Is your working life an adventure?
It could be, if you reframe your view of life and the meaning of work...
If you’ve already designed your career to suit your talents, passions and financial and other needs, then you’re already on your own personal ‘work adventure’ and good for you.
But maybe you’ve never thought about work like that? Well, today is a new day. Thinking about your entire working life as an adventure could help to reframe things, and put what often seems like a struggle into sharp perspective.
If you’re not the lucky person above in the opening words, maybe you’re on the cusp of, or vaguely thinking of changing jobs – you’re just not sure what to venture into, and there might be a touch of ‘better the devil you know’, especially if you’re not quite feeling those happy ‘post-recession’ vibes just yet. Sound familiar?
But maybe adventure is about not being scared to try different career paths and directions.It depends how seriously you take life and how many people depend on you playing it completely safe. Assuming you’ve got a few years of solid skills, experience and contacts behind you in your current field, could you afford to be a bit flexible?
Career coach Selina Barker (interviewed by Eyes Wide Opened this summer) spent a year experimenting with several different ways of earning a living. She says she'd recommend it to anyone because it taught her that she'll always be able to make enough money to live from her own resources and qualities and it gave her the confidence to ‘think big’ with her career and take risks. Now she describes her choice of career as a coach as a 'constant source of creativity, growth fun and adventure'. I like it.
Of course, there’s value in knowing when NOT to push yourself out of your comfort zone – no point wasting your life forcing yourself to do things that don't come naturally to you or obsessing about your weaknesses. There’s a lot to be said for building a career around your strengths, but a work adventure doesn’t have to be a total danger zone. It’s a way of looking at life.
They say the worst thing that can happen on a holiday is for everything to go to plan. It's when plans stray off the path that the real adventures happen and feed you with unforgettable stories and memories –not just of what happened, but of how you dealt with it. Hiccups, setbacks and random diversions are also more interesting to friends and family than those endless perfect photos…
The same goes for our working lives. If you’re stuck and are mulling over a change, not only will you feel more energy if at some point you try something that feels a little adventurous or less ‘safe’ (if only to return to ‘safety’ later), but most interviewers will be interested in your adventurous or unplanned off-track career changes and how you made the best of them. It’s more engaging and probably says more about you in 3 minutes than the standard snapshots of your achievements.
Adventure is about excitement, spontaneity, the unknown, uncertainty, risk, danger and surprise. In other words, it’s about life.Whether it's a micro- or a macro-adventure that hovers temptingly round the corner, are you as open as you could be to new discoveries and could you cultivate an open mind about how and where you work?
Adventure helps you measure your energy, your capacity for things. We feel sorry for people with low energy (“how do they get through the day?”) and amazed and admiring at those with boundless energy. Adventure and energy are inextricably intertwined.
Adventure can also be about searching for an answer. Adventure can be about finding out why you've been put on this planet.
Was it to be in the job you’re in now, with no improvements to it whichever way you look at it? Or is there room for a little extra flavour, or even a huge diversion?
"Leap and the net will appear" said Julia Cameron, author of the superb ‘The Artist’s Way’.
And when you do, you’ll have more stories.
Co-written by Zena James, Alastair Creamer and Livy Watson at Eyes Wide Opened