A few weeks ago I read a blog post on the Stanford Alumni LinkedIn group about Steve Jobs‘ inspirational commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. Listening to it on YouTube, I was really taken by Jobs‘ awareness of what it means to live out fully one’s career and life transitions.
By transitions, I refer to William Bridges‘ definition from his book, Transitions-- Making Sense of Life’s Changes, where he says: “. . . Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life . . . Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t “take.”
Returning to Steve Jobs‘ talk to graduating students, he mentions a huge transitional time for him when he was 30, had set up the wildly innovative and successful company, Apple computers-- and then was fired by the Apple board, who felt he was no longer the right person to lead the company. He was devastated and blindsided. As he said, “I felt ashamed, I didn’t know what to do. I’d been rejected, but I was still in love.”
During his dark night of the soul-- the necessary, psychological “chaos” period during this major career-life transition (because his life was so connected with his work)-- his lifeline was discovering deep inside himself that no matter what, “I loved what I did.” Not knowing what else to do, he followed his intuition using “beginner’s mind,” and started Next, still doing what he loved to do. And Apple rehired him, with Next technology becoming “the heart of the Apple renaissance.”
One thing especially stands out for me in his talk, when he says-- “You have to trust in something-- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.”
As a career & life coach, I often work with people who have a heart-felt intuition that they’re ready to take a leap off the well-worn path of how they’ve been working or the style of life they’ve been leading. Often in our coaching work, we spend time together holding the space for that intuition to ripen into an inner knowing that carries them forward towards where and who they really want to be.
As Jobs says, “It’s impossible to connect the dots going forward.” So you have to have a way to hold the faith that your intuition has the seeds of who you are becoming and what you need to do in this life. This is my joy as a career & life coach-- seeing how people blossom and are fulfilled when they are supported in going through inner chaos to personal and professional fulfillment!