The Importance of Creativity for a Long Career

The Importance of Creativity for a Long Career

The importance of creativity for a long career is more critical than ever, to stay relevant and employable in the age of automation

According to an article by Business Insiders Australia, one in three Australian jobs will be automated by 2030. And it’s not just manufacturing, white-collar professions like accounting and legal are also at risk.

It’s easy to feel gloomy about the future of work but it’s not all bad. Author, Daniel Pink, says that right-brainers (people who think creativity) will rule the future because their skills are both highly valued by organisations and not easily replicated by robots.

“Lawyers. Doctors. Accountants. Engineers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become. They were wrong. Gone is the age of “left-brain” dominance. The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers, storytellers — creative and emphatic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault-line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t,” said Daniel Pink.

So, creativity is not just important for your career, it’s a must-have skill to ensure you have a career.

What is Creativity, you ask?

Does the word creativity conjure images of the artist Pro Hart exploding cream cakes onto a giant canvass?

The good news is you don’t have be an artist or in a typically creative job to think creatively. Most people, if they put their mind to it, have the capacity to be creative and use creative thinking.

According to Linda Naiman, Founder of Creativity at Work, creativity is “characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.”

All you need to do is look at the “disruptors” that we are fond of talking about to understand this point. Take for example, Uber. They saw the problem of poor taxi service and provided a creative solution in ride-sharing. LinkedIn saw the time and effort to create and maintain a professional network and provided a creative solution. Freelancer saw that small business had a problem in getting stuff done and created a hub to connect small business with skilled freelancers. Each of these business are examples of reexamining old problems with creative solutions.

Therefore, creativity is finding new and innovative ways to fix business problems. And building your reputation as a problem solver will help you grow your career because every organization wants to hire self-starters who bring solutions rather than problems to their role.

Can Creativity Be Learned?

Many people think creativity is a gift you are born with or receive through divine intervention. However, training yourself to think in new and innovative ways is a skill you can and must learn for a sustainable and successful career.

Tanya Seelig, author of inGenuis: A Crash Course in Creativity, says that creativity is one of the most important skills we can learn.

“With enhanced creativity, instead of problems we see potential, instead of obstacles we see opportunities, and instead of challenges we see a chance to create solutions. Creativity is critically important in everything we do, including designing products, growing businesses, and building alliances between nations. We are literally inventing the future every moment. And these skills can be learned,” said Dr Seelig.

How Can I Be More Creative?

It really doesn’t matter how you get your creative juices flowing, the important thing is that you find a creative process that works for you. Practiced regularly, creativity becomes a professional and personal habit.

Here are five ways you can bring creativity into your work life

1. Change Your Mind

One way to boost your creativity is to look existing work problems differently. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and think about how they use your product. Or think about the types of complaints employees make in the lunch room. Connect different parts of the business, combine ideas and challenge traditional business assumptions. For example, consider the invention of smart phones. A mobile phone used to be a tool to make phone calls and send text messages. But companies like Apple reimagined its potential and now mobile phones are used as cameras, diaries and even credit cards.

2. Look Outside Your Industry

Researching other industries can be a great way to spark your own imagination. In a world of 7.5 billion people, it’s unlikely you’re the first person to experience any given problem. Google is a great place to start. Consider re-framing your question so it’s not specific to your industry or job and learn how others have tackled the same or similar issues.

3. Make a Plan

Creativity isn’t something that just happens. In fact, it is a discipline. You need to set aside time to think, research and engage in problem-solving. And you need to make a start. Don’t wait for divine inspiration, put pen to paper and allow yourself to play with different ideas without expecting to nail it in the first five minutes.

4. Team Up

No one has all the answers. If you have a specific problem that needs a creative solution, talk to others and ask for their suggestions. In particular, talk to people who work in different industries or professions as they can suggest a different angle.

5. Walk Away

If you’re not getting anywhere by sitting and starting at a problem, walk away. In her TED Talk, Want to be more creative? Go for a walk, behavioural and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, suggests going for a walk is all you need to get your creative juices flowing.

As I read and contemplate all the research about the future of work, one thing is clear: to have a successful career, you’ll need to think creatively.

Let’s work together to secure your future career. I can help you tap into your creativity and bring your ideas to life.

Book Now

Watch:

• A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
• Want to be more creative? Go for a walk.

Read:

• The Future of Human Work Is Imagination, Creativity, and Strategy
• Bet You Didn’t See This Coming: 10 Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Robots
• RISE OF THE MACHINES: New research predicts a third of Australian jobs will lost to automation by 2030
• Who Says Creativity Can’t Be Learned?

