On episode 352 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing and healthcare career podcast, Keith discusses the concept of career mastery and how to find yourself along the path of creating your very own career “wonderland”. Can it be done even when the world around us is in chaos? Keith believes it’s altogether possible — and necessary.
This podcast episode is based on an article by Nurse Keith published on LinkedIn on January 6, 2022. Here’s an excerpt:
Building and maintaining a career — whether in nursing, medicine, law, real estate, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, or any other path — can often feel like a slog and a chore. Either there’s education to pursue, new skills to learn, technology to continually adapt to, or myriad other challenges and tasks that can take a great deal of time and the shedding of copious blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention lost time with family and for self-care.
That said, moving along one’s chosen career trajectory can also be an exciting time of personal growth, increasing professional mastery, a sense of activated personal agency, and the satisfaction of how a career can blossom and morph over time with concerted effort and a touch of serendipity and creative divergent thinking.
Walking through the snowy forest surrounding my new rental home in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico over the New Year’s holiday weekend, I was struck by the wonderland in which I found myself. Having just gone through a challenging move over the holiday season with my beloved out of town due to a death in the family and my spirits flagging, I found myself uplifted by the beauty of my surroundings and the sense that the new year is offering opportunities for doing things differently, reassessing my priorities, and reviving aspects of my professional life that are calling out for some resuscitation. Can I indeed create my own wonderland?
Career mastery has a great deal to do with overcoming obstacles, facing the vicissitudes of life and work, and finding avenues for self-fulfillment, personal and professional growth, and joy amidst the tumult and chaos around us. In the coronavirus era, big existential questions arise, just as they do in times of war or disaster, and our ability to pursue mastery can be challenged by our desire to focus solely on survival, hide our heads in the sand, or otherwise avoid taking risks in the interest of moving our professional lives forward in bold ways.
What would mastery look like for you at this juncture in your personal and professional growth? Is it mastery over your emotions and reactions, or is it mastery of a particular skill (e.g.: starting an IV, reading an astrological chart, writing a killer blog post, diagnosing an inner ear infection, or parallel parking)? If you were to embark on a path towards mastery, would that lead you to your career wonderland? Would that land you in the magical place of trees coated with confectioner sugar snow and rock candy icicles?
Your professional wonderland won’t be delivered by a perfect employer or workplace, and it won’t come into existence because of your colleagues. In the end, it won’t really have to do with benefits, salary, your 401k, or vacation time. Your wonderland starts with you, your values, your goals, what you bring to the table, and how you choose to create it. No one can make it happen for you, and the external circumstances can’t fully dictate your ultimate happiness.
Things like the coronavirus pandemic and other disruptions will inevitably come to pass, and how you respond to those challenges will mean a great deal. Like the pandemic, there are things beyond your control, and some situations will undoubtedly cause you much misery. Even then, the onus is ultimately on you to make new choices, forge new paths, and build new bridges to the future that you want to create.
If you can cultivate resilience, know your intrinsic worth, understand the values that inform your life, and gain deeper and deeper understanding of who you are and what your mission in life may be, you’ll be that much closer to your wonderland. It’s truly inside of you, and your main task is to focus on bringing that wonderland that dwells in your heart and mind into external reality. Are you ready to make it happen?
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