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Stuck in a Career Fog

When I was first informed that my corporate role was being eliminated, I could not see the opportunity pass my disappointment. Although my manager went on to tell me about the other opportunities inside the company that he was working to line up, the conversation sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher in the Peanuts cartoon. ”Wah…Wah,” is all I heard. It was as if a thick layer of fog settled into the room. The vision for my career began to disappear as he informed me of the changes. That was August 2014.

Walking through the fog feels impossible. The road ahead looks no different than the one behind or the one to your left or right. I would love tell you that I marched through like a victorious champion, but the truth is I was temporarily immobilized. As I stood at my crossroad, I felt numb, scared, disappointed, excited and angry all at the same time. I lived in this immobilized state for two long months. I now see it as the turning point in my life. In October 2014 the fog lifted when I made the decision to leave my Corporate America job. Although it would be 8 months before I physically left to follow my passions of personal/professional development and youth STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education, without getting a clear picture I would not have had the courage to leave.

Have you found yourself stuck in the fog? If so, then what are you doing about it? Staying stuck is not an option but a temporary state of being. When you can’t seem to find your way forward, it’s time to call in the fog lifters. These are the people in your life whose perspective cause you to change yours. These are your mentors, spouse, close friends, trusted colleagues, your Pastor, or a coach like myself. Through powerful questioning and time for reflection, the fog will lift.

My fog lifters helped me to see pass the dense heavy fog into the sunshine of opportunity. They asked questions like

  • What’s stopping you from moving forward?

  • What would you do if failure wasn’t an option?

  • How can you use this situation to prepare you in moving forward?

As I reflected on these and many other questions, the fog slowly started to dissipate. The path became a little bit clearer as described by Coach and Author, Raheed Ogunlaru when he said, “Finding oneself and one's path is like waking up on a foggy day. Be patient, and presently the fog will clear and that which has always been there can be seen. The path is already there to follow.” All the options moving forward converged toward a single path which has led me to where I am today. Don’t stay stuck in the fog. Surround yourself with fog lifters and get a clearer picture on the steps to move forward.

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