“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
That is a pretty empowering thought when you stand at the start line of a job search.
When you really think about the implications, suddenly the way ahead seems that little bit less daunting. The idea of finding your path implies that there are only a set number of twists and turns that you might choose to follow. If, however, you believe in your ability to create your path, the sky is the limit.
When the superpowers of creativity and choice are combined, anything can happen.
Over a longer timescale (because we can’t be impatient with our dreams), I absolutely believe in the power of creating the life and career that we desire.
I know that I have tried to, admittedly with varying degrees of success.
I started off in a graduate placement with UK retailer B&Q, but, after a well-timed letter to our parent company, I found myself on a team to set up retail operations in Russia (as I learnt Russian at university). Awesome experience and some great life lessons.
After a couple of years in Russia, my wife and I were struggling to start a family, so we came back to the UK for fertility treatment (although my daughter decided to come along naturally at the last minute). I had a brief role with a UK retailer, but I had caught the entrepreneurial bug, so I started a recruitment business taking European retail talent out to Russia. The recession then hit, and it didn’t end well. The echoes of that stressful time with a young family may still haunt me.
After a stint in Moscow working for a Russian recruiter (also not ideal with a mammoth commute from our base in Saint Petersburg), I knew that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my family. I couldn’t afford a second career mistake, so I had to be brave about how I really (really) wanted to spend the rest of my career.
It was in 2012 that the final stage of my career creation came to fruition. After more than a decade of creating and re-inventing myself, I had found something that felt like my calling.
I had commercial experience. I had recruitment experience. I have always loved writing.
I have been ghostwriting HR content for the past eight years and although there have been ups and downs with demand (I lost a good few financial services clients because of the Brexit decision a few years back), I have never been happier.
There have been a few tweaks and changes to my marketing approach, but for me, that is part of the process of refining my career blend. I feel in control. Every day I am choosing my path. It feels great.
I truly wish for every job seeker reading this blog to believe in their ability to choose and create their destiny. It might not come about at the first attempt and there may well be a good few stepping stones along the way. We are only given one life, so why not try to live it to the very best of our potential?
Cynics might say that this is a load of idealistic nonsense, but I feel sorry for them.
The decisions that we make during a job search will set our lives off on an entirely different trajectory. There will be change and uncertainty, but if we put our minds and hearts behind the creative process, there is every chance that a wonderful future awaits us.
Have the courage to believe in your power to create yourself, not find yourself.
Look forwards, not backwards.