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Annie Hayes

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Comment: Working longer and portfolio careers … continued

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I also found that, almost miraculously, I had more time to do things and more things got done. It seemed like the more things I did the more time and energy I had to do them.

To this point in my journey, outside of my core change agent work, I had been mainly reactive, responding to people asking me to do things. By recognising that I could do many more things than I had previously thought, I became more proactive so that as well as giving help when I’m asked, I put a special focus on some specific activities that really appealed to me, some I now get paid for and some I do for free.

Looking back on all this, I can see a process at work. By opening a wide door to unlimited possibilities when I became independent, by noticing my changing reality and by turning some of these possibilities in to probabilities and then into realities, I transformed my world view and the pattern of my ‘working’ life.

If I review the range of activities I now carry out, I note that I’m a change agent with big organisations and some small ones. I’m a personal coach/mentor to a number of senior executives and to some others whom I support for free; via the Navisys Academy, I’m a trainer and guide to people who want to get into management consultancy and the like; I’m a singer, guitarist and bass player with large swing orchestras, rock bands and sometimes on my own, and I’m writing a musical; I write articles like this one and in various ways I help a number of local and national charities. Oh and I’ve helped to bring up my four children, a major task in itself, and I plan to spend lots of time with my first grandchild who was born late last year in Houston, Texas.

It seems to me that I have developed a portfolio career. Whenever I have added something new to my portfolio of activities, either reactively or proactively, I have endeavoured to learn how to do it in the best way that I am able. I read a lot around the subject, seek opinions, ideas and advice from lots of different people and respond to feedback, both congratulatory and instructive!

Each person will have their own journey that will be an expression of their own experiences, skills and preferences as well as the things that just happen along the way.

If I evaluate the learning from my own experience I can see that:

  • 1. Growing one’s self awareness and knowing one’s strengths and passions is the key.

  • 2. Being aware of and open to new possibilities is very important.

  • 3. Saying yes more than saying no opens many new doors.

  • 4. Performing a range of paid and unpaid activities while seeing them both as equally important creates a dynamic and rewarding balance.

  • 5. Proactively learning how to do the best job one can results in an excellent outcome, happy people and masses of personal satisfaction.

Portfolio careers should, in my view, be both planned and evolve at the same time. Don’t wait until the organisation finds you unnecessary but build your competence across your many areas of interest. And if you can’t think of many areas in which you are interested, then get out and talk to new people and say yes when they ask you to do something.

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Annie Hayes

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