Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Clues from your childhood

When I've coached people on career transitions or even exploring retirement options, I've frequently asked clients to think back to childhood and remember what they liked or didn't like then.

Whatever does childhood have to do with who I am now? you may ask. Actually, many clues are buried in our childhood memories and experiences. How did you spend your time? What did you enjoy doing then? What did you really not like to do? What do you remember saying? Feeling? Doing?

It can be helpful to write a short autobiography of your childhood years—or what you remember of those years. Perhaps photos of you from that period might be telling. For example, one of the photos I have of myself from childhood was taken at about age 2-1/2 or 3. I'm walking in the yard of our farm home clutching a doll in one hand and a book in the other. That photo really symbolizes who I am: The book is all about my love of reading, which then led to my career as a journalist. I still love writing and editing to this day—and in addition to my coaching blogs and monthly ezine, I do a lot of freelance and contract writing and editing. The doll reflects the nurturing side of me—not only the woman who enjoyed motherhood and now loves her role as an engaged grandmother of nine—but who sees coaching as a way to nurture and empower others. In my writing and journalism leadership roles, too, I was all about encouraging others to be the best they could be.

If you are thinking of career change—or if you are considering retirement and volunteer options, consider reflecting on your childhood for clues to what would feed you now. And don't forget to look for photos of yourself. As they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words!

If you would like to talk about any of these topics, please contact me.

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