There’s a phrase that is important to keep in mind as you prepare your professional road forward: The Hollywood Way. The description has nothing to do with lifestyle. Yet, it has everything to do with life and work preparedness.
In the (supposed) good old days, talent competed hard to be selected to join a firm/company/hospital staff, where (unless something drastic happened) it was expected you would remain, moving up in rank, through retirement. That model, however, that model has gone the Great Spirit trail. In other words, it is caput.
Today, each professional, regardless of field, is wise to think of himself or herself as an entrepreneur. We are wise to find a field concentration we feel passionate about and then learn everything we possibly can about it in order to be identified with it. In the creative world, this means that teams are grouped around projects where your expertise can be called upon. However, when the project is completed, you move on. (Thus, the term Hollywood Way: one film is wrapped up, and then all those who brought the film to life move on. Always you know this wrap up will occur. You plan for it, thinking about the future.)
It isn’t only in the arts that The Hollywood Way must be in our thinking and planning. All professional settings change far more rapidly that they did in the past. This means that the law partner you had hitched your wagon to for years may suddenly leave the firm. Or the surgical star you worked and trained with has developed a conflict with your department chair, and is on his way out. Or a rival has plotted successfully against you, and it is best to leave an organization.
What does this mean for each professional? As never before, we each must take responsibility for ourselves. We must not only learn all that we can about our field, but also about how to have a wise pension plan for later and medical insurance now. We cannot afford to ever believe that someone will take care of this for us, or take care of us.
This fluidity calls for what I have coined “an emotional sense of direction.” We must both plan our course and at the same time be able to take it in an unanticipated direction. Creativity is key to this ability. For creativity to flourish we must have the proper amount of rest and sleep, turn off from technology to communicate with others face to face and voice to voice for at least part of every day, and see ourselves as individuals. This means that we know that our direction must be determined by our own mind and instincts — that no one else, no matter how important in our lives –- can know what is best for us. Once we are on this road to autonomy, our “emotional sense of direction” strengthens and becomes increasingly reliable.
Autonomy does not mean that we stand alone. Sharing with others we trust is essential for fulfillment. What it does mean, however, is that we select our community of confidants carefully. This said, The Hollywood Way means that when a mistake is made — in love, friendship or work — we have the ability to let go (wrap up) and move on. In other words, when it is over, it is over.
Originally published at medium.com