It’s All About Your Career. Really.


Leonie Cutts

August 4, 2015 1:28 am

If you have ever had your eyes tested, you might remember the eye chart. It’s a little black and white chart on the wall with a random assortment of letters placed in lines of decreasing order.

The thing you might not remember, or have even thought about, is that the underlying message of the eye chart is: eventually you are going to get to a point where you can’t see any more. You are being primed for failure.

Ellen Langer, researcher in the area of non meditative mindfulness, uses this example to remind us of common experiences we are exposed to that we don’t challenge or think about – and yet, if they were different, so too would be the outcome.

This past weekend, hosted by the Xplore for Success team in a peaceful bushland retreat, had a small group of women taking time out to consider our careers mindfully.  To challenge what we accept as normal, to provoke bigger thinking and to build a vision for our future careers.

It was also the first time the CCS Career Catalyst was out in public. This is a CCS initiative, and a partnership between Xplore for Success and CCS Corporation. It is a tool to help people mindfully think about their careers; where they have been, where they are going and what they really want.

The magic lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to social and cultural cues. We need to challenge the idea that the limits we assume are real must exist for us all. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, our language, and in our expectations, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviours that sap creativity, health, optimism, and vitality from our lives.

Ellen Langer

Expertly guided through the weekend by Ozlem Beldan, we were encouraged to challenge our language, our expectations and our thinking.  Di Ryall encouraged us to break the stereotypes laid out for women.

Some shifts that happened as the group used the Career Catalyst to reflect on their careers were heard in these comments:

It gets to the heart of why I stay where I am… and why I get frustrated.

I hadn’t thought about my personal values, what I want.  I just thought about the organisations values. Now I see them both, I can understand where the gap is.

It’s starting to clear up a lot of things… because when I felt at my best was about 10 years ago!

Change begins with awareness. Positive change happens when you take the awareness and move toward what you want, shedding negative or unwanted beliefs and experiences.

The weekend not only reinforced the importance of questioning and challenging our positions, but also reminded us of the joy of being surrounded by positive and supportive women. Having people on your side as you laugh and cry and push yourself to the next level is so valuable in making the journey, not only possible, but rich and nourishing. Thank you to all the wonderful women who shared the weekend!

Back to the eye chart. The really cool thing that Ellen Langer and her research team did was flip the eye chart – so the letters started off little and ended up bigger.  It primed people for success. And guess what?  They did better.

Are you priming yourself for success?