An A-Z of Change: D is for Direction

In A is for Action, I talked about the importance of taking a first step, any step, however small it might be.  That single action makes the process of change real.

One of the reasons we find it hard to take that first step is because we’re uncertain about the direction in which to go.  We may only be able to discern the first part of the journey and fear what may lie beyond.  Or we may fear that a choice to go down one route will close off others.  Or we worry about making the “right” decision, particularly if options are hard to compare.

However, as the famous quote goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  And if you’ve taken a single step, or even ten of them, it’s not so very hard to walk back to the start.  Or, more realistically, to cut across from one path to another.

In this vein, Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’ offers Pattie Sellers’ metaphor: “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder”.  And in ‘Working Identity’, Herminia Ibarra talks about Tarzan making his way through the jungle one vine at a time.  In both cases, the metaphors show that careers actually offer many options in many directions.  If you come to a spot that doesn’t suit, you can swing sideways, upwards or diagonally to a different place.  And with working life often stretching well into five or even six decades, there’s plenty of time to explore many different directions.

The only thing you need to do is to pick a direction in which to start.  Choose the vine that’s closest to you and see where it takes you.  Which direction will you travel in today?

Katie Driver

Katie Driver is a certified business coach and experienced trainer and facilitator. Clients consistently remark that her calm approach and clear insight helps to deepen their own thinking and improve the choices they make.