Have you seen the film “Pina”? It’s a 3-D performance piece/documentary by Wim Wenders about the late German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. It’s full of intense movement and intense emotion.
Pina was not just a dancer, but a multifaceted artist who worked from instinct rather than formality. When she formed her dance company she did all the choreography herself. But in later years, her work evolved. She started asking the dancers to interpret her ideas in their own ways. She supported their creativity and full expression by encouraging them to be open to what might happen. If she was not happy with the results, she would offer the instruction, “Search more.” In other words, go deeper, let go, embrace your emotions.
Pina’s work demonstrates a whole range of human emotions, including sorrow, joy, anger and fear. She told her dancers, “Your fragility is also your strength.”
So, too, in the development of your creative career, your vulnerability can be your biggest ally. Being open is essential. Without it, you will become brittle and crumble into pieces.
You may be familiar with the concept of serendipity. Serendipity means a happy accident or pleasant surprise, specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it.
Although career development does require thoughtful planning, chance events also play a big part in our careers. Being open to meeting new people, going new places and seeing with new eyes all help turn dreams into realities.
In the article “Planned Happenstance: Constructing Unexpected Career Opportunities” (Kathleen E. Mitchell, Al S. Levin, John D. Krumboltz, in Journal of Counseling & Development, Spring 1999, Volume 77), the authors state that making career serendipity work for you takes five personal characteristics:
Which of these characteristics are you most comfortable with? Which could you stretch into? Think of at least one action you can take each day to increase these characteristics in yourself.
Your career will evolve on its own unique path, fluctuating between multiple periods of stability and change. Be ready.