 

Are you searching for reasons not to go to work

Should I quit, or should I stay?

It has been a few years working for the same employer and the passion of waking up in the morning excited to go to work has disappeared.  Does that sound like you? Or are you searching for reasons not to go to work?  Or does the mention of your employer make you break out in Hives!!!!

Yes, workplace unhappiness happens.  It is a “thing”. It happens often and to most people.

A recent Gallup Survey revealed that 85% of the international workforce is disengaged at work. Most employees are unhappy with their career.  The reasons are many but the key for us in this blog is the fact that such a big number are chronically unhappy.

Being unhappy at work is terrible.  It makes unproductive as an employee but worse it makes us a bad person to be around. Workplace unhappiness causes stress, it impacts on our relationships, and it can make us sick.

However, before you quit test your decision with these simple questions.

Is my boss showing interest in my career development?

A common issue employees experience is their employer does not provide the fundamental tools to enhance their career.

Some organizations embrace the idea of their employees working towards their goals to potentially move to a new area of the company. An action plan with an employer to develop one’s career includes the following:

  • Quarterly career development meetings
  • Discussing areas of improvement
  • Continuous education
  • Mentor program with experienced colleagues

If you believe there is no opportunity to progress at work, it is time to start searching for a new job.

Is this a great place to work? Do people want to come here and work?

Let’s face it. Some workplaces condone an unhealthy work environment. As a result, employees feel uncomfortable at work to express their concerns to management. A work environment where office gossip, harassment or unprofessional behavior is accepted can prevent you from experiencing high levels of job satisfaction.

Is the Company is Growing?

Growing companies are happy companies and happy companies usually have happy employees. So, if you are in a growing company and unhappy then you might need to consider if you are a good fit for the business A company that is growing has the budget to hire new staff, invest in software technology, offer career development programs, offer bonuses for high performance

If a company regularly announces negative cash flow, missed targets, is laying off staff and its long-term growth looks unachievable then it may be a good idea to leave and protect your entitlements.

What stage of my career am I at?

The reality is many employees outgrow their positions at work.  This could be for many reasons however before you make the decision to quit you should think about: the opportunities in other parts of the business; what development opportunities exist for you where you are; your age, level of experience and the value you could bring to another business; the state of the employment market. As much as quitting may feel good it can very quickly turn into a bad decision if you can find immediate employment.

Is my health being affected?

If your job is making you sick then it is a “no brainer”, you need to get out of there.  Nothing should come before your health.

What to Consider Before Quitting

To quit or not to quit your job is a very serious decision and there are many things you need to think about.  Before making such a serious a decision you should talk to a professional career coach.

What the career coach can do is help you discover new insights about what is making you unhappy at work, suggest alternative ways of dealing with your unhappiness, and help you make the right decision for you.  Most importantly, a career coach will help you find that dream job.

If you are considering quitting your job, then I encourage you to first book a Career Breakthrough Conversation to talk with us about your career and your dream job and whether quitting is the right move for you.

Book Now

Further Reading:

Our most recent blog I hate my job – what should I do?

Hate your job

I hate my job – what should I do?

Over the last year in Australia, there have been 500,000 searches on Google about what to do if you hate your job. That suggests there are a lot of unhappy workers in Australia!

Everyone has a few off days but if you consistently loathe going to work, you have a problem.

In my previous blog 5 Steps to Maintaining Your Well-being at Work, I talked about the ill-effects of workplace stress, which can result in both physical and mental disorders.

Many people tolerate unhappiness at work because they need the job to pay their bills. But if your work affects your well-being, it’s time to reassess. Without your health, you can’t work or live sustainably.

 Why Are You Unhappy at Work?

There are many reasons why you could be unhappy at work but according to research by the Australian National University, there are four factors that consistently lead to unhappiness:

  • Lack of control: minimal freedom to make decisions and exert influence.
  • Lack of security: concerns about the future of the company and the job.
  • Lack of pay: perceived unfairness in how performance is rewarded.
  • Lack of complexity: simplistic work, little learning, and an under-utilisation of employees’ skills.

Do any of these factors apply to your job? It may explain why you are unhappy at work.

Think first, speak later

Before you shout from the water cooler “I hate my job” – pause and think. Your boss may well be a jerk but there’s a good chance you’ll need a reference to secure your next job. While you may get a short-term burst of satisfaction telling workmates how unhappy you are, think about what you stand to lose from doing so.  One of my clients who hated her job unwittingly started to bad mouth her job, her colleagues, her boss and the business – classic “career unhappiness” behaviour.  She did not realise how indiscreet she had been until she applied for a new job with another firm and was told she was unsuccessful because they knew of her bad behaviour.

