I Love The Beach

I love the beach (and career counselling)!

Swimming is my thing.  It maintains my mental and physical health and I do it all year round.  Never in a pool, mind you – it only works for me if it’s in the ocean.

While taking the plunge recently, it struck me how a visit to the beach in Winter can be a little like approaching a career change.

In the summer months, it’s easy…the mornings are very warm and the sea sparkles with an invitation to dive in.  During the colder winter months, it’s an entirely different affair.  The wind is chill, the shadow of the dunes on the beach make the sand cold, the sea has an ambient temperature of about 10oC and when the sky is grey and threatening rain, it just doesn’t look like fun.

However, it strikes me again and again, how, as I traipse down the ramp to the beach on a cold morning, rugged up against the inclement weather with my buddy, I’m cold, stiff and wondering why I’m not drinking a hot chocolate right now, I persevere.  The walk eventually starts to warm my limbs (although that did not happen this morning!) and, by the time we come back to strip off some of the warmer layers, I’m thinking about the next step – dipping my toes into that icy cold cauldron. 

Every day, it surprises me how cold it is, how difficult it is to submerge my body with every ounce of my being wanting to step back onto the shore and replace the woolly jacket and head home to that hot chocolate.  Every day, I continue in (encouraged by my buddy) and take the plunge, many days inch by chilly inch, until I’ve finally submerged myself in the icy cold.  Swimming energetically, aware of every millimeter of skin exposed to the unforgiving elements, burning with the cold.

Then, after some time, something odd happens.  I acclimatize to the temperature of the ocean, I begin to regain feeling in my extremities, and I could almost imagine it’s a warm day in mid-February, despite it’s a cold morning in August.  My body adjusts and I start to enjoy the sensation of floating in the ocean, keeping my eyes peeled for passing dolphins.

Every day, I finish my swim, and come out again, feeling refreshed, revived and glad that I persevered and made the effort to come and submit.

I guess this is an allegory for life, or careers for that matter; it’s the agony before the ecstasy.  When we decide to do something, we know is good for us and will make us a better person, worker, etc.  But it’s the hard work at the beginning, intellectualizing the benefits before we can realise them in our future, that presents the challenge.  Staying the course, doing the hard work and persevering – these are the key ingredients in a successful (career) change strategy.  It isn’t about showing up on the sunny days, it’s about hauling yourself through the dark, dank, wet and cold days, that delivers success over time.

When you’re considering a career change, I encourage you to consider the end-goal – the new career, the better future, the improved earnings potential, the better fit with strengths, interests and values.   Visualizing what you want and identifying your “motivating why” is essential.

Then I want you to consider all the roadblocks that may present along the way – what’s going to stop you? What will slow you down and discourage you?  Identify it, own it and then commit to working through all the challenges, stay the course and keep your eye on the prize.

Believe me – it’s worth it.  Every day I’m surprised how much it’s worth it.  Every day the challenge is a new one, but every single day the joyful, exuberant feeling of accomplishment at the end is worth every ounce of difficulty at the start.

If you find that you need your own buddy on the journey, we’re here to help.  As Perth’s leading career advisors, we can provide the career guidance and coaching to support you in identifying what it is that you want and then help you develop a road map to get you there.  Contact us.