Mid-Career Crisis and the Hero’s Journey

Mid-Career-CrisisMany of the leaders and managers I know and with whom I’ve worked find that mid-career is a good time for reflection and evaluation. Almost everyone experiences a career crisis at some point.

If you look at your life – be it your career or overall life path – you can see elements of both wisdom and errors as you’ve aged. My previous post talked about the hero’s journey being similar to what leaders go through when faced with challenges especially at mid career.

The paradox of the hero’s journey is that when you accept and incorporate the parts of yourself that you’d rather not acknowledge or share, you gain tremendous energy. As you integrate your whole self you become more authentically you, your best self. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaders and the Mid-Career Crisis Thing

mid-career-crisisHave you experienced a mid-career crisis… yet? Leaders have their favorite stories of how they got to where they are and the leadership lessons learned along the way. But once in a while, a leader starts to feel uneasy telling the same old stories, and begins to question everything. Welcome to mid-career crisis, also known as the Hero’s Journey.

The hero’s journey has been told and retold in many different ways in every culture throughout the world. Yours might go something like this:

You’ve got all your ducks in a row, established some healthy routines, and you’re comfortably progressing on your career path. Then “bam!” you hit a wall. You’re stuck. You wake up knowing something’s missing and you don’t know what it is.

It’s relatively common: It may be a mid-life thing, but it can happen early on, and it also strikes toward the end of one’s career. In that moment of stuckness, we are faced with three choices: go back, stand still and stagnate, or jump ahead to an uncertain future.

The hero’s journey is a leadership story which has been told and retold in many different ways in every culture throughout the world. Joseph Campbell wrote about this phenomenon in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he examines mythic figures such as Jonah, Odysseus, and King Arthur. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How and Why We Need to Play at Work

Play-at-WorkIt’s obvious that play outside of work  ̶  through sports, games, family activities and community functions – is essential. For example, golf is widely practiced by executives. Social and business connections happen when you spend time with others playing sports. What is less obvious is our need to play at work, as we work. Play – as we work – can energize us, helps us to see new patterns, sparks curiosity and triggers ideas and innovation.

Play helps us deal with work problems. What kind of play is appropriate at work? You don’t necessarily have to engage in off-site team-building games to play at work, although those are occasionally beneficial.

But there is a playful mindset that doesn’t involve elaborate planning. It simply means to step-back, see the humor in things, play with possibilities, words, observations, and allow openness. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, leadership, relationships | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Having Fun at Work?

Fun-at-Work“We’re having too much fun at work!” That’s something I rarely hear these days in my work coaching people. Yet, I wonder if we don’t discount the value of enjoyment for high performance on the job. There is power in play, even for the most serious of careers.

Think about this: Having fun and playing is in our genes. Studies show that play has a survival advantage in the wild. When young animals engage in rough and tumble play-fighting, they are learning skills and social rules. Those that play the most, grow more neurons, and have more robust mental as well as physical stamina. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, collaboration, leadership, relationships | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Renewing Yourself: The Power of Play

Power-of-playI’ve been writing about the challenges of innovations that are coming in the future of work and it seems to me that it’s overwhelming to imagine a world not yet invented. One of the most powerful ways to meet challenges, however, is to clear the mind with play. In my opinion, most of us are working way too hard and don’t play enough.

What ever happened to unbridled joy in our daily lives? Remember the fun of play we experienced as children? Maybe we need to renew ourselves and start playing more.

Nearly everyone starts out in life playing quite naturally, having fun with whatever’s available. We make up rules, invent games with playmates, fantasize and imagine mysteries and treasures.

Something happens as we become working adults: we shift our priorities into organized, competitive goal-directed activities. If an activity doesn’t teach us a skill, make us money, or further our social relationships, we don’t want to waste time being nonproductive. And yet the power of play is that when we engage in it, we work better. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, collaboration, leadership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Work:
Will You Be “Future Smart”?

Future-of-Work-Changes-AheadIf the first two decades of the 21st century are an indication of how the future of work is evolving, we’ll need to be vigilant and innovative to stay relevant.

Game-changing trends will continue to affect business, technology, the workforce, the economy, security and the environment. We’re well aware of many of them: climate change, energy demand and population growth. We can only guess at others.

Thriving in this future requires you to become predictive, adaptive and agile—what global futurist James Canton, PhD, calls Future Smart.

Exponential new technologies will emerge in digital money, mobile commerce and big data. An explosive new middle class of more than 1 billion consumers will enter the marketplace. We can look forward to: Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, executive leadership, strategy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Future of Work: 5 Skills for the Robotic Age

Robotic-ExecutiveI’ve been intrigued by the book Metaskills: 5 Talents for the Robotic Age, by business adviser Marty Neumeier. He points out that for the future of work, we need to stay on top of the robot curve—the constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation.

Neumeier outlines five metaskills that—so far—robots cannot handle: Read More »

Posted in career, executive leadership, leadership, learning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Work:
“Help! A Robot Ate My Job!”

Future-of-Work-RobotsIf you haven’t yet heard this complaint, you probably will in the future of work. Yet even as some jobs can now be done by robots, others remain unfilled. Today’s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis; it’s a talent crisis. There’s not enough talent for the jobs that are available.

Welcome to the future of work, the Robot Age. Technology is taking every job that doesn’t require a high degree of creativity, humanity or leadership. It seems to me that one thing a machine can’t do (yet) is think like a human. We are creative and imaginative. We can innovate.

In times of rapid change, success favors those who can make big leaps of imagination, courage and effort. Innovation and creative destruction have been rampant in the first two decades of the 21st century. For the future of work, the call for new ways to do our jobs will become even more pressing.

10 Areas Ripe for Innovation Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, leadership | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Your Business:
What You Need to Do Now

Future-of-BusinessI’ve been reading about what it takes for people to see what will be needed for the future of business. What can we do to open our minds to innovation? How can we be better prepared for all the rapid changes in technology and the way business is done? These three previous posts discuss different issues:

Every day, machines are getting better at doing our thinking for us. We’re a long way from being managed by robots, but then again, some say that machines will be capable of human-like interactions by the year 2030. Today, resources like Watson Anlaytics, Google Predict, and DataRobot are helping companies leverage data to provide insight to their customers. Read More »

Posted in career, leadership, learning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Work: Global Connectivity

Future-of-Work-ConnectivityWhat will the future of work be like for you? Thinking about the future is hard, mainly because we’re so mired in the present. One thing’s for sure, we’re all going to have to develop an eye for new trends if we’re going to survive. The pace of game-changing innovations is only accelerating. No matter what industry you’re working in, you can expect it to change radically over the next five years.

What can leaders do to develop an eye for future trends? We need to break out of our thinking routines and assumptions for one thing.

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, observed that decision makers get stuck in a memory loop and can only predict the future as a reflection of the past. He labels this dynamic the “narrative fallacy” – you see the future as merely a slight variation on yesterday’s news.

This means that to be able to break away from this thinking trap, we need to question all assumptions and engage in extreme brainstorming. An interesting book on seeing future trends is Future Smart: Managing the Game-Changing Trends that Will Transform Your World by Dr. James Canton.
Read More »

Posted in career, collaboration, leadership | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment