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21. May 2015

Casting a Wider Net (Part 3 of 5)

by Vanessa Castagna, Advisor, My Next Season

Now you are three or four months down the road: sleeping better, eating better, overall feeling better, and you have lots of reasons to get up in the morning. Your family tells you your sense of humor is back, and they are enjoying spending more time with you. Your friends are envious of all the “free” time you have planned (or allowed) yourself on your calendar. Even a regular exercise schedule is in your life now: walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors. You’ve even made some new contacts, met a few new people outside of your industry. Thankfully, your social life now extends beyond having lunch with your colleagues from work.

Life is good! But there is something still missing . . . you want your life to be “fuller” and even more productive. Feeling better, more balanced, your creative juices are beginning to flow. You know you need more constructive and rewarding activities to do on a daily and weekly basis. You have so many skills, talents, and competencies you developed in your career. What do you do with all that now? In your next season? For the rest of your life?

Now it’s time to “cast a wider net” . . . think outside of your normal comfort zone: outside of your former company or your industry. Imagine using your impact for a greater purpose than you ever thought possible. With your renewed self-confidence, it’s time to define and refine what you really enjoy.

Casting a wider net implies that you are now thinking and living within a wider scope, a broader environment. It requires you to take time to search and learn about what other leadership activities, projects, and challenges are interesting and available to you.

Some suggestions to get you started:

  • • Attend business seminars or luncheons with notable speakers: a perfect way to meet and connect with new, unique, and interesting people.
  • • Say yes when invited to a worthwhile charity or fundraising event, and offer to serve on a committee to help make it successful. Not only do not-for-profits need donations, and qualified passionate volunteers, but they also need skilled individuals with experience.
  • • Get personal contact cards printed up with your name, phone, and email/Twitter account, and pass them out freely.
  • • Share advice with others: those aspiring to your position and accomplishments will want to connect with you, elicit your help, and learn from your expertise. During your career you might have passed them along to the HR department for assistance, but now is the time for YOU to listen and share. The reward will come back to you many times over.
  • • Join several business-oriented social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Not only does it provide meaningful work/volunteer opportunities, but it allows access to all of your colleagues and a chance to support their progress. It’s also a great way to keep up with professional contacts that have changed companies or retired.
  • • Attend your local community/city/state business meetings. Consider running for a spot on your Homeowners’ Association, city council, or school board. Certainly experienced leaders are needed in all levels of politics.
  • • Reconnect with your University or business school alma mater. Join the Alumni Association, visit campus, and reunite with colleagues you haven’t seen in years. Offer to speak to a business class. Students love hearing from successful executives!
  • • If you don’t already, get the WSJ online every day. They have some wonderful daily summary “blasts” that will keep you in touch with major global issues and business news.

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.

Please watch for Vanessa’s next blog, “Stepping Out,” Part 4 of a 5-Part series.

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