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The Coaching Corner with Michael Riegel: OK, what now?

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OK, What Now?

When my twins graduated and went off to college, Deborah and I celebrated.  In fact, we dropped each kid off at their respective campus – there were just a few tears – and celebrated our new status.  We got through the pre-teen and teen years mostly unscathed.  We were officially empty nesters.  They were adults, maybe adults, hopefully adults and yet they still seemed to find us by phone, halfway around the world.  That continues and we feel blessed to have children who want to connect and share.

Then Covid hit and the world, our world and your world, was turned upside down.  They returned home mid-spring semester, and our empty nester status went out the window.  Honestly, we embraced having an empty house.  We found ourselves asking the same question then that we do now as we prepare for two college commencement ceremonies – OK, now what?  In the first situation, it felt like survival.  Day-to-day calculations to preserve physical and mental health.  That same question is now more aspirational.  A question that likely arises as people hit milestones, change status, or generally come to a fork in the road.  Yogi Berra has been quoted as saying “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  I consider the fork as an opportunity.  An opportunity to re-define who we are or to examine what brings fulfillment or assess how we want to be seen.

Forget the Labels

It is easy to get overly connected to our labels.  This is especially true with our work lives.  Standing at the fork in the road of your career can be scary, exhilarating, or anxiety-producing.  Choices, choices.  Which way to go?  If we can set aside the labels, there is a whole world that opens up.  Just because you are a project manager does not mean you will always be.  Those skills and abilities that allowed you to be successful as a PM can be used in other ways.  The possibilities are endless.  Too many options can be equally challenging.  I dig into this dilemma with my clients.  Here are some questions you can ask at a decision point:

·        What energizes you?

·        What impact do you want to have?

·        What are your superpowers?

·        How have you changed or grown?

·        Is your sandbox too small for who you have become?

Sometimes labels are helpful and can define identity.  Other times, they can feel confining and limiting.  Which labels do you want to retain, and which need to land in the trash bin?  Either way, you have a choice.  Before making a choice, it is often helpful to ask some reflective questions.  For better or worse, there will be another fork.  Get comfortable challenging your own thinking as your needs, wants, desires, or status change.

If you are feeling stuck or unsure of which path to take, give me a call and let me help you answer the question – OK, what now?  You can reach me at


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