How to Create a Meaningful Career
A meaningful career is different for each of us. This month I am going to be blogging about the steps necessary to craft your ideal career no matter where you are in your career plan: just starting out, halfway through it or in your third act. Whether you are working for a great company and figuring out how to navigate that organization for career growth, or you don’t have a clue what is next in your career, having a career strategy is part of what supports you in creating what you desire. It is the map that guides you, and it is key to have it clearly defined.
Finding purposeful work is a big topic and an important one. We will also discuss how you may continue to grow in your field and bring more of your potential to your current role and future positions.
We are no longer working in the days where you can sit back and wait for a promotion or for your organization to invest in you. Today is all about your being an active participant in crafting your career strategy and taking the action that supports it in becoming reality. You may be asking: Where does one start?
Career Evaluation Exercise:
Take out 3 big sticky notes and put them on the wall. For each one, write one of the questions below.
This exercise is meant to do over the course of a week. Consider each question and as thoughts show up, write them down. It is not meant to do in one sitting.
- Sticky Note 1 – List all of the things you have done in your career – responsibilities that you have done that you enjoyed – that gave you energy. These are typically your strengths.
- Sticky Note 2 – List all of the things you have done in your career that you didn’t like. These deplete your energy.
For the questions above, think about jobs you had or volunteer opportunities with specific responsibilities, environments, cultures.
- Sticky Note 3 – List the things you have not done yet that you want to do in your career – what do you want to evolve in yourself next? What aspects of your expertise, personality, leadership, and emotional intelligence do you want to grow?
How are you currently doing these things? Circle the ones you are focused on so the ones left will be the ones to put attention on.
In Bronnie Ware’s book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, she found through nursing people who were dying that there were two big regrets that were common.
The most common regret?
I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
The second most common?
I wish I didn’t work so hard.
Make another list answering these questions from Peter Bregman’s book, 18 Minutes.
- What matters to you?
- Deeper than making money, having vacation, feeling loved or respected. Go Deeper
- What part of your life is a source of pride?
- What impact do you feel you’re having on people, ideas, or things that are important to you?
- What are you spending your time on that doesn’t really matter?
See what awareness bubbles up. What do you want to acknowledge regarding what you have developed in yourself and your career? Then pick 1-2 areas that you want to grow.
How will you begin to develop these areas? Work with your coach, mentor, supervisor or accountability buddy to develop a plan around your areas of growth.
The biggest thing to manage in all this may be your fear – whatever that fear may be. It is important to get out of your comfort zone and begin to connect with groups and individuals that can support you in this new direction of exploration. Community creates accountability to forge forward into new areas of growth and keeps you growing into the possibility of what you are creating next in your career.
Take a leap of faith and begin to explore something new and different in your current work situation or a new career direction. Finding the new among our ordinary life is what makes for an extraordinary experience and opens us up to new possibilities and new relationships we may never have dreamed.