Into the unknown

As we transition from one role to the next, can we let go?

It’s great to compare notes with those worlds away from our own. I have a climber friend who is up and down Mont Blanc as often as I’m up and down Charlotte Street and he was recently relating an incident he often sees on a sheer rock face.

On the way up, despite being confident and well prepared, despite being very clear about the objective, despite seriously wanting to reach the summit, people occasionally get stuck. Momentarily frozen, they can’t move up and neither can they go back with several people following in their hand and footsteps.

This letting go into the precarious unknown is every bit about the mind as well as the body and my climber chum has to use all his climbing and coaching skills to encourage them to leave their current position and move on... when all they really want to do is grip tightly to what they know.


Having jumped into the career unknown myself a couple of times, albeit from the comparative safety of Soho, it struck me that so many of us experience that unsteadiness as we move from one role to the next, from where we completely know what we’re doing to reinventing our day, our goals, even ourselves.

Even the most prolific career climbers sometimes can’t see ahead or commit wholeheartedly to moving on. The consequences are inevitable - they don’t loosen their grip on their last role, people behind them get backed up and frustrated and the space ahead remains unfilled, none of which is good for the business.

A very wise man to whom I’m eternally grateful once walked me through one of these career transitions. He pointed out what I’d be taking forward with me, what I may have to leave behind and walked me through how I could be even more influential and effective – and yes, happy - once I’d make the jump. Sometimes, we all need a little pause on the rock to plan the next steps and then we can crack on.

Date posted: 28 November 2014