Careers that suit
Are you doing what you enjoy? Are you happy in your work? Are you living your life mission? Important questions worthy of further examination so this months tip aims to give you a powerful tool for doing just that with the initial focus on work and career. This may be relevant to you right now or perhaps for a friend or colleague, incidentally this tip also works brilliantly well for teenagers struggling to work out what they may want to do in life!
It would seem that for some people work is fulfilling and enjoyable, through their work they are expressing ‘who they are’ and employing all the facets of their personality while for many others this is not the case. When individuals come to me for career coaching, perhaps wanting help to change direction and start a new career, they often seem to share one thing in common. Underneath the many factors involved in their uncertainty lies the overriding feeling that in their current job or profession they are not fully expressing ‘who they are’. Often people then compensate by finding hobbies or pastimes to ‘fill in the gaps’ but this may not be enough and they can reach a stage in their lives when a radical change of direction is wanted. For some they may feel their creativity is untapped or their desire to make a difference is not satisfied. For others they may have an unsatisfied desire to work with their hands; or build their own business, perhaps invent something new or work with nature. We are all unique and have different individual requirements from our work so the list of personal criteria is wide ranging but what’s important is to fully understand what facets of your uniqueness you want and need to express through your work. Once you know this you are better able to select a career that allows you to more fully express ‘who you are’ and enjoy the feelings of fulfilment and happiness that go with getting this good match. But how can you be sure of what facets of yourself you need to express through your work so that you can then work out what new direction to follow and what kind of work or profession might suit you better? There are many career mapping tools to help with this but in this month’s tip I want to give you a very different approach that I first learnt from Jan Elfine an ICF Master Coach from the US. Here is Jan’s approach.
‘Who we are’ and what we want to express through our work is not only revealed in what we do but also in what our imagination spins off on, the make believe that we play with in our fantasies and dreams. Frequently careers advice relies on making inquiries of the more logical and intellectual side of our intelligence and doing this alone fails to take account of the even more important sub-conscious intelligence often revealed through our dreams and fantasies. This following exercise provides a powerful and fun way of revealing not just our more logical thoughts but also our more intuitive ones. Completing this will enable you to understand more clearly what’s really important for you in choosing a career path that will best match your needs.
Start by thinking of about eight alternative professions or ways of life that are different to your current path. These may be things that you have been attracted to or wondered about in the past, perhaps things you have often dreamt of doing or wished you had done. They might even be jobs that you are secretly envious of seeing others doing! Let your imagination run riot with this, if the job seems attractive to you then include it in your list – be as crazy as you like! Also include in your list the very first job you wanted to do when you were a child (the proverbial train driver or doctor for example!) Quite often people seem to fantasise about getting back to a more natural and simple existence with a more active or physical side to their work. Once you have your list then draw a table with three columns and with the following headings. Column 1 has the heading ‘The job/ profession or way of life’. Column 2 has the heading ‘I would get to……...’ Column 3 has the heading ‘And I would be expressing this about myself’. Once you have made your table then list your eight alternatives in Column 1. Then go on by filling in Columns 2 and 3, here’s an example to illustrate what this may look like. Let’s say the first job appearing in Column 1 is that of a Gardener. Column 2 might then look like this:
‘I would get to …. create beautiful outdoor spaces; work with my hands; be outside; study different plants; learn about horticulture’.
Column 3 might look like this.
‘And I would be expressing my desire to get closer to the land and to nature; my desire to do more physical work in the outdoors; my belief that its important to grow and nurture things; the ‘earthier’ side of me; and my desire to create something visually appealing!
Do this for all of the jobs, professions or ways of life that you have chosen to list in Column 1. (add more to your list if they come to mind and seem appealing).
Once you have completed your table then look for the clues about ‘who you are’, what you like doing and what you like expressing in yourself that are embedded in each of those different professions or lives. Pay particular attention to Column 3 and start noticing all the facets of your personality that perhaps deep down you are wanting to express more fully through your life and work.
As you assemble these clues and begin to make more sense of what they are telling you, then you can start to think about what you really want to do in your future and what range of criteria a job needs to offer to best match your needs. How well does you’re your current work match up? What criteria are satisfied and what are not, what may be missing? What kind of work may really suit you better because it allows you to fulfil more of ‘who you are’ and express more fully the unique facets of your personality that are really important to you and may be lying dormant?
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