Crossroads in careers can come by chance, by choice or brutally by force. Whichever it is, it’s an incredible opportunity to take matters in your hands to shape a roadmap to succeed and to tap into your potential. There is no magic moment or time that you will face such a decision; however, you can prepare yourself to better handle the situation as it arises.
Speaking from a personal perspective, a little over 2 years ago, I hit that crossroads and chose the route of “Self-Employed Consultant”. Scary, absolutely! I suddenly had full reins on the direction I wanted to pursue while mindful to leverage my broad skills and competencies, my passion to help people and organizations, a strong desire to make a difference, and yes, getting paid to do something I love. I decided to take the same advice that I have shared over the last 25 years with clients, mentees and students in career management, and turned the mirror towards me….
Here are 4 dynamic steps to undertake, to revisit and to modify as your career (and life) responsibilities and priorities shift. And no matter where you may be, you must respect what is the best path for you at that defined moment.
Have the Courage to be honest
The hardest thing to do is to leap into something new. It takes courage to recognize, focus and be honest about what you are truly good at. As you grow and develop in your career, you become skilled in many areas, yet you must identify where you hold the most influence and where you can become the most impactful. You therefore need to take stock and evaluate your strategic advantage – what you are good at, what makes you shine and what gives you purpose.
Take the time to reflect on your personal competitive edge
Careers are no longer linear or up the ladder. This adds to the confusion, yet also opens up a multitude of possibilities. You need to take a step back, pencil in hand or fingers on the keyboard, to assess your “ Personal Swot”, examine your achievements (value-added ones), list interests, values, motivators, and evaluate your preferred organizational settings or type of clients.
Curate your professional network
No man or woman is an island – you need to build, maintain and leverage your network. Bring together a community of supporters which includes mentors, trusted friends, your network, your advocates, your coach or advisor. They will act as your sounding board and will help you develop, be inspired, and connect you to new relationships that will may lead you to potential opportunities.
Work on your action plan
You are now ready to work on your action plan.
Crossroads are an opportunity to reshape your future! You have the courage to choose the path that aligns with your passion and your values. Always remember to be kind to yourself.
« Chance arrives when preparation meets opportunity »
My chance and opportunity arrived when I was referred, thanks to my network, for a mandate with a UN agency which opened up the humanitarian universe – and I haven’t looked back!
About Cherine Zananiri
Cherine brings over 25 years of experience in career development, organizational effectiveness, talent acquisition, teaching, training and facilitation. Her experience is strengthened by managing consulting practices, leading Human Resources in professional services, by establishing from the ground-up the Career Centre at John Molson School of Business and lecturing part-time at Concordia University and other institutions. In 2017, Cherine directed her professional efforts as a Strategist in Talent and Career Management supporting private and public organizations and contributing to the development of various United Nations Agencies abroad such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization. She aligned her passion for influencing careers and people development as well as organizational efficiency thanks to consulting, strategies and conferences/ workshops.
When not in talent and career management mode, Cherine can be found exploring sights, sounds, culture and great eats in Montreal and in different corners of the world including Istanbul, Cairo or the beaches of Portugal.