Being open to an unexpected path

My unplanned summer internship turned out to be truly life-changing – in ways I never could have predicted. I found my people. I found the work that made me cry it was so powerfully impactful. I found a level of fulfillment I had dreamed of.

And by the end of the summer, I found the confidence to advocate directly for them to hire me full-time, in DC – because I knew what I brought to the table, and I knew exactly how I could help them in that stage of growth. When I showed up to the small headquarters that fall, I even found the manifestation of what I had imagined my ideal office to look like – down to the mismatched chairs and cramped, collaborative space.

two assorted color padded chairs near side table
Photo by eric montanah on


All the clues I had gathered led me to the place I needed to be.

I stayed with this organization for seven years, trying out several different jobs during that time. It was where I grew up professionally, where my strengths were truly seen, where I was offered opportunities to step into leadership roles and positions I wouldn’t have imagined for myself, but that have put me precisely on the career path that was the right fit for me. (And, I also got to meet my husband!)

The journey that got me to this “right place” took nearly a year, and many applications sent, interviews completed, days of unemployment and dissatisfaction, informational interviews and coffees and emails, and plenty of discouragement and rejection.

These clues added up to something, because I was paying attention.

By going through all of that time and reflection and action and frustration, I gained more and more clarity about what mattered to me, what I was good at – and what I enjoyed doing. When I was offered the internship, there was that voice telling me I shouldn’t walk away from it, even though it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I knew in my bones it was where I needed to be.

This is my own story of finding work with meaning, which was a requirement for me from the beginning. I’ve continued to follow the clues to keep that sense of meaning, which has meant an evolution in my career path over time, as I’ve continued to evaluate how I can best use this sense of purpose and calling to serve others in different ways.

I’m grateful to have participated in the career stories of those I’ve worked with over the past two decades. I know the power of feeling called to be in a new place (as well as the fear that goes along with that), and how you contribute differently when you’re in that place.

My calling now is to be that voice of encouragement, the expert guide along the path to a fulfilling career.

How can I help you follow your clues?

Photo by Lukas on

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