I have been thinking about how to have an anti-racist career. I often coach my clients on how to dream big, and then follow a narrow path – how both are required to strategically create the careers that we want. I’m using the same process myself to consider anti-racism in every aspect of my work life. Like the larger global movement, this requires a radical re-imagining of schedules, methods, goals, projects – everything. It’s career transformation….and that is my love language.
(Note – this is not anti-racism 101 or a checklist to assuage guilt. Google and read books for that – resources abound.)
Today I’m sharing my process for career transformation in hopes that you use it to create more antiracist alignment in your own work.
Mindset shifts are powerful. So, let’s go on a journey.
First – assume the impossible is possible.
Take every rational limitation, barrier or concern off the table. Just for fun.
Answer this question: In my ideal career in which I flourish, what would be my criteria for how I spend my time and energy?
Write it down. There is a gap between your answers and the actions aligned with those answers. This distance is crossed with a series of permissions.
Here are your permission slips.
- Permission to DREAM BIG. We are here because women who came before us dared to dream big. They dared to dream of realities that didn’t exist. They didn’t use ‘feasible’ or ‘too radical’ to limit their dreaming. They were not interested in marginal improvement. They came to flip tables and establish an entirely new paradigm. Thank God for them. What is the point of dreaming if you are not pushing the boundaries? What is something impossible you want? Go really nuts and dare to write it down.
- Permission to START OVER. A painful barrier to making the changes we know we need (e.g. our schedule, the lack of boundaries from certain colleagues, the way we put our own work last) is the idea of losing ground or having wasted months and years on the wrong path, with the wrong mentor, focused on the wrong priorities. Yet, here is what is true: every single day is an active choice you make in the direction of your career. And each day that leads up to the moment you realize a change is needed is filled with valuable, bankable experiences. There is only one guaranteed way to truly lose ground and waste time: and that is to reach the moment you KNOW you need a change… and then choose not to make it. Anything you are not changing, you are choosing – day in and day out.
- Permission to TAKE ACTION TODAY. The most powerful value that you bring to the table is the realization of your ‘impossible’ dreams. If there was ever a time to recognize this truth – It. Is. Now. If you are waiting for 2020 to get better…Girl, read the room. There is never going to be a ‘good time.’ There is only ever this moment. Do you want to feel excited about your work again? Do you want to feel a sense of purpose in what you have to contribute? Do you want to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing? Then start investing in yourself, through action, today. Are you on a study you hate? Quit. Did you labor for 2 years on a project and yet the paper is languishing behind everyone else’s priorities? Cancel the meetings and start writing. Take action today.
- Permission to DISAPPOINT PEOPLE. The thing that happens when you take ownership of your career, is that you realize just how much of yourself you have ceded to external expectations that are at odds with your needs and values. This awareness hurts, but it’s necessary. When you can name it, you can reclaim it. And when you shift to reclaim yourself, you will disappoint people used to your façade. Even wonderful people that you are incredibly grateful for. This is scary and it’s OK. That fear is why you’ve avoided this reclamation for so long. Rest assured because disappointed people who are authentically invested in your success and well being will not go anywhere. As for everyone else…let them go.
- Permission to FLOURISH. When you choose boldness and radical fidelity to your career dreams, you unlock your potential waiting to leap out. Consider the idea that no matter what your status is right now, you are working under duress. And every single thing that feels impossible is the exact step required to nourish your full potential. It doesn’t make sense because the scarcity-driven, gold-star oriented culture of academic medicine dictates that only pain and failure await you if you dare to be different. And yet it is the exact opposite. You get to do it differently and still win. Yes, it IS possible.
Everything you need, you have.
You would not be here if you could not do it.
Much much love,
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