I Wish I Had....

At Brosna Career Consulting we coach individuals working at many different stages and job levels around their important career transition issues. 

As part of this process we get very close in on understanding an individual’s motivations and aspirations at various stages of their careers. Indeed we actively encourage individuals to reflect upon the journey they have travelled and, of course, to focus hard on what they really want from the next stage of their career; to help this process of reflection we have developed a range of proprietary questionnaires to give some clear and deliberative structure to these reflections. Asking the right questions inevitably throws up some fascinating dialogues. 

So here is the important rub, arising particularly from engaging with more experienced, senior individuals who are often working with sizeable organisations.

I would now be a very wealthy man indeed if I had gathered a pound for every time during the course of a career transition dialogue, when an individual is reflecting on their past decisions about some critical past point in their career, and they say “I wish I had .....” and then go on to complete the sentence with details of an unfulfilled aspiration. 

Whoever we are and whatever we do, we all have some unfulfilled aspirations from our past, choices that we made to follow a certain route for very understandable pragmatic, practical and rational reasons when actually in our heart of hearts we would really, really have preferred to do something different. Most of us reconcile ourselves over time to not dwelling on those past moments or missed opportunities to follow a different journey. But for some the nagging thought never quite goes away and the recurring regretful question emerges “What if I had ...? “

So at Brosna our perspective on this when coaching individuals is to encourage the following lines of thinking:

  • It is never too late to change direction or revisit career options or choices that have been passed over if you still have a strong preference and desire to do something different. Yes there will be consequences to any new decision you might make, but there are always consequences of challenging and potentially rewarding personal decisions. 

  • Avoid the negative mindset thinking of “oh its all too late”, “it will never work now”, “how will I cope” . Instead turn the dialogue in your head into a “how to” conversation. See it as a positive problem solving challenge to work out how you might move/transition from where you are now to some new more appealing role or state. Don’t ignore the potential obstacles or difficulties but instead ask how you might address and overcome these and what kind of plan you would need to put in place. 

  • Do this simple “Back to the Future” exercise. Imagine yourself in 5 years from now and you are still broadly doing the same job. Then from this future time and perspective of 2024, look back on 2019 and complete the sentence about that time “I wish I had ...”  . In other words ask what is it right now that I really want to be doing differently, that if I don’t act now I might have a big sense of regret over in the future? 

Life is remarkably short and careers even shorter. If we are constantly denying ourselves the opportunity to evaluate different pathways and choices to become more fulfilled, then we may be storing up feelings of future regret and dissatisfaction. So maybe it is time to grasp the nettle, look at things anew and plot a different course for yourself.

If we can help you in any way on this journey, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial confidential dialogue at tim@brosna-consulting.com