Will 2013 be the year to have your Moment of Clarity?

Moment of ClarityMoment of Clarity

We live our lives looking at the world through filters but when something dramatic happens the filters come down.  One of these dramatic moments can be called a moment of clarity.

The idea that prompted this post was a post on the LinkedIn blog called The Compliment That Almost Made Me Quit.

These moments are brought on when we experience major shifts in our lives. This could be getting married or divorced, births, deaths, job changes, or in the case of the LinkedIn blog post the author reached a point of exhaustion and needed to ask for advice.

Twenty years ago this month I had a major moment of clarity.

Earlier in my career I gotten in a very typical cycle:

  1. Take on new tasks
  2. Never give up old tasks
  3. work hard
  4. Eventually break. This was usually back spasms.
  5. Take time and take care of myself.
  6. Heal
  7. Go to step 1

The cycle would repeat itself but each time the cycle would shorten in duration.

My Moment of Clarity

During the Christmas holidays of 1992, my L4/L5 disc in my back ruptured. My chiropractor was the only doctor who would see me during the holiday. She had an MRI performed and confirmed the diagnosis. She made an appointment for me with a neurosurgeon after the new year. Chiropractors do not dispense medication. I was forced to go the county hospital emergency room to get pain killers. I have lots of stories from that experience. Go to the county hospital emergency room on new years eve in the middle of a cocaine epidemic!!

The neurosurgeon looked at my MRI and gave me two choices:

  1. Have surgery
  2. Bed rest

He said the disk would probably heal given enough time. He gave me a cortisone shot and told me to see him in a week.

To make a long story short, I spent the next three months in bed and/or rehab.  I do not like doctors with sharp implements!

Everything was taken away. I felt pretty good!

I broke the cycle.  I saw what was important to me. The filters came down.

I look at that painful recovery as a positive experience. I learned so much about myself.

I came back to work as team lead of a worldwide technical training group in April of 1993. IBM was in chaos. They had come within two weeks of declaring bankruptcy. My boss was gone and replace by a totally inexperienced replacement. I had friends who were being told to retire. They were emotionally and financially ill prepared.

I could have easily been caught up into the situation but my mind was clear. It was a true moment of clarity.

I made the decision to leave the organization and make a career pivot. I went to an elite customer briefing center. They wanted me for my technical and presentations skills. I had zero sales experience. I had half the skills required but personal relationships with numerous people in the new group.

My mind was clear. It was a true moment of clarity.

I dedicate a whole chapter to the concept of “Moment of Clarity” in my new book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers due out in January.

When have you had a Moment of Clarity?

Admit it, you have had at least one! What did you learn?

Will you have one in 2013?


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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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