This was a blog that I wrote a couple of years ago when I was a Workplace coach. I offer this blog to all the young people who have finished their exams, got their results, and are trying to figuring out, “What now!” And to my friends/family looking to see what their next step might be, I offer a bit of advice about not discounting journey they have already taken.
Flaffing, yes, that was the term used. You don’t know it? Well, I must admit neither did I but it came up in one of my last coaching sessions with one of my coachees. It is apparently the noise and flapping sound that an ostrich makes when it is running around at top speed seemingly going no where… fast. I am not sure if she made it up or not, but it does create a visual.
My coachee was determined that “this time” she would plan her next career step and that each and every role that she was going to apply for would be that stepping stone to the job that she “really” wants to do. But I was wondering, is that what is really needed?
Is there a way seeing the value in the “Flaffing”?
Clearly she is a driven person, bright, articulate and trusted in her field. Throughout her career ( so far, she is still under 30 years old) she has gained many transferable skills and could set herself up in a number of prestigious careers, all worthy and have value. She would not have gained many these skills if she had not taken the path she went on. I also having worked with her and also have been the pleasure of her coach would have ever thought of her as a massive bird running out of control with no direction. So where does this assumption come from? And if it is true, what has she learnt from the journey?
So my question to her was, “So what?, so you have been “Flaffing”. Explain what’s wrong with that and do you really want to change that?”
Her answer came as a bit of a shock to me, she felt that any career decision she made at this moment would affect her for the next 10 years (including who she will marry, if she marries, if she has kids, and when) and ultimately her entire life. Now that is a lot of pressure for anyone!
As she is an activities person we came up with 3 criteria for her to think about her skills and the types of jobs she would want to apply for to help with this (unproven) assumption:
- What skills did she have that was she confident about and felt she could do easily
- What skills did she have that she wanted to build and could be improved
- What did she not want to do anymore and would not consider doing.
I hoped by thinking these through she might see the benefits of some of her journey and be more confident in the learning that has taken place for her so far.
The ostrich is also famously known for “sticking its head in the sand” oblivious to what is actually happening around them. In a world where woman are often meant to be a little bit of everything, and with the rampant “fear of missing out”, perhaps self doubt has meant our youth need their journey planned and that “Flaffing” is not allowed? But this way of thinking does not allow us to take stock of the positives of what we have achieved, learned and what we can learn in the future.