Do you ever think much about the concept of “unlearning” something? For a transformative learning experience, we often have to take our grasp off of beliefs we’ve had for a long time.
When someone suggests a new fact that contradicts a long held belief, our inclination is to dismiss the comment.
With our students, it usually involves unlearning perceived boundaries of what’s possible for their lives regarding meaning and career happiness. People often limit their possibilities simply because they don’t believe their deepest desires are available to them. We usually catch people a few years (or decades!) into their career, but today I want to tell you about a business that is helping college students unlearn the old school ways of education.
ENTER: WAYFINDING ACADEMY
A few years ago, my friend Michelle Jones started a college. (She did, what?!) Yeah. She actually started a college. After years of teaching in higher education and listening to all the woes from professors, admin, and students, Michelle decided to do something about it.
She wanted to create a more humanistic education system. One that sees the whole of students instead of just trying to fit each individual into a checkbox on a finite, predetermined list. One that isn’t focused on across-the-board achievement but on helping young people lean into their strengths and find meaning in their careers.
(By now, you can see why I love this mission! It completely aligns with what we do at Happen To Your Career.)
Michelle’s college is called Wayfinding Academy. According to her, students in this program do more internal work and career development in 6 months than she did in 10 years. From allowing students to develop their own projects based on their unique learning preferences, to designing school breaks with jobs and international travels in mind, to helping students test out career options through various internships in different industries, Wayfinding Academy equips students to find work they love from the moment they enter the career world.
I love this approach.
HOW THE OLD SCHOOL WORKED
In most cases, people go through at least four years of college and then graduate school BEFORE they even know if they like their career choice. For instance, maybe you received a Poli Sci degree, busted your ass through law school, and then came out on the other side only to realize you hate the day-to-day work of a lawyer (which happens to be one of the careers with the highest level of misery). But now you’re covered in student loans and don’t want to feel like you wasted the eight years you just invested. So you stick with it. And hate every day and miss your family and wish you could join your friends for drinks on the weekends but you’re stuck preparing for Monday’s hearing.
The idea of waiting until you’ve invested years in education to test out your desires sounds pretty risky when we put it that way, doesn’t it?
All the time, I hear, “I learned more in the first 6 weeks of my job than I did in 4 years of college.” It’s a phrase most of us have said ourselves, and for most of our lives, we’ve just accepted this as a reality. But Michelle and Wayfinding Academy are proving it doesn’t have to be this way. Students can learn real-world job skills and test their deep desires before committing to a career.
THE VENN DIAGRAM OF CAREER HAPPINESS
Life isn’t linear. It’s constantly changing. The world evolves, and with it, career opportunities and personal missions develop. Wayfinding Academy refuses to build a linear plan for their dynamic students.
WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO MORE THAN JUST YOU, AND WHEN WE EACH LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE, WE ALL THRIVE.”WAYFINDING ACADEMY
I couldn’t help but think of signature strengths when I read this quote on Wayfinding Academy’s website. You’ve probably heard us talk about signature strengths before. Signature strengths are the place where your unique strengths, what you enjoy, and the value you bring to the world overlap.
We’re all living on this big blue and green planet together. What we do affects others. Isn’t it an incredible thought that if we all worked from our signature strengths (instead of trying to fit star-shaped, parallelogram, and lopsided pegs into square holes), the world would be a better place?
AS HUMAN BEINGS, OUR JOB IN LIFE IS TO HELP PEOPLE REALIZE HOW RARE AND VALUABLE EACH ONE OF US REALLY IS, THAT EACH OF US HAS SOMETHING THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS—OR EVER WILL HAVE—SOMETHING INSIDE THAT IS UNIQUE TO ALL TIME. IT’S OUR JOB TO ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO DISCOVER THAT UNIQUENESS AND TO PROVIDE WAYS OF DEVELOPING ITS EXPRESSION.MR. ROGERS
While you may not be able to return to your teenage self and choose an education route like Wayfinding Academy instead of a traditional university, you do have the power to do work you love today. Career happiness is available to you. Fulfillment is available to you. Flexibility and the paycheck you want are available to you.
To learn how my team can help you secure work in your signature strengths, fill out this application and tell us what you want out of life. To hear more about the strategy behind Wayfinding Academy, listen to my interview with founder, Michelle Jones, and recent grad, Elizabeth Wegmann.
Or if you want to learn more about becoming a student or sending your kids to Wayfinding Academy, this link will take you to their website.
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