DEAD END Or CROSSROADS?
At some point in most people’s professional lives, a dead end appears to loom in the distance. Suddenly our chosen path doesn’t seem as predictable and change becomes imminent, whether it’s by choice or an involuntary circumstance. Currently I find myself in such a situation, because I have been a professional hockey player for the past eight seasons and I can see the end nearing.
My situation isn’t overly serious as my hockey career hasn’t officially ended, but I want to transition and make a change before reaching the end of the road. At first glance, it can be a very stressful and potentially fearful process to go through. After starting the process I have learned that my approach to the change has a direct impact on how I end up viewing my options and suddenly the dead end I saw has turned into a crossroads.
The recognition that a dead end lies ahead can be associated with feelings of being lost, frustrated and stressed; but at a crossroads there are options, and if properly equipped to make the decisions required, the experience can involve feelings of excitement, inspiration and happiness. I have had some confusion when addressing the end of my career, because the most challenging questions to answer begin with “WHAT” and “HOW”: HOW do I transition out of professional hockey? WHAT transferable skills do I have? WHAT do I want to do with those skills? HOW do I begin to connect with an entirely new industry?
I’m in the early stages of the transition process, because I haven’t played my last game as a professional hockey player yet, but I’m readying myself for the inevitable change and finding answers to the tough questions through a career transformation program offered by Higher Landing. I was drawn to the enthusiasm of Higher Landing’s people and the overall strategy they outlined in my first visit to their office.
For the majority of my life hockey has been the biggest part of my life, so much so that it has directed where and how I have lived. So far, in the early work sessions, the focus of my transformation team has been on analyzing me as a person. We started by looking back on my hockey career and life experiences and discovered what my core values were. We also looked at which aspects of a career are most important for me. This is where I have found taking a positive approach has fueled my drive forward onto a new path.
For me, looking at the things that I have accomplished in my hockey career has reinforced my self-confidence and sparked excitement as I near the end of my career.. As I mentioned earlier, a change of career doesn’t have to feel like a dead end.
If I were to think back on my career and focus on the fact that I never made it to the National Hockey League, I didn’t win a championship every year and I have invested my life to this one career that is now nearing the end… ahhh, it doesn’t paint an ideal picture.
In my opinion, negativity is wasted energy and time - who would want to live like that, always stressing about what didn’t happen rather than taking the time to appreciate what did happen? In my work sessions it only took a few minutes to list out dozens of positives experiences in my career: the championships I did win, the great cities I lived in, the individual awards I won, the countless relationships I formed with teammates and members of the various organizations I worked for.
The positives paint a much brighter picture and suddenly time doesn’t feel wasted in the pursuit of things not attained. The missteps throughout my journey aren’t ignored, but are learned from and never dwelled on. Reflecting on my career while I write this blog causes a surge of energy to run through my body. At this point in my one-on-one sessions with my Career Transformer from Higher Landing, I am better able to highlight my strengths and relate them to how and why I was able to accomplish the things I did. I’m also able to recognize how these qualities I possess will help carry me into a new career.
For the first time, I’m envisioning great things for myself and my family beyond the crossroads.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are, or someone you know is an athlete who competed at the world, Olympic or professional level, and has a transition story to tell, we want to hear it! Please send us your story using the Contact Us page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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