The following is a contributor blog from CDR Certified Coach, Stacey Abella. Stacey currently serves as a Corporate Financial Services Global Digital Innovation Strategist at ExxonMobil. Her multi-faceted 15+ career spans the spectrum from finance and sales positions with Fortune 500 companies. 

Feeling Like A Fish Climbing A Tree

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

In our modern-day workplace, how many of us get up every morning feeling like a fish trying to climb a tree? Let’s look at a few statistics:

  • Average amount of times people switch careers? 5 to 7
  • People actively disengaged at work? 70%
  • Employees unhappy at work? 58%

Endless Quest To Find The Right Career Path

With the ever increasing amount of choices and information available today, it’s expected that the number of career changes will only continue to increase – likely even more in a post COVID-19 world. Variety is the spice of life, but jumping around from career to career does not seem to be making us happy. What else is out there? We seem to be on an endless quest to find the right path, laid out somewhere out there before us – we just can’t see it.

I think back to a ski trip, when we enrolled our young son in ski school, but he just couldn’t get into it. We took a break from the mountain and headed to a nearby Nordic Center. If you’ve been to one, you know that they provide perfectly groomed trails, where you can literally put your skis into the track they’ve made for you and follow the trails for miles. If you follow their paths, you’ll be able to check out the best views… and as a beginner will probably fall down a whole lot less, too!

For many of us, our lives follow a Nordic Center-like path for the first 20-some years… Elementary school, middle school, high school and college… Then the remaining 50-some years of an average lifespan stretch before us. What are we supposed to do with that time? Suddenly, the clear path and groomed trails are gone. We are left to chart our own path, but how?

Some of us are fortunate that the path is pretty clear, or we have a mentor or coach who sees something in us and helps us develop it. This lucky bunch is  probably amongst the 30% who are engaged, and the 42% who are happy at work (… even more certain if their manager falls into that category as well!)

What about the rest of us?

In a world with so many choices, are our career choices aligned with our strengths, our values and motivations? What about our disengaged employees – and even our managers and executives: Are they highly capable, just in the wrong roles?

For all of us who have longed for a place to slide in our skis along our path to success… who have yearned to let our fins glide in the water instead of scraping along the rough edges on the bark of a tree… There is good news: it doesn’t have to be this way.

The CDR Assessment Can Guide You!

The CDR assessment dives deep within to unearth your character and strengths, motivations, and risk factors when under stress… how they all relate together holistically… and what action you can take once the veil is lifted.

If you are taking this time for reflection and realizing you are like a fish climbing a tree: Are you in the right career, just not in a company culture that fits your values? Are you just not doing enough of the things that make you most passionate – could you modify your work scope or take on something outside of work to balance that? Are you in the wrong career path altogether, zigging when everyone else is zagging? Do you need to reinvent yourself to adapt to a changing world?

For your teams: Could they be better optimized based upon what each team member really likes to do, their best talents, how they like to be rewarded? Could you mix and match some of the responsibilities with these insights? If you knew more about how each individual operates, could it strengthen the team and help them get even more done?

Aristotle said: “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” Let CDR accelerate that discovery – for you and your teams – and teach you how to operationalize it. In today’s competitive business world, you need your path illuminated. Don’t be a fish climbing trees: there is a way through CDR.


Stacey Abella CDR Certified Coach

Stacey Abella

Corporate Financial Services Global Digital Innovation Strategist, ExxonMobil