This story was contributed Lindsay Hurty, cofounder of Everwell.
I visited the Career Services Office exactly one time during my senior year of college, and I received this advice: ‘You do not need to figure out your whole life; you just need to figure out what’s next.’ I loved this advice. And I love thinking of adulthood as a journey with junctions where recalibration can happen to determine, with intention, what’s next.
That career counselor probably never imagined that her words—‘what’s next’—would become the seed of my current career path. I help those who feel stuck figure out what’s next, especially moms. I don’t help with résumés; rather, I offer guidance and tools for the essential part before the job search—the going inward part that’s really about figuring out what truly lights you up SO THAT you can make confident decisions about what you want for the future you.
I’ll share how I got here because if you’re still reading, I imagine that the notion of ‘what’s next’ heightened your curiosity. Perhaps my story will give you space to approach your answer. In my first months of motherhood, I felt an overwhelming maternal tug and made the hard choice while on maternity leave to resign from work as a high school English teacher—a career I loved. Somehow, I knew that I would not be able to manage both roles well, and rather than hiring a child-care provider, we chose to shift our family dynamic, and I became a full-time, home-based mom. And I relished it, deeply. Being a mom is my absolute favorite part of life! I have three kids–11, 9 and 7–and becoming their mom has centered and changed me entirely.
And yet, after being our Family CEO for six years, I began to feel an inner pull toward something I couldn’t articulate. Initially, I immersed myself in some big volunteer roles at my kids’ school and in my community, and I was reminded of the joy and meaning that professional work gives me. Eventually, I recognized that I craved personal, intellectual, professional and financial growth, and I understood this to mean that I wanted to balance motherhood with a professional existence that would re-awaken a part of my mind that I missed.
I’m not sure moms ever feel ‘ready’ to re-enter a workforce they’ve been separated from—change is uncomfortable—but as my youngest child approached preschool, I decided to trust my instinct that it was time to stretch myself; I simply needed to figure out how I was meant to grow. I also wanted to thoughtfully navigate this transition, as I loved being present in my kids’ childhoods. If I was going to balance momming and working, I wanted to get onto a career path that truly mattered to me.
So I spent ample time reflecting on all of my past endeavors, both professional and personal, and searched for thematic threads. I identified aspects of my life that really lit me up and aspects that totally turned me off. And with time and attention, I discovered my greatest source of inner light…drumroll: anything in a small group discussion format. It’s odd and terribly specific, I know.
With urging from a trusted friend, I soon garnered the courage to lead a small group workshop from my living room; and that workshop became the a-ha that I needed. As if a stone had been tossed into a lake, a ripple effect took shape within me, and I uncovered what would evolve into what’s next for me: co-founding Everwell, a community for multi-passionates and lifelong learners. We focus on building community through thoughtfully curated programs, events, workshops and online courses, and we gather, connect and grow in meaningful ways. One of my signature workshops, which is now an Everwell online course, called What’s Next?, is geared toward women who have been home full-time with their kids and want to re-enter the professional space in a revised way from how they left it.
And here I am, getting to feel alive in my work and alive as a mom. A harmonious balance for me has been struck; and now, when I think about what’s next, all of my ideas fit into the scope of my career path–the career path that I entered with careful intention.
So I wonder, what’s next for you? If you’ve realized the dream and are living inside it, inspire us with it! Your story matters.
A few tips to determine what lights you up, so you can figure out what’s next:
Read, listen, watch. Take a few minutes each day to intentionally absorb relevant content from the newspaper, a memoir of someone you admire, a personal growth podcast, a TED Talk of interest or a thought leader’s social media feed.
Talk it through. Find a fellow mom whom you trust, and brainstorm career ideas. Hearing yourself say aloud your thoughts helps translate your abstract ideas into real life scenarios, which can help clarify what you actually want for yourself.
Volunteer strategically. If you’ve been out of the game long enough, your résumé and confidence may need some love. Volunteering, if you’re financially able to do it, for organizations and in positions that are fulfilling, meaningful and relevant for your desired growth, will allow you to get back into the workforce at your own pace, with less pressure, while building your résumé and confidence.
Hire help. A career coach, executive search firm and other field experts are here to help you not only figure out the best next step, but how to get there. And Everwell is here to help too. For info on our What’s Next? course and more, go to theeverwell.com or find us on Instagram @theeverwell.
Want to try Everwell’s What’s Next course? Click here and use code LOCALMOMS for 15% off!