By Kate Gillespie
Though it's not due to be released until December 2015, there's already a lot of buzz about Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. I've seen television ads and store displays that mention the film, months before it will be out in movie theaters.
Unlike the last three films in the Star Wars saga, which are considered prequels of the first three films, Episode VII (as the Roman numeral suggests) will be a sequel. It is, in fact, the first in a proposed third trilogy, set 30 years after the events in the original trilogy. This might be a little confusing, but it's a small price to pay for more Star Wars movies.
The reason I mention all this is because I'm fascinated by the idea of sequels and prequels, a phenomenon the Star Wars saga helped popularize. People became obsessed with the characters of the original Star Wars trilogy and naturally wanted to know the histories of these characters and the world they lived in. Now they want to know what happened to them, and their world, 30 years later.
This wondering what happened before and after is common to the stories that engage us most. I think it's also true of our own life stories. We wonder about our past and our future, we think about what in our history made us the way we are today and what this portends for the future. Often, we apply this to our careers, to the saga of our work-lives.
What is the story of your career? It might not be as exciting as a tale set in a "galaxy far, far away," but it's had low points and highlights, disasters averted and victories won, targets missed and hit. In any case, your successes and failures offer important lessons that you might not understand unless you see them in the framework of a story, a saga.
What led to your present success? Who were the most important characters in your past, and the most important events, that made you what you are today in your career? There were times when "The Force" was with you and times when it wasn't; times when you saw clearly the trajectory of your career, and times when you didn't. Being able to see the difference is vital to any future success.
Where are you headed in your career? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? You don't know all that the future will bring, but you can make projections based upon where you've been. For instance, there were people in your life – mentors like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda – who inspired and guided you. How can their wisdom continue to guide you in the future? Consider the possibility that your future success may be determined by how good a mentor you are to others.
Your business career has been, is and will continue to be a saga in the best sense of that word. Your story has a prequel and a sequel, and knowing how they influence your present story will make your life richer.
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