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on Thursday, July 14, 2011

Originally published: MONDAY MARCH 12, 2007

If you would like to watch my appearances on the TV show "Workopolis"  - a wonderful show all about careers and work hosted by Bruce Sellery, please go to

You'll see a section that says "Workopolis TV Tool Kit".  From there, you can either click "view all" under Careers and find my three segments (they're not in order but they're all there!) or you could also scroll down further until you see "Full Shows" and click on the shows of Feb 26, 27 and 28th to see my segments.

In the first episode I talk about how to think of Career Exploration like an adventure you're taking - but a big adventure like those early explorers of the sea.  Imagine going on a trip to the Antartica.  And not packing snacks.

You wouldn't do it would you?  Not even if you're going for a hike.  If you went for a day hike on a marked trail you'd take snacks.  So what would you take if you knew you were going hiking indefinitely?

That's what I like to call "safe passage".  It's not like you won't be facing challenges, obstacles and occasional rough seas where you won't see land for awhile.  It's about preparing to weather those rougher times by thinking ahead.  Packing good snacks if you will.

Here are some ideas for preparing "safe passage" on your upcoming career exploration:

1. Be realistic about the time frame.  Making a career transition, especially if you don't know what you're transitioning to, is going to take time.  And more than six weeks, if that's what you're thinking.  Good exploration means leaving yourself months, if not a year, to focus on the exploring without trying to take action on what you find out.  If you figure it out sooner, great.  But you want to leave yourself time so there's no pressure to "discover America" before the end of the month.

2. Budget accordingly.  If you know you want to make changes in your career then it would be great if you found a way to save some money to help make a safer transition.  Take a smaller vacation this year or hold back on upgrading your technology in some way.  Create a special account called your "new career" account in which you save money for possible skills upgrading or even time to find new work without worry.

3. Prepare those going on the trip with you.  Sometimes this means willing crew members who are there for support and sometimes this means other people in your life who don't really want you to travel but are going to have to live with it anyway.  It helps for you to recognize that choosing to change your work - no matter how important or great the idea seems - will upset the consistency and routine that your partner, your kids and your friends have come to expect.  It's a little scary for everyone.  So take the time to talk to them about it and tell them what to expect - and what you can't predict.  You aren't required to report every move you make, but keep them informed on the bigger picture so they have some sense of what's going on inside you that might eventually have impact on them.

4. Remember to stop and refuel.  All of those great explorers would stop at outposts and islands along the way to rest, recharge and refuel.  Remember you don't have to go non-stop at your exploration.  You will need a break from thinking about it and it's important to keep your energy up for the process.

5. Think about snacks.  What nourishes you?  What gives you energy and excitment?  What's your best way of learning?  When you're doing an exploration you want to find the way that works best for you, not for the other explorers that went before.  So find the actions, activities and ways to process the information you're getting that fit.  For some people it's reading great books and going on solitude vacations.  For others, it's getting a coach to help design their exploration process with them.  For another, it might be taking a course.  If you're dragging your feet at doing something for your exploration, it's not a nourishing snack.  There's got to be another way.

If you start approaching this career exploration from the idea of creating "safe passage" for yourself and those around you, means that not only will you feel grounded during a time of change, you'll also have so much more space for a joyful and creative self-exploration.

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