Put Yourself in the Scene - Writing Exercises for Career Decisions

career advancement career alignment writing Aug 17, 2023
Person's hand writing in a notebook

Many of you know that along with having a Leadership Coaching practice, I write Fiction. My latest novel, Keepers of the Pact, is now available in stores. An interviewer recently asked me how my fiction writing complements my ‘day job’ coaching professionals. I said that’s a good question!
At a Kauai Writer’s Conference workshop I attended last November, Author Elizabeth Stark said that you have to start your story with a compelling character in conflict. She said if your characters can’t get what they want, then you’re into a story.
In writing fiction, there has to be conflict to overcome. Otherwise no one is going to read the book! To make a story sing, we develop a protagonist that follows what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s journey the fork in the road decision, commitment to the call, bravely stepping into the unknown and then character growth as the protagonist faces fears, challenges and opportunities along the path.
As professionals, I believe we all have a Career Hero’s Journey. We launch our careers, face obstacles and learn lessons along the way. As professionals, the conflict – or fork in the road decision - often sounds like:

  • “I want to figure out how to keep my team engaged and on track but I’m not sure where to start.”
  • “I’m thinking about the next steps in my career but I don’t have time to make a plan.”
  • “I like my job, but I’m worried about getting burned out.”

Any of that sound familiar? The good news is that in the professional world, there doesn’t always have to be a dramatic dark night of the soul decision. There are real life, tried and true strategies that in the 20 years I’ve been supporting leaders and organizations – work.
Here’s a quick exercise to try that I use when I’m trying to make sure I’m keeping my characters in line with the story’s through-line . It looks simple but takes some thought. So pull out your pen and paper and put yourself in the scene! Think of yourself as the character. Here we go…
Exercise to put yourself in the scene:

  • What is it that my character wants in this situation?
  • Why?
  • What’s the decision he/she/they has to make?
  • What’s motivating him/her/them to make that decision?

And for fun, here’s the book trailer for Keepers of the Pact.

I'd love if you'd share it with your network!

Keepers of the Pact is a story of friendship, adventure and the deepest mysteries of the sea. For readers aged 8-12 or anyone who enjoys a seaside story. You can order yours online at Amazon, Chapters, or pick it up at your favourite local store.
Here’s the Book Trailer:


Karen Kelloway, BPR PCC
Your Career Story Editor


With Karen Kelloway’s Career Story Project, you’ll learn how to
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