Moving Forward in Your Career By Creating Possibilities

Christian Knutson | Comments | December 17, 2012

“Work is love made visible.”  Khalil Gibran

Disappointed with your current position in your career?  Are the types of projects you’re handed not challenging or demoralizing you?  Is your professional development on the skids?  Do you feel like you’re lacking a purpose in your career, missing out on a calling?

Don’t feel alone, because you’re not.

I stumbled along in the daze of work disappointment about six years ago. I was sitting at a successful point in my career having received both positions of increasing responsibility and projects that my peers envied.  To others I had nothing to complain about:  I was on the path to further promotion and responsibility.  But I wasn’t happy.  In fact, I was downright depressed.  The work wasn’t exhilarating like it used to be and what I’d started as a calling 13 years previously now felt like an anchor chained to my heart.

In my mind I was at a crossroads:  keep digging the ditch I was in and succumb to what appeared my fate or create new possibilities.  I chose the later.

Now six years on I’m working with the new possibilities that I chose to create.  I started BlackGrid Consulting, I started The Engineer Leader, and I seek out opportunities that combine my work and my gifts in building relationships in international settings.  It’s exhilarating, it’s challenging, and it’s re-energized my calling.

But how did I get from stumbling in the dark to walking in the full light?

1.  I decided that there was more to be done and that I was the one that would do it.  This was the first step: admitting that I needed to do more.  Seems simple, and most life – motivating events are – but that’s it.  I decided that I had more to give to this life and that I was the one that would determine what it looked like, not anyone else.

2.  I embarked on a serious introspection of my motivations, desires, shortfalls, strengths, and ideal intentions.  Throughout the pages of The Engineer Leader you’ll come across a lot of the exercises I used to get my head straight on what I wanted to be, do, and have.  With the decision to create you possibilities comes an awesome power, the power of your mind that you need to understand. As with all things of power, you must understand how to wield it lest you cause irreparable damage.

3.  I found my focus, collaborated with others, and put in place the structure to bring my intentions into existence.  From the introspection emerged rough ideas, then patterns, then eventually a concise mission and vision.  Throughout this period I naturally built a team of like-minded people and together we built the infrastructure to bring our collective-intentions (o.k…desires) into existence.

I’m simplifying this to a degree in order to fit a standard blog post.  If you’re interested in learning more, leave a comment and I’ll expand on it over at The Engineer Leader.

The main take-away is this:  don’t wait for your calling to appear before you in a plate of mashed potatoes or while you’re standing in the shower on some random Monday morning.  It might, but most likely won’t.  It will, however, become very clear once you start creating your own possibilities.

“One must respond to one’s fate or one’s destiny or pay a heavy price.  One must yield to it; one must surrender to it.  One must permit oneself to be chosen.”  Abraham Maslow.

Chris Knutson, P.E., PMP is a leadership and strategy coach, practicing engineer and program manager. He is co-founder of The Engineering Career Coach, a company providing engineers and engineering companies core skills, leadership, and lifestyle design services enabling them to execute their vision. Chris is a retired U.S. Air Force civil engineer officer with over two decades of active duty service leading engineering organizations and multi-million dollar programs around the globe. Learn more about his work and access more resources at The Engineering Career Coach.