We’ve all experienced transitions in our personal and professional lives. Often, we feel stuck, directionless, or helpless. Having experienced a lot of transitions throughout my 30-year career, I decided to organize a Meetup Group, “New York City Executives, and Executives in Transition,” to collaborate with others going through a transition.
Curiously, 28 people joined, without me doing anything. I booked and paid for a large room, paid a small fee to Meetup, received RSVP’s, and waited in a beautiful room downtown for an hour. In the last ½ hour two people showed up and apologized for being late. I went out to dinner with one member that night, and the other member, a week later.
I was happy when one of the two attendees wrote in the Meetup group discussion, “I loved meeting Wendy and her story inspired me. I know I will make a successful transition.”
Despite my disappointment with the lack of attendance, I was happy to have helped another person, so I stuck with it. Meetup, based in New York City is an online social networking website/app that enables people to find others with similar interests. In 2017, 32 million people use the site worldwide.
Anyone can organize a Meetup, or join one and become a member. The fee to organize is $14.95. Meetup’s algorithm determines the people who would most likely benefit from the group and sends a link. If the group is large, it’s necessary to book an event space. Often, organizers charge a small fee to members to cover out-of-pocket costs. I didn’t.
Soon, I had 50 members. I waited for RSVP’s, and after receiving eight, I booked a table at a local restaurant, to ensure I wouldn’t be out-of-pocket again.
I sat by myself promising the restaurant manager that the people would come. But, they never did. Finally, I ordered dinner and I thought a lot about why people RSVP and then don’t show up.
To me, this says a lot about a person. Your actions demonstrate dependability, respect for time, whether you’re a risk taker (or not), and if you’re ready for a change.
Since I’m not planning to host another Meetup on this subject, I thought I’d share my experiences for getting unstuck:
- Be Open: Meet new people, try something different, attend events, push yourself, even if you’re just a spectator, it’s always better to show-up then to give up.
One of my former colleagues asked me to help him market mobile apps. I said, “I’m the wrong person. Hire a younger person.” Having a change of heart, I went to Barnes and Noble bought and read, “Everything You Need to Know about Mobile Apps.” I took the job. It catapulted my career.
- Help Another Person: If you’re feeling vulnerable or defeated, talk to other people. You’d be amazed at how many people have experienced the same feelings. Helping another person makes you feel better about yourself.
I’ve guest lectured at universities about the marketing, PR, and social media professions. When 18-21-year-old students smile and clap, it’s incredibly rewarding. If you’re not a speaker, there are endless ways to help others, including, volunteering for a charity, stopping to help someone on the street, answering questions in an online forum, such as Quora, or taking the time to teach someone a skill you know.
- Research and Follow People: Online searches have never been easier. You can Google any topic, read articles, and watch videos about anything. It helps change your mindset.
I spend a lot of time reading and watching TED Talks. Three of which are particularly impactful.
- Adam Grant’s, “The surprising habits of original thinkers”: https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grant_the_surprising_habits_of_original_thinkers,
- Simon Sinek’s, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” : https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.
- Carol Dweck’s, “The Power of Believing You Can Improve”: https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve
- Find a Mentor: Mentors can be friends, colleagues, family members, teachers, and coaches. Learn about what they do and how they’ve overcome career challenges. Talk to them about your goals. Get new ideas, and work hard to achieve your goals.
I was in a life changing accident. In November 2016,] I was traveling in a taxi that crashed with a Mack truck. I was immobile for three months, unable to leave my apartment. Despondent, because my career centers on marketing, public relations, and social media, I emailed a few people about what lead generation tools they’d recommend for my website.
Deirdre Breakenridge, whom I didn’t know, wrote a lengthy and in-depth response. Since she was so helpful, I asked if we could arrange a call. After speaking, I hired her to be my business coach. Our talks and the “homework” she gave me moved me beyond my mental immobility. Ten months later, we both share a professional and personal relationship.
- Remember Things You Used to Love: When we were young, we had dreams, aspirations, and interests that we may have forgotten. One of mine was water sports.
After living in New York City for 25-years, I finally went kayaking on the Hudson River at the Downtown Boathouse last week. It was fun and exhilarating, and something I’ll continue to do, and share with friends.
Carol Dweck describes two mindsets, “Fixed, “and “Growth,” in, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” “In the world of fixed traits – success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Failure is about setbacks: getting fired, rejected, or losing.
Possessing a fixed mindset is about not rowing, not reaching for the things you value, not fulfilling your potential. Skill can only take you so far. Effort, determination, and resiliency are what makes champions.
We can remain stuck or make a change. Move beyond your comfort zone. It can be as simple as attending a Meetup where you’ll meet people, hear their stories, and learn new things. Most importantly, you’ll have taken the first step towards effectuating change. It’s a matter of choice.