[This post was originally published by Meg on December 10, 2010.]
A work acquaintance of mine recently got his dream job at a magazine. I didn’t know he had other aspirations until his departure was announced. Naturally drawn to hear about anyone’s story that has made a career transition and managed to get closer to their niche, I made a point to congratulate him on his success. He said that this transition was something he had been working on for a while. His family wasn’t so crazy about the idea, but he was going ahead with his decision.
So what about family and friends? Where do they fit into figuring out fulfillment? Herminia Ibarra, the author of Working Identity, a book I introduced in the post, Working Out Our Identity, advised:
“We cannot regenerate ourselves in isolation….Yet, when it comes to reinventing ourselves, the people who know us best are also the ones most likely to hinder rather than help. They may wish to be supportive but they tend to reinforce – or even desperately try to preserve – the old identities we are seeking to shed.”
According to Ibarra, it is people in networks on the fringe of our existing networks that help us make the transitions to recreate ourselves. People who haven’t shared our history. People who don’t care if we become accountants because they were accountants.
As much as we want validation from the people we love, sometimes, to make a change, we have to go it alone. Walk forward into the reality you create for yourself with confidence and forgiveness for those that don’t understand your decision. The need for validation can go both ways.
When you step outside your old identity, your choices may prompt others to look at their own.