In August 2012, I backpacked the John Muir Trail / Pacific Crest Trail in California, a 195 mile backpacking trip with 2 great friends. We have now hiked around 1400 miles of the PCT over the past 31 years but this section was amazing!
As you look at this beautiful picture of the mountains we hiked in, try to find the trail that lies ahead of us. Every day we looked ahead for the trail and we usually saw something that looked like this picture. Is the trail going to go up this valley to the left? Or is it going to go up and around the far side of that tall peak in the middle? Or will it head into the valley and go right before that peak? Often we did not know for sure.
As people head down their own career path, they all too often cannot KNOW where the path will go exactly. They can choose a direction but the actual path appears in a serendipitous manner. We need to help our clients embrace serendipity, “discovering opportunities by accident”. We need to help them be open to possibilities that lie ahead. We can help our clients plan a path, but we need to be open to the possibility that it may not lead to exactly what we thought. It may veer to the right or left, but I can say that it will take us somewhere. And that “somewhere” may turn out to be even BETTER than the original path.
Remember to help your clients decide on a direction but to be open to unexpected opportunities.
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a monthly newsletter for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
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Mark Follett says
Dear Mr. Peacock:
Thank you for your blog on “Unexpected Opportunities”. I agree with your statement: “As people head down their own career path, we too often cannot KNOW where the path will go exactly.” I found that my career path wasn’t what I had expected it would be after receiving to two masters degrees from a prominent Institution of higher education located in Boston. Also I was intrigued by your statement in reference to our career path, “It is not a right or wrong decision; it is a right or left one.” In light of this last statement, do you believe that there would be such a thing as a good or bad fit?
Jim Peacock says
Clearly there can be “good and bad fits”; the question for me is “what can you learn from the experience?”
A “right or left decision” gives people permission to take a chance and not wait for ALL the information. If it is a “bad” fit, what can you learn from it and “what will you do about it?”
Maybe they discover a job they had not consider before?
Maybe they could meet a person who could help them?
Maybe they simply learned “what they don’t like”
Things work out best, for the ones who make the best out of the way things work out.
I think I have a new blog percolating here on dealing with failure 🙂 We can learn quite a bit from a “bad fit” can’t we?
Kevin D says
Reminds me of a phrase from David Middleton: “snorkling up a muddy river”.
Jim Peacock says
I finally had a chance to go read the blog from David Middleton 🙂
“snorkeling up a muddy river” is a great visual and clearly has a number of uses in our career world doesn’t it?
Rees Hughes says
Jim, I’ve enjoyed your first couple of blog posts. Looking forward to more (along with the great photos).