Best Laid Plans
Recently I have been working with a client who feels stuck, unable to get to the role he believes fit his experience and his aspirations. Let's call him Louis.
Louis is very good at his job and it's likely that his boss is more than happy to retain him in the current role rather than helping him to move forward. Also to compound the problem, there is not a position currently available for him to step into.
If you ever found yourself in a similar situation you may feel there is not much anyone can do here. In fact, there is still room for manoeuvring if we are willing to fully accept the situation. Not an easy first step but absolutely necessary because when we accept our reality as it is, we are in fact regaining control and with it confidence. Acceptance, even if it's a bitter pill, can help to divert energy where we can actually make a difference and put you back in charge. In Louis' case plan A was not available to him and plan B and plan C were not a fulfilling alternative. But I wanted my client to find a space where he could still thrive rather than moping around feeling that it was the best he could do while still waiting around for something that was out of his reach.
The inspiration came from Steve Jobs in this quote ( which surprisingly Louis already knew ) -"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future" - and some hard-earned personal experience.
Steve Jobs is still a role mode more so because he had quite a few setbacks in his life and this quote resonated with my ambitious client. So with some renewed energy, we started to work on Plan D. Ideas started to flow and I eventually created this diagram for him where I condensed our conversation.
The plan is meant to be incomplete and it can change and expand because the "conversation" ( both internal with himself and external with me ) is still ongoing. Most importantly the graphic wants to convey that any plan will over time contribute to Plan A. -which in the future could itself morph into something else through the experiences and opportunities Louis will have overtime. The dots moving in the orbit of Plan A also, I hope will suggest this idea of the flow of change we have to continuously navigate.
Most importantly this approach will be giving Louis a degree of control in a situation he felt he had none, space to learn and grow and the confidence that he could turn things around if he chooses to look at things from a different angle.
And on a personal note, there is nothing that make me happier that to get to a win-win.