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Roadmaps for Life

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

When we learn to attune ourselves to our inner compass, we follow a map that only we can then see, our own path.

Throughout our lives, from basically the time we were born, we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What would you like to become? Where are you going to go to school? What are you thinking of doing with your life? How many of you reading this right now are raising your hand? Now, how many of you were asked by your parents, teachers, friends, or colleagues the question, “Who are You?" If you don’t have a reason to raise your hand, this is where the rubber meets the road.

The purpose of knowing who you are is to know your value. It’s to create a roadmap for your individual journey to get you where you need to go, not where others have guided you. These roadmaps are made up of moral codes. parables and, in some cases, detailed memories of remembering what brought you joy and happiness, and you felt like you were in the flow when someone came in and squashed that feeling.

Our internal map are based on observations from the past, and we are living in the present, so we are the only true experts on our journey to finding our purpose and putting it into our profession. We may be called to change direction entirely so that the maps we have been carrying no longer apply. These are the moments when we learn to attune ourselves to our own inner compass and draw upon the places and spaces we find our happiness and joy. Following a map that only we can see as we make our way into the unknown territory of our own making.

As Gen Z’s and millennials, we are navigating a very delicate balance of building careers, building our network and communities, our relationships, and creating a home in a rental apartment, all while attempting to tend to our own self-care and crossing over the lines of young adult to adulthood.

So many people, post-Covid, are experiencing loads of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world. We’re dealing with a global pandemic, environmental crises, fractured economics, and too much time on social media, getting our self-esteem kicked in the ass.

It can be overwhelming and scary. But as long as we remain open and curious and dig deep into who we are and are willing to learn and listen, there are many things in life we can have agency for and create a container for that will help us cross the divider of young adult into adulthood without crashing.

How To Practice The Above:

  1. Identify Your Story: Go back in time to when you were 8-10 years of age, when you were lost in your joy, happiness, and inflow before your mom called you for dinner? Download the TADA PDF and brain-dump your memories of what brought you joy. 
  2. Witness: Notice how it makes you feel to remember who you were as a child and what were the things that brought you a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Pause: Let it fill your heart and soul with its presence as you remember being a child full of wonder and how far perhaps you have moved from that wonderful space and place in your life.
  4. Stop Shaming Yourself: Stop then thinking or feeling you are not good enough now. Perhaps it is the career that others thought might be best for you. Maybe you have been in a career that no longer serves you, or ever did.

When we go back and reconstruct our true selves, we can rebuild the internal map that will lead us down the road and back home…to ourselves.

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