Why do I do what I do? At at least one point in everyone’s life, many times in more, we make decisions on where our career will go, we set the course by determining what we would like to do and tread that path, testing and experiencing how it fits our talents, needs and dreams.
How do we get to these decision points?
As with most things human, there are many different paths, which will depend on your situation, the country you live in, the options at hand, your interests and opportunities and much, much more.
Some points in time will give some people more of less opportunities, sometimes crises like the current pandemic will cause some paths to change. One of the factors playing into my doing my doctoral degree was the fact that the recent dot.com bubble burst had led to a less-than-ideal job market.
Today I would like to share with you what my main drivers and my purpose for setting up my own business as a coach, trainer and facilitator were, and the many things that helped me along the way to getting here.
I am in my current profession because I am passionate about people connecting.
I have always been interested in people – maybe that comes with being born in Vienna, maybe not; it has certainly led to my husband never getting the people-watching seat in a Café or restaurant (pre-pandemic), or even in public transport – but wasn’t quite able to put a finger on what exactly it was that drove me to be interested in people until I moved into leadership.
I love connecting with people, individually as well as in teams, and enabling them to make the best out of their working situation, be that by looking at tthe status-quo, taking a different perspective or a new approach. This is what makes me ‘zing’, or get a buzz, be in flow, whatever you would like to call it.
It didn’t occur to me that supporting people in organisations was something I could do professionally until, from the point I started working, colleagues, co-workers, etc… started coming to me regularly with questions akin to what I cover with my customers now as a business coach:
- I am having a bit of trouble getting through to this person/this team. Can you help?
- What do I need to do to make the next step in my career?
- How do I resolve this conflict?
- I feel stuck in this position. How can I develop from here?
Originally, I thought this was because I had been with one company for going-on a decade, but then I switched jobs and organisations, and a whole three weeks later, the next person approached me in a similar way.
This development came alongside having being trained as a facilitator while being in management, where I was responsible for facilitating workshops with teams who needed support to strengthen their teamwork in lieu for having received the training. The first one of these workshops I did was with a team of lathe operators and metal workers, who had been threatened with outsourcing several times in their career and were, to some degree understandably, not particularly satisfied at work.
There were several reasons I was nervous that day:
- It was my first workshop as a facilitator.
- The work the team did was about as remote from what I did as possible in that organisation.
- As was often the case, I was the only female in the room, and at least 15 years younger than anyone else there.
I like a challenge and, as I have discovered even more since going independent, courage has got me a long way even if I am not 100% sure what I am getting myself into.
I decided to go for it.
To introduce what some may have called ‘silly’ warm-up games, to be open, and not to worry about exactly what I was going to say. I came out of that day-long workshop with a buzz like I had not experienced often before. The team had been able to give their leader feedback, they had addressed issues that bothered them, and found ways to resolve them. I was on cloud 9 and above.
After that, plus the fact that people kept coming to me for support, and the coincidence of a trainer of mine pointing out to me: ‘Cary, you know you’re really good at connecting with people, right?’ (which I will be forever grateful to her for), the idea of fully focussing on supporting people professionally stuck with me.
I loved leadership but disliked the lack of freedom to focus on what i knew was good for my teams. As a leader I considered it to be my job to ensure that my team was able to do their best at whatever they needed to do on the job. To the point where one of my senior managers accused me of ‘Not being interested in technical stuff.’ And, at that point, to some degree, he may have been right: at that point, while I loved the fact that my team was building an amazing test platform, I did not see the point of meddling in their work unless they needed help. I considered it my job to support them, when they needed it, and, as they say, have their backs, when disturbances came in from outside.
And to this day, this is what I love about what I do now: to connect with people.
To be able to show them new perspectives, different options, and methods that will help them create a better working environment for themselves and their teams, where they can thrive.
My purpose drives me in everything I do as a business coach, trainer and facilitator.
If you have any questions about this, or need support determining what your drivers and your purpose are, in leadership or in teamwork, get in touch. I look forward to connecting with you.