highest-value next steps

This morning, in conversation with one of my most trusted advisers, discussing the coming post-nomadic period of my life, aka the “return to work,” we, together, hit upon an idea that truly resonated with me.

I’ve perhaps not written plainly about it much, but the matter of “going back to work” has been on my mind steadily during the trip. For several reasons, I’ve had mixed feelings about it. I summed up the primary reason fairly well already near the end of a different writing, so I’ll link it here rather than rehash. Go ahead and read it, I’ll be here when you’re back.

Much of our conversation was working to distill the things I’ve learned, so far, from our metaphorical pilgrimage to the mountaintop, with a goal of turning them into an action-plan for the comeback. In the end, I feel like we hit on a very succinct framing and approach, and I’ll try to summarize it here:

  • I am very much a product of my environment
  • I am able to perform above expectations in many different roles
  • Therefore, what I do is less important than the environment in which I do it

It may seem simple or even obvious, but was a big step for me to understand that the highest-value next-step for me will not be figuring out what work or job I want to do, but rather I should focus on exquisitely defining the environment in which I want to do that work or job. I’ve started doing that, and might even be finished, but I’ll save that “environmental criteria” for another time.

Lastly, while writing down the above realization, I sensed privilege that I didn’t hear this morning in our conversation. I mean, here I am talking about finding the “right environment in which to work” while there are folks out there just wanting any reliable employment and a steady paycheck. I’ll have to think about that as well.

Until later, felt good to write this down. Peace.

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