Skills You Need to Navigate Any Career Fog

business career mindset May 18, 2020

As we came into 2020 the path was clear.

We could make plans for the future and see how our careers might pan out in the future.  

Or could you?   

I only ask because a lot of people work with me because they are lost in the fog and want to find a way out. They feel stuck in some way in their career.  

Along came covid-19 

But then along came a pandemic which has brought the fog down for many, perhaps most people. 

Long term planning used to be in years, now it’s in months, even weeks for some. 

Whole industries which were sure and certain have suddenly stopped and we don’t know how and in what form they will re-emerge. 

None of us can accurately predict what the work landscape will look like once the fog lifts.  

Your career map and compass 

I was talking in The Career Café last week about how, if you’ve got your career map and compassand you know how to use them, you can still navigate successfully through the fog 

Your career map shows the career landscape, and the features on it are the possible goals and destinations for your career. 

When you have the skills to use it effectively you can navigate the path you want. You an even change the map! 

Your career compass is your values and emotional intelligence. 

Referring to these regularly helps you check that you are moving in the right direction even when the fog has come down and you can’t see the path ahead clearly.  

mountain metaphor 

Let me tell you a story and then I’ll relate it to your career.  

I took part in an expedition to follow Shackleton’s footsteps across the South Georgia ice cap, the final part of his epic escape from the clutches of the Antarctic ice. It is probably one of the best examples of good leadership of all time in that every one of his crew survived the 17 month ordeal. The book “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing is a good account.  

We were one of the first groups to attempt this journey since Shackleton had done so 85 years before and maps were rudimentary. We were soon in white-out: a situation where you’re walking on snow, in the clouds and it becomes impossible to see where the ground ends and the sky starts. 

We had been travelling for 2 hours, heading in the right direction according to the compassBut by paying attention to everything in the landscape and comparing to both compass and map, we instinctively knew we were off course.

The land was gently sloping in the wrong direction. With no other reverence points we retraced our steps and made camp at a point where we could make a new decision in the morning and complete the expedition successfully.  

Navigation skills for the career fog 

Right now, many people are in a career whiteout. It seems impossible for them to see a way forward

Yet in the fog the landscape exists. Even it is changing, there is a way forward and when the covid fog lifts there will be a work landscape ahead of you. 

The question is, what will you do next? 

I’ve said this a lot recently on a number of platforms, locally and nationally, and we’ll be discussing it at the Global Career Council this week: 

You do not have to know what the landscape looks like to be confident that you can navigate it successfully.  

You do however, need to have the right equipment. 

In our case on South Georgia, it was the map and compass, tents, snow-shoes, ruck-sacks, stove, food, and a mindset of resilience and determination to overcome the challenges and difficulties we met along the way (later in the journey we were engulfed by a massive storm which broke our tent poles and half buried our tents) 

For your career expedition, your mindset and EQ (emotional intelligence) are as key as they are on a real mountainThey not only help you overcome the challenges, but they also make sure that you take time to enjoy the journey.  

Now is the time to pack your rucksack, or perhaps to unpack it and see what’s in there:  

  • Make an inventory of your skills and qualities and contributions  
  • Learn to talk about them in a way that engages, and gets across the differences you make 
  • Work out what your work values are (what needs to be there for you to be happy) 
  • Brush up on your networking skills (online and offline) 
  • Check that you’ve got a mindset for success 

There’s a whole workshop in every one of those bullet points which we haven’t got space to go into here. But to get you going I’ve created this actionable resource ready for instant download:

A step by step checklist to navigate any career fog expedition

We are, metaphorically, stuck in a covid career whiteout. 

As it clears, will you be ready look at the landscape and decide where you want to go? 

Ready to start a new journey and enjoy it? 

Ready to be a pioneer and create your own future? 

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