I have always been a believer in putting out into the Universe the energy, ideas and intentions that I have for myself. After all, if you don’t lead with what you want, how will the Universe ever know what to send your way?
So, when I found myself in a career transition earlier this year, I started finding my way by taking stock of what I was looking for next – not just to clear my head but also so that I could start sharing it with the Universe. Slowly, with reflection, taking my own personal inventory and beginning to share it with close friends and colleagues, I saw signs that the Universe was listening. Bits and pieces of ideas and inspiration started floating their way toward me. The more open and honest I was – saying what I was looking for out loud and with confidence – the more the Universe responded.
While I always believed I could share my intentions with the Universe, I never quite saw the conversation as two way. Now, after months of discussion, I realize the Universe is sending me messages and signals just as much, if not more often, than I’m sending them out. All I have to do is be open, listen, and let go of my expectations of controlling the outcome.
As I’ve been finding my way through this transition moment, I’ve noticed that others are also finding themselves in moments of change, of questioning: where am I heading? What is my North Star? Is there even just one ‘right’ North Star for me, or perhaps am I in search of a constellation of stars, or a different galaxy altogether?
Then, one night as I sat eyes closed on a red-eye flight – literally on a journey across time and space – the Universe popped into my head:
I am a Wayfinder.
Using my unique combination of skills, experiences, talents and network, I am journeying on a path of self-discovery and purpose. I am wayfinding my way through all of this. And that, I realized, is exactly what everyone else is doing, too.
Whether you’re an early-career professional feeling unsure that you’ve chosen the ‘right’ path, a new parent searching for different meaning and purpose at work, or a seasoned professional who feels compelled to ask new questions but isn’t sure where to start – at our core, we are all Wayfinders. We’re all figuring out how to align our ‘work life’ and our ‘life life’. We just haven’t figured out how to have that conversation at scale, in a way that feels inclusive and connected and normal.
We are all Wayfinders.
So often we think of this career wayfinding as something to fix, that there’s something wrong with me if I am not sure what to do with myself. We look around and we see so many people who seem to have it figured out and we don’t feel that way. But here’s the truth: no one knows what they are doing. To put it another way: everyone is figuring this out. Plotting their next steps. Unpacking their hopes and trying to figure out how to turn them into reality. It’s just that we’re not sharing this effort and intention with others, that this work is often done quietly and behind closed doors.
What if there were a place for us to have these conversations, together? To find inspiration from others, pursue opportunities to further our learning and development out in the open, or even connect with coaches and experts who could help us more intentionally? What if we could develop a community of people charting their unique paths toward a more aligned and meaningful career? What might that look like?
This is Wayfinders Collective.
A platform for inspiration, ideas, learning and connection. A place to come to when you’re ready to widen your circle, to seek guidance and to make plans. A creative launching pad for Wayfinders ready to begin their journey.
I recently learned of a Zulu greeting, Sawubona, which loosely translated means “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.” I see Wayfinders Collective as the future of finding our way through work and life, and I believe that with your help, we can bring it into being. I am looking for collaborators, co-conspirators and guides and welcome your feedback and participation. Please reach out and let me know what you think.
In the meantime, I ask you: what intentions are you putting out into the Universe, and what is the Universe telling you in return? What new, unspoken or wild idea can you see in your future that you want to bring into being? In the coming days and weeks I’ll be sharing more of my own thoughts and also welcoming contributors to share their wisdom and ideas with you. I look forward to being on this journey with you, and finding our way together.
About Ashley Jablow
Ashley Jablow is Founder of Wayfinders Collective, a creative launching pad for everyone looking for inspiration and ideas as they navigate work and life.
Ashley is a strategist and storyteller, a hands-on process designer, and an empathetic team-builder with fourteen years of experience in innovation consulting, design thinking strategy, communications and community management, and business development and client relationships.
Most recently Ashley was Vice President, Development & Impact at Vizzuality, a Spanish design and technology consultancy using data to tell true stories and inspire action to improve our world. As Vizzuality's first U.S. hire, Ashley was brought on to launch and lead the company's first U.S. office and team. Prior to Vizzuality, Ashley served in the Obama Administration as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working on design strategy and technology consulting projects for federal agencies and the White House.
Before moving to Washington, DC, Ashley was a founding member of the team at OpenIDEO – an online open innovation platform developed by IDEO where people design better, together for social good. As the first full-time hire for OpenIDEO, she wore many hats, including online community mobilizer, digital communications specialist, client coach, and design thinking facilitator. Ashley also got her first taste of what it means to launch a minimum viable product and then co-design what it becomes with your community members (also known as building the plane while you fly it!).
Prior to IDEO, Ashley worked in corporate philanthropy and nonprofit fundraising. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and holds a BA in Sociology and Spanish from University of Michigan and an MBA in Marketing and Corporate Responsibility from Boston University.
You can learn more about Ashley at www.ashleyjablow.com.