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  • Writer's pictureSean Casavechia

Navigating Career Growth: Balancing and Building Momentum

Updated: Feb 29

Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion, often called the Law of Inertia, states that an "object will continue moving in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force that changes its path." This fundamental principle of physics can help us when thinking about career momentum.

During most evenings this summer, I rowed my single-scull boat on the nearby lake. Sometimes, the water was like glass; other times, headwind conditions made each stroke feel like I was at a standstill. The other X factor was the motorboat wake. Out of nowhere, each powerful wave could send my narrow 30-pound vessel off course and nearly result in a capsize situation.

My career has had similar parallels. One minute, everything is smooth and seems effortless; at other points, no matter how hard I try, it seems I'm going nowhere. I was caught off guard at different times, sending my life in a new direction. Rowing and my career have constantly tested what I'm made of and taught me the true meaning of perseverance and adaptability to changing conditions.

In the talent assessment industry, much time and energy is spent determining someone's potential to behave in a certain way. While you can possess all the potential in the world, many other factors can accelerate or decelerate your career.

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall's "Nine Lies About Work" book discusses momentum as a real force. Buckingham and Goodall explain momentum is not just a metaphor; it's a tangible force that affects an organization's performance. The sense of progress and achievement propels individuals and teams forward.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who mentioned passing on a leadership promotion within their company. They were not interested in a management role at this point in their career. More money and responsibility are not their current motivators. Extra personal time and family life are more important.

I have often asked myself, "Am I racing towards the line or waiting for the line?" A younger version of myself would always proclaim, "Racing!" However, depending on your priorities, there is no wrong answer.

While constantly accelerating your career might seem like the natural goal, this isn't always possible or wise. Knowing when to slow down and refocus can be just as essential as moving quickly toward your next career milestone.


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