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Anticipating Career Eclipses

All elements in nature have phases that are powerful and phases that are not.

An all powerful 'sun' seemingly loses its power at night /winter/ during an eclipse.

However it goes through the phases with nonchalance.

A career eclipse is when you are not able to shine in your own greatness in your career.

It can be partial eclipse & manifest as restlessness, a feeling of being stuck & slow career growth

or a full eclipse as lay offs, demotions, etc.

Whatever be the case, its important to build acceptance & anticipatory skills to prepare for it rather than being caught off-guard. This is not to say that one has to live in constant anxiety of one's career. It is to say that - building resilience inspite of the circumstances is important.

Let's explore how to build acceptance first.

  1. Cycles

We observe that life itself works in cycles.

Nature has different seasons.

Business cycles have different flavours from growth to recession.

Your career also goes up & down in cycles.

If you work for an average of 32 years, you are going to at least see 8-10 different cycles.

So when it looks like 'low' sometimes, it is but natural/ by design.

2. Impermanence

Nothing lasts forever. Everything forever changes.

To make our career growth a permanent fixture only makes us a control freak.

A straight line in ECG means 'no life'.

So will it be for your career, if it is always the same.

We can't prevent it from changing.

However, the good news is that it will run its course and shift even if you are currently in a low. And to perceive the highs, we need the lows too as our perception works on contrast.

And now to build anticipatory skills:

  1. Inspect your seemingly safe cocoon

When you get into a job, and get used to it, its becomes a safe cocoon.

Sometimes we don't look at it objectively ever after.

Give yourself permission to inspect your cocoon at regular cadence and see whether that is helping you grow or its building a boundary around you?

2. Zoom-out

Being a frog in a well limits our perspective.

When we are ready to expand our view, new things start to appear.

Become aware of your industry trends, how your company is faring, what are the opportunities coming up in the collective and how differently can you play this time?

Pay particular attention to skill gaps for your aspirational roles and how you can bridge through learning.

3. Find mentors, coaches, allies

You don't have to do it all alone. Connect with people who inspire you inside & outside your own organisation.

Seek to understand non-linear career paths.

Share your knowledge and reverse-mentor.

Build an eco-system of supporters who can actually help you pivot in your career.

The best time to prepare for a career-low is when you are not in one.

Build your resilience, build your path - and before long you will shine in your own greatness.

What works for you to accept and anticipate career eclipses?

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