Take a break

Quitting your job or accepting a redundancy is often a smart thing to do if you really hate your job because it creates a “circuit breaker”.  It gets you out of the negativity.  It can, in many cases be a positive life-changing decision.  In my blog The 6 things about redundancy I talk about the value of taking a break to give yourself time to think about your next step. A holiday is a good idea because it will also give you time to re-charge your batteries, get the negativity out of your head and think about “what next” before you move on with the next phase of your life.  Many of my clients have taken a break after being made redundant and have reported that it was: “the best thing I could have done”, “a great freshen up”, “a chance to close off that chapter of my life”, and my personal favourite, “a chance to reconnect with myself”.  These are all very positive sentiments.

Psychologist Dr Susan Krauss Whitbourne says a successful holiday can benefit your physical and mental health.

“Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines,” said Dr Krauss Whitbourne.

Do Talk to Someone You Trust

If you’re unhappy, it’s not good to brew up your feelings. Instead of complaining at work, talk to family and friends. However, keep in mind family can’t always give you unbiased advice because they depend on your income and might be fearful of change.  I remember when I left my last job a family member said to me “what do I tell people you do?”.

Your friends will give you well-meaning advice but it can be unhelpful.  Think about it, have you ever received advice from family or friend that was objective, well-researched and appropriate to you?  I would guess rarely because they all have a perception of what you should be doing – according to them.  It’s amazing how many of my clients talk about how they changed things based on family or friend’s advice and it only made things worse!

Sometimes, you need an independent sounding board, like a career coach – a trained professional who will listen objectively and help you sort out what is best for you.  A career coach is the person most likely to give you the best advice that suits you.

Should you stay, or go?

The decision to quit or stay in a job can be complicated, particularly if you are the main bread-winner of the family.

To help make a decision about whether to stay or go, I recommend you write down:

  • A list of things about your job that are not working. Can you influence any of the things that make you unhappy at work? For example, if you don’t like your boss, can you request a transfer to a different area?
  • The costs and benefits of staying or leaving. When faced with the prospect of leaving a job, many people will act out of fear and list only the risks without thinking about what could improve in their lives.
  • Scenarios for what life would look like if you stayed or if quit and chased career happiness.

Writing down the facts on paper will help you assess your situation rationally, rather than emotionally.

Make a plan before you quit

If you have decided you want to leave your job then make a plan. Consider:

  • How much money do you need to live on?
  • Do you need to study or retrain?
  • Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • Asking for references or recommendations on LinkedIn from colleagues and customers before you leave.
  • Drafting a thoughtful resignation letter. Tempting as it might be to give some feedback, avoid saying anything that might tarnish your reputation.
  • Setting a date to hand in your resignation.
  • Start “working” your network to see what opportunities are out there.

Do you hate your job? I offer a complimentary 45 minute session where you can confidentially talk to me about your career. You don’t need to have all the answers, finding your best career path can start with a conversation. I invite you to click on the button below to book your conversation.

Book Now

For more information on what to do if you hate your job:

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Personal branding

Why Personal Branding Is Important for Your Career

It’s easy to dismiss personal branding as a product of “Generation Me” but if you’ve ever secretly Googled yourself then chances are, you’re interested in and aware of your personal brand.

The convergence of a competitive job market and the dominance of digital platforms (where almost everyone can be searched and seen) has brought self-marketing and personal branding to the forefront.

Your personal brand can open up more career opportunities therefore, it’s something you need to consider as part of your career strategy.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is a trade mark of your most distinctive values and characteristics, as observed and assessed by others.

Everyone has one. Consciously or not, how you talk, think, interact with others, execute your work and even how you dress are all part of your personal brand.  If you listen carefully you will hear people make brand statements about others all the time.  For instance, have you ever people say things like:

  • “Ohhh she is great at solving problems”,
  • “Ring (name) because he is great at …”
  • “(name) is so good at talking in front of an audience, she just oozes charisma”
  • “That’s the person we need working here”

Personal branding strategist, Dr Dra Natalia Wiechowski, says that personal branding is about managing other’s impressions of you.

“If you position yourself in a great, in a positive and impressive way, people will choose you. And not the other individual. Because they know what they will get when they work with you and what you stand for,” said Dra Natalia Wiechowski.

