I could not have foreseen the urgent nature of the talk I gave 2 weeks ago.
I had been slated as a guest speaker long before the first COVID-19 case was detected in China, according to one news source.
My presentation to the LikeMinded Ladies group was called, “What’s Next? The Journey to a Career You Love.”
Managing career uncertainty
The essence of my presentation was transformation. I shared the story of my near-death experience in 2017 and how a gut decision during my recovery changed my career path and life going forward.
I gave practical tips about managing career uncertainty, especially when we’re blindsided by life, and focusing on what we can control to transition to more meaningful and authentic work.
Hmm. Sounding familiar?
The day after my talk, March 13, 2020, U.S. President Trump declared a national emergency due to the pandemic. It was then that I realized the magnitude of “What’s Next” for all of us.
It was far beyond the career hurdles I had imagined for my audience.
We still get to decide what we do with the time we have now and what we create in our lives.
As social distancing went from an individual choice to a government mandate, I was filled with gratitude for the timing of our meeting. We had slid just under the self-isolation wire.
Since that event, I often catch myself looking back fondly on those few hours of unbridled interaction, hugging and connecting in real life with my LikeMinded sisters of the Gulf Coast.
Who would have predicted such gatherings would become a life-threatening thing?
Blindsided by real life
The story I shared that day about the Jeep wreck that nearly took my life reminds me of the coronavirus in one important way.
I never saw that major hurdle coming, either.
Emotionally and physically, I crashed. There were surgeries, followed by grueling therapy sessions. For 6 months, I couldn’t work. I was forced to reflect on my second chance at life, both personally and professionally.
Here I am, 3 years later. You could say I more than survived that incident. I have thrived as a result of it!
No doubt it took a village to help me deal with the daily ins and outs of my recovery. But it was my belief, my hopes and my dreams that pushed me forward.
I believe we will have an opportunity to thrive on the other side of this pandemic as well. Together we can and will rise up.
We get to decide
Let me acknowledge that I am not downplaying the gravity of our current global health crisis. But the truth is that we get to decide how we think about it. And we get to decide what we do with the time we have now and what we create in our lives—as long as we are healthy.
Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.-John R. Wooden
As I read nearly 200 comments and 4,000 likes on one of Arianna Huffington’s LinkedIn posts, which had the quote, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do,” plenty of professionals are managing to keep an experimental mindset.
“This slow down” is a “much-needed time to recalibrate” and “pivot your skills,” were some of the comments.
Even more to the point, Mark Cuban said in a live LinkedIn interview this week that this FUBAR (look it up) is our moment to “reset” and do the right thing.
I’m encouraged to see these signs of resilience. For now, many people working from home are living well beyond their usual grind to build their skills, connections and careers.
How are you personally?
How are you personally holding up so far with this unprecedented strain of uncertainty?
Have you been able to set aside time for yourself? Are you thinking of exploring how to transform being forced to work from home (WFH) into a long-term remote opportunity that you’ve desired for months, maybe years?
This pandemic does not suddenly erase the dreams you had for doing purposeful, creative or interesting work. It might reset or postpone your dreams. But don’t let those beautiful ideas go.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share career guideposts that I hope inspire you to remain confident in your abilities to not just survive, but thrive as we cycle through this.
My guideposts are not just spiritually based. They are grounded in years of experience, managing major crises as a front-line public and private sector leader in marketing, branding, communication and economic development.
When this crisis is over, you’ll want to have a story you’ll be proud to tell.
After surviving my own personal calamity and helping business owners reboot following 4 natural disasters and an oil spill in my home state of Louisiana, here’s what I know:
How you think about what’s happening today will have a profound impact on your career trajectory.
Be intentional now
For now, I leave you with one more thought:
One day in the not-so-distant future, a prospective customer or employer will ask you about this time in history.
How did COVID-19 impact you?
How did you adapt when everything changed?
BE INTENTIONAL, more than ever, about how you communicate online, grow your network, search for jobs, respond on social media and use your time working from home.
By being intentional over the weeks to come, you’ll ensure that when this crisis is over, you’ll have a story you’ll be proud to tell.
Praying for your safe journey,
P.S. Let’s talk—about working from home, writing a new resume, managing your small business brand through this crisis, planning for your next gig or what not to do when it comes to your career. This is not a sales pitch. This is the best way I know how to be of service. To give you my time and expertise, free of obligation.
Photo: Floating yellow flower on pond, The Crosby Arboretum, Picayune, Mississippi, by ©Carole Dupre. All rights reserved.
As founder of HerNature®, Carole Dupre’ guides women in landing jobs and launching businesses that honor their true nature. She is a career and business branding coach and a certified personal brand strategist, resume writer and digital marketer.