Off-roading While Keeping Both Hands on the Wheel

[This post was co-written by Jay Perry, who is co-author of "Taking Charge of Your Talent" with Don Maruska.]


In a past blog post, we talked about the transformative benefits of recruiting a Talent Catalyst to champion your hopes and help you engage with new possibilities.

So, why wouldn’t you want to have a Talent Catalyst? The process of self-development benefits when you open yourself to different perspectives. The energy and clarity gained by connecting with others can take you much further than only bouncing ideas around inside your own head.

Especially if you’re the go-it-alone type, the idea of working with someone else to build your future may be hard to accept. At the heart of this reluctance, there is often an issue of control. It may feel like you’re handing your car keys to someone else and hoping they drive you where you want to go.

Don’t worry. Working with a Talent Catalyst isn’t giving up the wheel. The job of a Talent Catalyst is not to tell you where to go. You’re still the driver, and you still have access to your internal GPS, but your progress is made easier by tapping into an outside source of support and assistance.

There are a few simple things you can do to make sure that the process of working with any support person goes well:

Choose thoughtfully. Look for someone who is naturally supportive, who is a generous listener, who doesn’t have an agenda for you to fit into; and who isn’t trying to wrest control of the wheel away from you.

Most of us know a few people who have a way of making everything about them. Those people are often quick to offer their help, which usually takes the form of explaining to you exactly what they think you should be doing, and why. In the words of Monty Python: Run away!

Know when and how to gracefully decline ideas. The point of enlisting a Talent Catalyst is to help you clarify your own thinking, not to hear someone else’s. Sometimes, though, your Catalyst may offer to spend time brainstorming or offer you some of his or her own ideas. Remember that those ideas are always yours to take, leave, or modify as you see fit. This is your road trip, not someone else’s.

Be an explorer. Before you sit down with anyone to support you, be clear about your role in the relationship. You are not there to show off how much you know, convince anyone that your views are correct, or make firm decisions. You’re there to “explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. “ OK, maybe your endeavor is more modest than a five-year “Star Trek” mission. Still your willingness to go off the beaten track, stop and appreciate a fresh viewpoint, and perhaps even choose another destination are critical to getting the most from your journey.

So include the right people on your journey and you’ll find that it’s safe and constructive to go off-roading. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat, and you have both hands on the wheel.


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