Monday, April 23, 2012

3 Weeks and Counting

I have had this blog up and...well, not "running", exactly....for a year and a half but it was only April 3 of this year that I finally sucked it up and made the decision to post every day for as long as I could. I figure the streak will end while I'm on vacation unless I put a couple of pre-posts "in the can" before I go away.

Anyhow, in honour of yesterday being the 20th consecutive day of my new-found resolve, I decided to make today's post a sort of "Greatest Hits". It will be terrific! I'll link back to my favourite posts and we can laugh and shed a tear and get all nostalgic. Ok? Well, buckle up!


Ok, just kidding. Wouldn't that be just about the worst post ever?

However, I find myself pressed for time now because I have spent most of today considering a couple of options for moving forward in my work with The Challenge Factory. I mentioned them once before on this blog - in my Zoo Therapy post (ha! I did link back after all!) - but didn't really delve into how they have been helping me.

Late last summer I asked my friends and family on Facebook for some advice. I said that I was looking for a completely fresh start and asked everyone for their opinion on a few different back-to-school choices. A couple of people went "outside the box" and suggested some areas I hadn't even considered, which was a nice treat. One friend, however, suggested I get in contact with someone she knew (Lisa Taylor, @changepaths on Twitter) who is the founder and Principal of The Challenge Factory in Toronto. I set up a meeting with Lisa to "pick her brain" a bit, then she graciously set up a second meeting that involved Sarah so we could decide together if this commitment (financially and emotionally) was the right one for me.

We decided it was.

I would say that I am probably not their most typical demographic, but it has worked out just fine for me so far. When I attend networking events that they set up, I have found that most of the people I meet that are utilizing their services are either financially secure but bored and looking for a career fresh start or students that haven't yet hit the ground running. (I know I am very much over-simplifying, but it was my experience to be sure.) As I fit neither of those "types" in any way, my experience has been (I assume) quite different from the norm. It has, however, been very rewarding indeed and I hope to be able to come back onto my blog in a couple of weeks and describe an amazing "Test Drive" that Lisa is now in the process of setting up for me: an opportunity to spend a day "in the field" in a job that will (hopefully) satisfy most of what makes up my "sweet spot". This is a unique chance for a person looking to find that perfect fit to...well, actually see if the fit is perfect before leaping into a new career path. It really ought to be the highlight of my experience with them, but it will have its work cut out for it: Lisa has been a tremendously enthusiastic and supportive presence in my life the past few months and the "Test Drive" will have to be pretty special to top that.

Quite a few months back, Sarah and I posed for some pictures and spoke to a CP journalist about our experience with Challenge Factory as a couple. The article was picked up almost immediately by the Brandon Sun, of all places, but it looked terrific. They have long since taken it off their website, but it can still be found on the Halifax Chronicle-Herald's website, albeit without the photo to accompany it. So here is that photo:

(The article with the photo may also be found on the Challenge Factory website.)

I don't want to give too much away right here about what field my Test Drive will be in; suffice it to say it has the potential to be an amazing fit indeed. Once I have completed it (probably within the next three weeks or so) I will devote a blog post to that day. Now isn't that a terrific reason to come back?

In the meantime, please do check out The Challenge Factory if are stuck in a rut and need some help sorting out how to spend the best years of your life. I have met some pretty terrific people there.

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