Like an ace, I spilled hot tea on my laptop as I sat in my friend Molly’s kitchen chatting away and talking about business and people. “Oh shiz,” I said, and Molly said “Turn it over!” but I was too slow, and strangely enough my early training kicked in enough so that I couldn’t bring myself to dump tea water onto Molly’s dining-room table, even as I saw the laptop die in front of me. While my friend Diana is transferring files into the new laptop, I thought I should use the downtime to post things that people have been asking for and/or telling us they have found useful in our workshops. A popular one is this Path exercise:
It’s your path. Gotta claim that path before you can figure out what’s next, right? You start with you as a baby, and bring us up to the current day. It’s eye-opening to write or draw about your path – heck, just to think about it. Who ever asks you about your path? But how are you gonna get any altitude without getting out of the minute-to-minute “Did I pay the cable bill?” stress zone and think about where you’ve been? That’s all I’m saying.
Have fun with the Path exercise. Leave a comment and tell us what you found. I do one of these every once in a while and I always have an “Aha!” Geez, I only just started drawing again in late 2012 when my friend Juli asked for some doodles to put on our website. The bee on our homepage is one of the doodles. I said “Okay, I’ll draw some doodles” and I remembered that I love to draw. I’ve always loved drawing and I had to think a while in high school about whether to go to music school or art school. I figured back then, “I’ll sing now and do art when I’m too old to sing.” I still sing but the art is roaring back in the form of our sharpietastic exercises and tools. I am excited to hear what you think of them!
My point is that there are these threads and strains from our early life that really want to join back together sometimes, and completing this Path exercise can get us in touch with some of them. If I had only twenty seconds to answer the profound question “How should I decide where to focus my energy and talents now, in my career and life, for the next chapter?” I’d say “Think about what you loved to do when you were little, but put aside.” That element or theme can come back into your life and your work very easily. Altitude has everything to do with that. When we get enough altitude, we can see without much trouble how the strains fit together. Once you see it, employers will see it. Not that I’m saying the Path exercise is just for job-seekers; it’s for everyone.
I gave one to my ten-year-old son, but he made it into a battle map for Star Wars clone troopers. You can do the exercise that way too, if that’s your cup of tea.
If you haven’t joined Human Workplace yet, please do; it’s free and we just launched in November so we are in the field of all possibilities. Come on our Facebook page when you have time. Don’t forget to download the Path exercise at the red link above, before you go!