This month, I've been coaching a young woman on the brink of a major career change. She has just found out that her job is being eliminated, and she's hoping to make a smooth transition to something new. She wants to find an organization that aligns with her values. She wants to make the right move and not just jump into the first opportunity that presents itself. We've worked on articulating her values, describing the kind of organizational culture she's looking for and thrives in, and what she wants to get out of a new role. Yes, of course, a paycheck is important, but she wants a career that is more than that.
In one of our recent sessions, she realized how much baggage from her current job she is carrying. You can see the heaviness weighing her down. She was never really given constructive performance feedback, so she's incredibly anxious about whether or how she'll know that she can actually do another job. She's already doubting her own ability before she's even started. That's the baggage she's holding onto that she picked up from her current employer.
When I work with clients who are holding onto things that they no longer want to carry, I like to do a little exercise to have them think about their baggage:
Now that you've filled your bag with something else instead of the heaviness that was there before, you are reminded of what's truly important to carry with you and what is just taking up space and weight in your mind, body, and heart. Inevitably, we move on to new situations (jobs, relationships, etc) where we accumulate some new baggage. When things feel heavy, it's a good time to do this visualization again. With practice, you become better at packing your bag with just the essentials. Each time you do it, imagine saying to the things you are leaving behind, "I can't take you with me." Then pick up your bag and walk in the future.