2015 in Review: I’m Grateful for the Bumps in the Road

I could write a long, rambling post about the work life elements that were a healthy challenge in 2015. However, that would really not serve you well. Personally, this was a “growth year” career-wise. I won’t sugar-coat it — offering you a tale that every aspect included a “silver lining”. The path was not that forgiving. I’m going to be honest. I explored and took missteps. I hit a few intersections and became impatient for the “light to change”. There were other moments where I lost my sense of direction, before righting the compass.

However, I am also grateful for much of it.

Progress of any kind — whether for an individual or an organization — is often hard fought.

In everyone’s path there should be a moment when you pause and ask the question: “What is my career mission?” (During the past 12 months I have pressed that question to the limit.) I have looked toward what I would hope to accomplish over the next few years, while balancing what I was willing to give up. These choices were daunting — yet completely career affirming. I’ve experienced first-hand, that if you find nothing in your work day touches that core mission, you’ll likely disengage. Shifting into reverse wasn’t going to “cut it”. Realizing this was an important moment.

I remain committed to my core career mission: “To help build healthy, sustainable workplaces.” I take this mission very personally. As a psychologist, I view the “engagement crisis” as a very personal failure.

The upside:

  • I see the challenge more clearly. For years, we all have been reading about the engagement crisis within organizations today. We’ve measured and re-measured our pain. However, we may be neglecting core elements that halt our progress forward. One issue: Developing organizational programs that once deployed, do not fight engagement. This isn’t entirely into focus. However, I’m glimpsing patterns that may solve the puzzle. I’m grateful for this.
  • Risk is central. I’m learning every day, that measured risk is a part of a meaningful career path. I didn’t always believe this. However, in the 21st century, we all have to re-calibrate our paths more frequently. Because we (and our workplaces) evolve, we find ourselves at inflection points that require decisions that are inherently risky. This happens to most of us. (Do I share that I am unhappy? Is sharing my idea going to help or hurt my path? Should I turn down a role that will not align with my career mission?)
  • Perfection is not the standard to create impact. We all harbor doubt. When launching into a new role, project or task — confidence can become the stumbling block that feels much like a brick wall. Remember that while you may feel unprepared — it’s likely that what you know is enough to impact the situation. Perfection is not the standard. Moving the needle is. I’m grateful, that I can help move that needle.

Growth is never a smooth process. More likely, it arrives unannounced.

In fact, sometimes it is not apparent — until you take that long look back.

When you look back on 2015, what do you see?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist.  She is the Director of Organizational Development at Allied Talent. Their new tool, The Alliance Diagnostic examines how organizational culture supports entrepreneurial thinking and career growth.

One thought on “2015 in Review: I’m Grateful for the Bumps in the Road

  1. Thanks for sharing MARLAGOTTSCHALK. Every person faces a bump in the road from time to time. All of them is a chance to improve or take something away from the experience.


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