I have found some unintended consequences to traveling around the world for a year. I knew I would learn about other cultures and maybe pick up a word here and there from other languages; I figured I would learn about bus schedules and maybe would even get better at navigation (I didn’t…); but I hadn’t thought about the confidence that I would gain or the sense of power that would come to me or how these things would help me when it came time to find a new job.
Now, I was lucky and did not have to resign from my job in order to go traveling. I asked for, and was granted, a leave of absence for the year I was away and so returned to my original position once we got back to Canada. However, once Operation Responsibly Irresponsible got underway I started looking for a new job elsewhere in the country and really realized the benefits of long term travel in job hunting.
I have a confidence now that I didn’t have before. I was more tentative; wondering if I could do something, or if I wanted to. Now I know that I can try something new and trust that, whether I like it or not, I will be better for having tried. Most often we succeed at what we attempt and it is only the fear of failure that keeps us from moving forward (and sometimes it is the fear of success!). I seem to have less of that fear now and am more willing to try.
As confident as I am in my strengths I am also aware of my weaknesses; sometimes more acutely aware than I ever wish I was. Traveling definitely put a magnifying glass on all my behaviors and made me look at them honestly. I certainly don’t claim to have beaten them but an awareness can help me play to my strengths and lessen the impact of my weaknesses.
I feel, and understand, my power more acutely than I ever have. I have been more and more aware over recent years of the power that people have on me but it is only more recently that I realize the influence that I carry. Through telling people of my plans, writing OneGiantStep, and encouraging others to live their dream I have been fortunate enough to have people share with me how I have influenced them in doing the same. We all have an influence on those that we know, we just don’t often realize the power of that influence.
Researching, planning, and executing a long term trip such as this is one huge project. Setting, and working towards, goals is the only way to get it done. I have never done anything as huge in my whole life and I certainly learned that I know how to set criteria and then work toward getting it done.
I now have an underlying belief that I can do anything I set my mind to. I always knew this and have never had any limitations set on me but now I really believe that I can do anything. In fact I now often think ‘If we were able to travel around the world, then surely we can…’
These realizations hugely affected my job search. I found myself willing to stretch farther to find a challenging position and not trying to cover up my downsides but rather working with them. I approached the whole exercise as a ‘fit session’ whereby I was interviewing organizations as much as they were interviewing me. It was about whether I would be a good fit and how would they help me be successful rather than trying hard to fit my square self into their round hole and having to prove that I could be successful.
I decided that I would just show up as myself and that they would have to fit me. And damned if it didn’t work! I would never have believed that the whole process could be so stress free. From start to finish, through a triple interview process, I just kept showing up and last week I started my new job. A step out from my last position; and a challenge for sure; but comfortable none-the-less and I feel stronger than ever before!!