her career development work into something that was more aligned with where she wanted to be.

Fast forward, it’s five months later. In this 55 minute Insight Session, I check in with Michele, we create a new image with the ImageCenter and we discuss what to do next. I took notes to summarize the various sections from the video, which are below.


What’s happened in the last five months?

It’s been a fertile period. Things I have done:

  • I’m taking space, getting offline, reading and writing with a pen
  • Changed spaces, so from a few hours a week to a few hours a day in a coffee shop or outside home office

It’s helped me see where I need to go next. It’s a journey, so we found first steps. I’m continuing to refine it in a spiraling kind of way. I’m more focused on the process and the journey. How do I bring more things in that nurture me?

I also hadn’t been doing art. I have committed to use art to explore and I am treating myself with it.

Where is the growth edge for your work?

How do I incorporate the things I have been thinking about into what I do? Some of the ideas are:

  • Positive questions
  • Power of story and how they can change
  • Power of conversations, relationship, connection, community helping us grow
  • Power of possibility and getting around self-limiting beliefs
  • Expanding my sense of what I can have

Set up session

Using the Exploring Health deck to explore the question

What is possible in my work life?

Tell us the story of the image

What else can we see in this?

There is something about the role of the career coach. The traditional checklists and inventories I was trained to use push you in certain directions, but it’s not the full picture, and it’s not as well suited to the kinds of work people are doing now. Freelance and self employment are huge opportunities, but you aren’t going to get what you need with an interest inventory. I’m seeing a process that gets at deeper kinds of information, that creates a compelling vision.

Career is not a simple fill out checklist to identify your job for the next 40 years. It’s an ongoing process, it’s a journey, so you need to understand yourself in the context of the journey and to have a process you can take with you on that journey.

I’m seeing the possibility of shifting from someone who intervenes when there is a significant moment like graduation or a job loss to someone who helps you develop a process that serves a journey, where I am a guide. Together we construct a plan for your own wellness. You can check in when needed, I can provide advice, but my role becomes how to help you construct a healthy life for yourself.

What do you need to do differently?

Lots to think about. I need to look at what tools I need to develop to support this kind of process. How can I incorporate them into how I interact with clients? In what ways am I bringing the ideas of connection, spirituality and growth to the experience?

To what extent when I get up in the morning and sit down at my desk to do things in my day, are my actions in alignment with the possibilities I am laying out for myself? To some extent my work is in alignment, in some ways it isn’t. How does it align with what I think is possible?

The biggest piece is alignment with possibilities.

Value of community

Even when I am trying to be reflective, I don’t even hear the words coming out of my mouth. It why it’s so important to do personal and professional development in community. You can listen and say what you heard, and it gives me ideas. You can help me have compassion for myself.

I always say the meanest person to me is me. I would never say the horrible things to other people that I have said to myself.

I’m aware of process and watching tiny steps and so absorbed in tiny steps it’s hard to see I crossed the room. Like watching a baby. So consumed with just walking she’s surprised when she looks up and it in another location. Other people can show you where you are.

So part of community is giving people space, opportunity and tools to have that conversation. To tell stories and have them reflected back to them. It deepens self knowledge, and helps us see progress.

Why VisualsSpeak works so well for this

Of of the beauty of VisualsSpeak and using the images is its a much more powerful way to tell a story and get behind it. I’m putting them together, selecting images, but here’s another measure of my growth, I used to think a lot more about it. this time I just pulled out what called to me. That is growth in looking at my own process an dhow its changing over time. I’m not going to try to to control all the pieces the way I’ve done in the past. Instead of analyzing it all beforehand and trying to fit all the pieces together like a puzzle, I’m just going to go into it. It’s a much more empowering vision than my previous one.

What has changed as a result of this conversation?

I see a few things.

  • I have more clarity around the kinds of experiences I want to have and I would like the people I work with to have.
  • I have more a sense of directions I can go is so far as the tools I want to create to better support a process.
  • I have more energy around when I am going.

What could be a next step?

Specifically, I need to look at what this all suggests about the things I want to bring to work and how do I do work practices that align with what I am saying I want to have and what I think is possible.

On a meta level, by doing that it becomes a tool I can create for others to go through. I am essentially crating tools for the same process I am going through. It gives me insight into something that can help others.

Some questions you just need to keep asking. What is possible is one of those. It’s like a spiral.

How will it move into action?

I’m one of those people who is horrible at New Years Resolutions. I had to review what I said I was going to do after the last session. In the first vision I created I ended up following up. It’s not like I created a to-do list. I did it, it got into my head, and I was distracted by a number of other things. But somehow, that embedded itself into me in a way other tools have not. I was making progress without realizing it. It embedded into my subconscious.

I’m also someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do, even when it’s me doing the telling. This became something I wanted to do, without even knowing why.

It becomes incredibly powerful operating below the surface, more powerful than a to-do list. That changed me too. I’m seeing it, and I wouldn’t have without this conversation.

Comment from Christine: You created it. What I love about using the visual tool, it’s coming from you, it’s your story, your choices. I might makes comments, but you say yes or no. It becomes incredibly powerful, operating below the surface more powerful that a to-do list.