Think about building a career by design and not by default. If you're feeling like you're accepting your career out of obligation, and it's not giving you joy … then there’s got to be a better way of figuring this out.
If you're in a role that you feel has expired, it's no longer the best use of your talents, it's not challenging you, it's not bringing you joy, or helping you with your sense of worth; then it's probably time to contemplate making a shift. Here are some ideas to jump-start your thought process.
Vision matters. This is really about connecting back to you. You can't build a good career vision unless you get grounded in yourself.
Connect with yourself to gain clarity. Give yourself the opportunity to dig deeper and ask, “Who am I? What makes me tick? What do I really want?”
What are your values? What do you really stand for? What are your strengths? Start by reconnecting with your values. If the role doesn't light you up, you're not the right person for the job. What are your core values? Personal values and career values should be the same because they are the foundation of your life and what you stand for.
Ask yourself, “What am I going to do to ensure that I can live this value more consistently?” Where are you out of alignment? Maybe it's with certain people, certain relationships, maybe it's in your organization. We can quickly get out of alignment with our values but it's always possible for us to reset.
Clarity of vision through a strength-based lens. Focus on what is right with you vs. what is wrong with you; this is how you discover your top strengths. Recall any feedback that you have received and think about when you're working at your best, what is the positive impact that people say you have? Those are your strengths at play. If you're not sure what your strengths are, I would encourage you to do a Strengths Finder report. You can also do a strengths based-feedback session with people at work by asking them questions such as “What do you think my strengths are?”
Energy gain vs. energy drain. Have you ever had that experience where you've been working on something, and you think, “I could just do this all day it feels so good? I feel like I made an impact, and I'm feeling energized from it.” Even though it may have been really intense or hard to do, it still fills you up and doesn't feel like work. Do you know what those things are? What is an energy gainer and what is a drainer in your role and in your career?
Make a list of parts of your role that you love, and parts that you loathe. What gives you energy? What kind of projects, roles, and settings make you feel excited, make you feel alive? Self-efficacy comes from our ability to be able to exert control, have agency, being effective and make an impact. You don't want to be the dumping ground for everybody else.
This is really the difference between a job versus a career. This is when you think “I love what I do. I love going to work every day, I get to make a positive impact. It lights me up,” and then you start attracting that energy around you. If you're feeling stuck, what is staying stuck costing you?
It takes courage to leave a job, it takes courage to step into a role where it will be more challenging. You don't have to wait until you feel ready. If you're ready, you've waited too long. Who wants to be in a job that you're 100% ready for?
What's the biggest goal you have in your career right now? It's very important to know what you actually want. Do you want a promotion? Do you want to work for an organization that's more aligned with your values? What kind of work would excite you the most? If money were not an object, what work would you be doing?
What are you known for? What do people say about you? Maybe there is something that comes easy to you, but is difficult for other people to do. That’s when you know that you possess a unique strength. Another key component is what do you love to do so much that it feels easy, it doesn't feel like work? This is meaningful. For me, it's aligned with what I value.
Finally, ask yourself what would make you feel more secure. Certainty ties into security, what is it that would make you feel more certain?
Contemplate these different questions and think about what you want your career vision to be.
Building a better career vision takes repeated self-reflection and willingness to accept feedback about your unique strengths and weaknesses. The past two years have offered us the perfect opportunity for a reset. Now is the time to do it, and step into a career that is uniquely yours.
If you want your career to grow, you need to have a plan. We can help get started with a blueprint for success with our Career Development Plan.
No one cares about your career as much as you do.
I know it's frustrating to feel stifled and stuck, and there is something you can do about that.
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