There’s nothing like a world pandemic to shake up our assumptions and priorities! I’m pretty sure many of us used to feel quite confident about our career paths and definitions of success. But now all that doesn’t feel so straightforward anymore, when not just our careers, but some of our industries are largely on hold.

When we first entered lockdown the definition of success suddenly became finding toilet rolls and pasta at our local supermarket. Many of us had a crash course in sorting out new financial plans and strategies with little or no income, negotiating rent freezes or mortgage holidays, government help schemes and benefits.

After months of staying apart from our friends, family and colleagues, success developed into a socially distanced walk with a friend, connecting with neighbours you previously didn’t know well, or an online get together with people you care about.

As we slowly move back into circulation, many of our measures of success are still fairly modest, such as getting back on public transport or having a meal out. There is still a lot of anxiety about getting back out there and life is still far from normal, but I know I am slowly starting to re-engage with the outside world.

It would be wrong to suggest it has all been bad though. I reckon I have achieved a PhD in Zoom. And, an unexpected benefit of moving all the FEU Training workshops online is that they have become more accessible to people who couldn’t previously attend. Not just geographically but also for people with disabilities who can now attend because they can manage their energy better as they attend from home. Even when we can hold face-to-face training again, it is our intention to continue with online workshops to maintain this benefit.

Months of living life in a different way and at a different pace has given many an opportunity to really think. Some have been surprised by the conclusions they have reached. Many recognising that they have been on a tread mill, disengaged from the bigger picture, are now making plans for the future that takes them in a new direction, with a different focus and priorities.

I’m speaking to lots of people who are finding pleasure in exploring their talents, interests and passions in new ways without feeling the pressure of making it a permanent career strategy. For some, they are actually rediscovering what it is they love about their work.

At risk of being controversial, could this also be a time of opportunity? I speak to many of our members who have turned their creative juices onto working differently in this new environment and there have been some great ideas. I’ve seen zoom plays, online musical gigs and some community projects.

People are connecting with each other in new ways, and a by-product of whole industries being at home is that previously inaccessible people are now more available and potentially open to new approaches. There are opportunities for new alliances and partnerships.

So how are you viewing success for yourself at the moment? These past few months have been different for all of us. If you have not yet had a chance to ponder this, maybe take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the aspects of your life before Covid 19 that you want to retain and re-engage with?
  • What were you doing before that you don’t want to return to?
  • Has the experience of that last months changed your priorities? If so, how?
  • Is there anything you have been doing during the last months that you could develop into a career opportunity?
  • What does success look like to you now?

Further info: view our 'Strategies for success' webinar recording.

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