By Erin Ewart
Seven years ago this week, I stepped into the unknown and started my first independent consulting project.
At the time, I thought I’d just be doing a few projects as I looked for my next full-time role; I had no idea that I was planting the seeds of what would become Careers for Social Impact and the next chapter of my career.
Looking back, there were a few hints I might go in this direction: I went to business school, and from time to time I’d imagined it would be fun to start a coffee shop or wine bar (not a career coaching business!).
But did I actually have a concrete goal to launch a small business seven years ago? No. Did I have a business plan? No. Did I have a website? Nope.
I tried something new, and talked to a whole lot of people who had gone down a similar path. And then I kept trying more new things, and talking to more people, and here we are.
Of course, I’m oversimplifying a bit 🙂 There has been a lot of hard work along the way, moments where I wanted to give up (and almost did), and times when I questioned what I was doing and why. I still have those days sometimes. We all do, don’t we?
A few years ago I shared some of the lessons I learned from this time of transition in my own career. While they all still hold true, what I most want to share with you today as I reflect on the last seven years is that we can take our careers one step at a time.
While I’m a big fan of setting goals, I also know that If I had set big expectations for myself around having to figure everything out upfront or do a big launch, I probably never would have acted. It would have felt too big, too hard, and like there was too much potential for failure.
Instead, I inched my way forward. First one consulting project. Then another. Then some more. Then I started working with my own coaching clients, running group programs, and hiring a team. Each stage has brought new ideas to consider and challenges to solve, and has helped me figure out what’s next.
If you have a big goal for where you want to go in your career, that’s great. But I want you to know that it’s also ok if you don’t. What is important is that you are regularly checking in on where you are and where you’re heading, adjusting course, and taking action to explore what’s next.
We are all in a constant process of evolution and growth, as people and professionals. Our lives change, our priorities change, and what we want in our career changes. The key is to pay attention as these changes are happening, and to shift our goals and plans accordingly.
When’s the last time you checked in with yourself on what you want next in your career? If it’s been a while (and especially after this last year), I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on these questions and identifying some small steps you can take to test, learn, and inch your way forward.
So, what’s next for us? One of my biggest learnings over the last seven years has been how impactful (and fun!) it is to work with our clients in a group format, so we’ll be continuing to grow our focus on group programs this year and beyond. I’m also excited to continue building our team with the addition of two new members this summer.
As we celebrate lucky year seven, I want to send a big thanks to everyone who’s helped us achieve this milestone. We’re so glad to have you as a part of this community, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!