By Ivan Meakins with Dr Gary Crotaz
Dr Gary Crotaz had always dreamt of becoming a doctor. He spent eight years in medical school, conducted his Ph.D. research in a science lab, and had his sights set on what he thought was an exciting future.
But one day, during a long walk down the lab corridors, he realised something. His calling had changed.
This sudden epiphany altered the trajectory of his life and career. Today, he’s an executive coach on a mission to help other people activate their unique talents to achieve their personal and professional goals.
But, how exactly do you unlock this epiphany? And where does it come from?
It all begins with knowing what the unlock moment is and separating it from the other moments of emerging clarity you may experience over the course of your career.
What is the unlock moment?
Gary describes these moments as a lens into purpose or clarity. As you move through life, you’ll gradually begin to figure out some hidden pieces of your life’s puzzle – where you want to be, who you want to be, and the right path for yourself.
But, as Gary points out, the main unlock moment is that point where – even 20 years later –, you can still remember vividly where you were, who you were with, and what you were thinking when it occurred.
Gary: “My unlock moment was this sudden clarity of thought that I didn’t have to practice medicine anymore if I didn’t want to. It wasn’t the same as deciding to leave and choose a new career. It was giving myself permission to explore the fact that I could do something else. That was the unlock moment for me, and from that point I began to explore other paths in life.
It’s not a moment of decision. It’s a moment of knowledge.”
Reflecting on this comment made me realise just how simple an unlock moment could be. While it’s incredibly pivotal, it often shows up as subtle incidents in our everyday life. It’s also a realisation we have to come to by ourselves.
But, if it’s a moment of knowledge rather than “a moment of decision,” as Gary puts it, does this then mean that the change – the aftermath of this clarity – could take years (or even decades) to come?
Gary: “Sometimes, you could take action almost immediately. In some cases, the action comes a long time afterwards. When I had my unlock moment, it took me six months before I started to explore other things, and about a year before I actually made the decision to leave.
Before the unlock moment, it’s almost like there’s a fog. So you may have an idea, but it’s not quite clear. And then you have that sudden, remarkable burst of clarity, and after that it’s never unclear again. I always knew after that moment that I had permission to do what I wanted to do.
And it was up to me to take that choice and live with the consequences. So that was always clear. The outcome of that decision? Not so clear. I had to figure that out by myself.”
Where does the unlock moment come from?
Gary: “Here’s the paradox of an unlock moment. You can’t predict it and you can’t make it happen directly. While I may be able to help people ask the right questions, I don’t know if they’ll find their unlock moment. We can only increase the chances of it happening.”
So, if we can’t predict this moment and there’s no point hunting for it, where then does it stem from? Gary pointed out that there are four key things that come together to help anyone find their unlock moment:
- Self-awareness and an understanding of who you are, where you’ve come from, your value and your talents
- Open-heartedness – a connection with your emotions
- Comfort in taking a certain level of risk
But, there’s a fifth element – one that Gary describes as being pivotal to creating significant change and steering your life in the right direction. And it’s the ability to take ultimate ownership of your decisions.
You may be surrounded by people who mentor, support and partner with you. But in the centre, you’re all alone. Alone to own who you are. Alone to own the decisions you make. Alone to take charge of your life and whatever happens next.
The people who find their unlock moment are those who decide to stand by the path they’ve chosen even when the people around them disagree.
Keeping your clarity in sight
In many cases, as an entrepreneur, it’s all too easy to get distracted and lose sight of your purpose. So, how do you return to that clarifying moment and pick up the creativity and energy it inspired?
It all boils down to the moment itself – retelling and reliving the story of how you found your purpose.
Gary: “As an entrepreneur, when there’s six of you around the table, it’s easy to keep your purpose in sight. But, as the team expands and grows to maybe a hundred people, the purpose begins to get diluted. So, it’s really important that as the team grows, you keep telling that story and connecting into the why of what you’re doing.”
If you enjoyed this blog or listened to the Climb podcast and wanted some advice on how to create regular thought leadership content for your business, get in touch with Write Business Results today.