My hair has been long for most of my life. Somehow it formed part of my visual identity and I had always liked it that way. It came as quite a surprise to me when I decided to have it cut several inches shorter; a fairly modest ‘just above the shoulder’ length but a big change for me.
Thinking back, I know I was partly inspired to go for a ‘new hair-do’ by my partner who (very) tentatively suggested that a shorter style might suit me, but as I definitely don’t always go for his tips in fashion, I know there was more to it than that……
I was on the brink of actively seeking a change in my life and cutting my hair was an outward sign. Altering something about the way I looked reflected my growing strength to create a new working life, and in a sense, it was affirmation that I had the courage to do it……..if I could cut my familiar long hair then I could change my familiar job. How right Coco Chanel was when she said “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”.
At around the same time, I bought a bag printed with these words: To Do List: 1) Learn to fly, 2) Fly away. It reflected my inner determination……..I could step away from the seemingly sensible choice and be bold, find a new way and embrace my inner risk taker.
Hair and handbags may sound frivolous, but they were not insignificant symbols that I was ready to snap out of feeling trapped and on the verge of liberating myself. And certainly those who knew me well could tell that I was becoming serious about embarking on a new chapter.
There are many useful theories and books on change; on how to enable it in yourself or others, the support and actions needed at different stages and critically how to help the changes ‘stick’ and become the new reality. When an individual is first seeking to transform or adjust their career and is feeling uncertain, I have noticed that finding ways to visualise or embody the change they want can help bring it to the surface and intensify their connection with it.
These are the things that are personal to you; your courage catalysts, the actions, messages or items that boost your strength, the things that represent the change you want and help you to ‘feel it’ and keep it in constant view.
Considering and creating a change in your working life can be hard. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of the little things that help nudge you in the direction you want and inspire you to make it happen.