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19. March 2015

Take Time to Soak (Part 1 of 5)

by Vanessa Castagna, Advisor, My Next Season

Whether you’ve known for a year or two, six months, or only a week, imagining the last day in your current role will evoke mixed emotions. All sorts of feelings surface from the realization that your job will actually end. There will be a last meeting to chair; a last business decision to make; a final signature; and a last call or email on behalf of your current company. And…there will be many farewells. Add to that the additional anxiety if your departure was unplanned or perhaps even unwelcomed on this timetable.

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding these “lasts,” you’ve most certainly worked 50-60 hour weeks, skipped vacations, worked weekends, and moved yourself and/or your family multiple times for, perhaps, many decades. You’ve touched thousands of people and delivered added value and financial success for one or multiple companies. You’ve built programs, teams, strategies, systems, and processes. There are great memories and perhaps some regrets. How can it be over? Better yet, what do you do now? What happens next?

As I reflect on my own transitioning experiences during the past 8 years, I am struck by some of the “ah ha” realizations of my journey. The first one I’d like to share is the importance of “taking time to soak.”

After the initial dust has settled a bit, you need time to pause and process. This “pause” brings an opportunity to reflect on all of the good and positive elements of your career. It is important to consider the impact you’ve had on people development and mentorships; to realize the value creation and financial performance you’ve delivered many times over. Reflect on the many times you sat with coworkers and colleagues and discussed difficult issues, helping them to discover solutions. There will be enough time for the “coulda, shoulda, woulda.” You’ve left a lasting impact and no one can ever take that away from you. You have much to be proud of as you enter this next phase of your life.

This “soak time” is about more than just slowing down. It is essential to increasing self-awareness and confidence in your many talents and capabilities as you move beyond the large corporate environment that has defined you for so long.

Allow objectivity into your thinking, now that you are without the day-to-day, nose-to-the-grindstone way of operating. Step back, reflect, and recognize your gifts – as well as your career and life accomplishments. This is key to discerning your path for the next chapter of your life. Rather than responding to opportunities to re-engage in what you’ve “always done,” this increased confidence will help widen your aperture for new possibilities, areas of growth, and new endeavors. Opening yourself to ALL of the possibilities will also make more room for friends and family who are often waiting for more of you than they’ve been able to access during your busy career. Now is the time to soak: to pause and celebrate what’s worked, what you’ve loved (and haven’t), and where you will make a difference in your next season.

Vanessa Castagna brings more than four decades of experience as a Fortune 50 executive and eight years as a consultant and board member to her role as an Advisor for My Next Season. Vanessa is dedicated to supporting other executives as they transfer from corporate careers to meaningful next seasons of their own.

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