fingersOnce upon a time, in a former job in print media, I had the opportunity to work with a career coach. It was during the devastating period of newspaper closings, massive lay-offs, reductions to every area I had helped build for close to 20 years. See What’s Happened to Newspapers? Corporate HR, realizing the toll the waves of workforce reductions were taking upon us HR professionals, contracted with Denise Cooper, Coach HR, LLC to present a coaching session at its annual conference. Subsequently, Cooper offered each of us a free session as follow-up in anticipation of more staff reductions. Smart lady!

As a one-person HR department, I accepted Cooper’s offer and through the years we’ve kept in touch. Cooper, in her blog, Leadership Whisper recently shared an interesting post: Getting Stabbed In the Back? Check for Your Own Fingerprints on the Knife? She questions whether YOU are the architect of the demise of your own career and lists some excellent clues. One in particular caught my interest: Death by Success.denises-headshot

Cooper writes, “Several years ago Harvard Business Review published an article describing how a history of success can actually blind you to finding the right solutions when you’re failing. As humans we like habits, and the more successful and gratifying the habit the harder it is to change. The problem is the more success you achieve the harder it is to change.”

I’ve noticed a chiasmic void occurring within those who have enjoyed successful, lucrative careers but find themselves in the unemployment line. While they have a healthy understanding of success and what it took to make it, what they don’t readily see and often refuse to accept, (at least for a while), is that to rise from the ashes, to start over, to begin a anew, will likely take a totally different approach and direction than the path they previously traveled.

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better,” (King Whitney, Jr.).

imagesCAE7DC67Adults, accustomed to being in charge, too easily insist upon doing things the way they’ve always been done. How well I recall some in the newspaper industry who said, “The internet is a passing fad. We’ll ALWAYS have a printed newspaper!” Check that knife for fingerprints. Monster.com and eBay changed classified advertising forever.

The glassblower knows: while in the heat of beginning, any shape is possible. Once hardened, the only way to change is to break,” (Mark Nepo). Times, they aren’t just a changin’. They’ve totally changed. The reset button has been squarely hit. Success must be redefined before it can be achieved again. It does not resume, full speed ahead. It’s going to take time to recover.

“As the change tsunami sweeps away jobs, companies, even industries, fewer and fewer of us are able to sustain our lives by sticking to old “concrete” career forms. To find security in an unstable world, you may have to track your own true nature to places no human has ever gone before.” (Martha Beck).knife

Check the knife in your back for fingerprints. It’s all too easy to shift blame . The wiser man looks within himself to plan his path to success.

~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~

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