Three months earlier I sat with a friend as she pondered her next career move.
A seasoned and skilled executive, she had been marginalized by a company that both overworked and undervalued her.
She had been passed over for a promotion that went to a man with less experience. When he stumbled in the role, as she anticipated he might, she was asked to assist him as a right hand. Essentially, help him get the clap on the back that she rightfully deserved.
She felt she had a long runway of career years in front of her and that it was time to look elsewhere.
This could have been just another example of how men rise and women bounce, but thanks to her amazing resume and belief in her own value, she promptly trampolined into two enticing job offers.
One was local and a logical and interesting next step.
The other would require a bigger leap into a truly exciting industry and role. It was a bit more complicated and perhaps a bit scary as the role required relocation and she’d have to fill in a knowledge gap.
She weighed these two options, clearly inching towards the bigger change. Soon she was ready to make it.
We caught up recently and she couldn’t have been more excited.
She described the new opportunity this way:
“It’s like the start of the Wizard of Oz in Kansas when everything is black and white. And then Dorothy lands in Oz and for the first time, she sees everything in vibrant technicolor. That’s how this is.”
“I feel like I’m working in technicolor for the first time.”
I couldn’t think of a better way to illustrate the change I could see in her.
New color in her cheeks, in her steps, in her aura.
She was positively vibrating color.
The role not only brought color to her world but also helped her see in an entirely new way the impact she could bring to a new organization.
She felt motivated by her colleagues and valued by them. She seemed excited by every challenge around her. She was well on her way on the yellow-brick road, eager for the explorations ahead.
Why, then, had she lived her life at the old company, in black & white, for so long?
I’m not big on living with regret as I think it’s one of those Unlikelies that can propel our story along. There can be beauty in the bad.
If she had made a different choice earlier, she’d have landed in a different story.
Yet, here she is, exactly where she needs and wants to be right now.
How would you even recognize the technicolor of your new choices if you didn’t have the original to compare them to?
She’s thrilled about her new role and I’m thrilled for her. Just hearing her explanation of how she feels got me thinking.
What opportunities do we each have to add some color to our world?
How does our perception influence the vibrancy of what we see?
What choices might we make to live life in technicolor?
For some of us that might mean making a big, colorful new choice.
For others, it’s simply adding a new hue, or finding depth and tone in something we hadn’t seen before.
Maybe it’s time to stop living your life in the safety and confines of black and white. Leading with your own colorful self influences what you’ll find.
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto. We’re in a whole new world.
And the future is bright.
Valerie Gordon is a former television producer, a lifelong storyteller, and the founder of career and communications firm The Storytelling Strategist. She helps clients and audiences find meaning and power in their stories and provides the skills to tell them with impact and influence. Want more content like this? Sign up for her monthly newsletter for articles, free webinars, and story strategies.