Why is personal branding important to my career?

Understanding and managing your personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd.  It gives you a point of difference you can use to engage with and connect to your network.

If you’re no Kim Kardashian, don’t worry, your personal brand isn’t superficially just about looks (in fact looks has very little to do with it). Appropriately communicating your personal brand can help you to:

  • Build trustworthy relationships
  • Highlight your strengths and expertise
  • Gain positive exposure
  • Be suitably remunerated
  • Achieve promotions
  • Be noticed by recruiters
  • Create new and valuable connections

Through developing self-awareness and remaining true to who you are can build a credible brand. Best-selling author, Ben Angel, says it’s about playing to your strengths.

“It is about taking key characteristics and turning on the volume on them, so you have the ability to truly captivate an audience,” said Mr Angel.

How do I create a personal brand?

 To begin, you need to look closely at who you are and how to utilise your features to make yourself remarkable.

1.       Discover Your Authentic Self

Take a quiet moment to reflect on who you are and what do you stand for. Finding the answers can be daunting, so try breaking them down into these aspects:

  • Values:
    • What are the core values that describe you best?
    • What standards and behaviours do you consider correct in the way you live and work?
    • One of the activities I set my clients is to have them ask five friends:
      • What are the values that best describe me?
      • What are the things that make us such good friends?

Both of these questions will reveal your values as understood by others.

  • Personality:
    • What are the main features of your personality that have a positive influence in the way you interact with others? Are you empathic? Are you the “go to” person for relationship problems? Are you funny? A good listener?
    • Again, a good exercise is to ask five friends to describe your personality traits.
  • Your passions:
    • What motivates you?
    • What are your interests?
    • What gets you angry?
    • What brings a smile to your face?
  • Interpersonal skills:
    • How do you communicate and interact with others? Think of the way you express yourself, the wording you use and your body language. These two things are crucial to a positive personal brand.
    • How can these characteristics enhance your personal branding?
  • Your image:
    • What does your personal presentation, clothing, hairstyle and facial hair say about you? Remember first impressions are cast in the first seven seconds of meeting someone so your look is important.

Reflect on your career achievements:

  • Experience and studies:
    • What experiences have impacted your career and are worth of being emphasised?
    • What have you studied and how can be a stand out in the achievement of your career goals?
  • Strengths:
    • What are you good at?
    • What are your specialities?
    • What do others say you are good at?

In my article, How to Find a Great Career, I talk about how personality profiling tools like Harrison Assessments, can help you gain an objective understanding of your personality and strengths. You can also talk to your manager and colleagues to get an outsider’s perspective, or ask a career coach.

2.       Analyse your goals

 Take a moment to think what you want to achieve, where would you like to see yourself in the future, and what connections you need to make to get there.

Consider:

  • What are employers looking for?
  • How can I gain their attention (in a good way)?
  • How can I connect with potential employers?
  • How can my network help me connect with potential employers?

Social media can be a good tool for this.   Make the effort to post positive things regularly on your social media.

Otherwise, take time to read, like and comment on content published by people and companies you want to work with.

Your personal branding must be a vehicle to attract attention from the right people and help you achieve your goals.

3.       Make Your Own Statements

Your personal brand is more than just a visual statement – the words you use to describe yourself make a significant contribution. Writing out your personal brand statements will help you to define and refine what you want to say about yourself and align your personal brand with your goals. As a starting point:

  • Re-visit the points you raised in step 1, and decide what you want to say about your professional self in public.
  • Consider your purpose (why have you chosen your career) and your elevator pitch (how your work and your approach make you stand out from the crowd).
  • Draft these ideas into short statements for your CV and LinkedIn profile.

4.       Have a Good Look

It’s also a good idea to audit your visual brand. For example, when was the last time you updated your profile picture on LinkedIn? Is it a good quality shot that presents you in the best light? If not, consider having a new photo taken.

I know one professional who wears a red dress every time she is asked to speak publicly. Red is one of her brand colours and the red dress really makes her stand out on social media in the photos. In fact, wearing a red dress has become her signature.

Mind your personal brand’s digital presence

A lot of networking and first impressions are now made online. Most companies use search engines and social media tools to seek and screen future employees.

According to Open Colleges Australia, digital platforms have opened up a world of possibilities for personal branding and self-promotion.

“The current rise of social media, management of a personal brand is easier. You can choose to utilise Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs and LinkedIn to develop and maintain your own brand,” says Open College Australia

You can strategically create and share content related to your expertise, broaden your network, design and edit your profiles and be visible to prospective employers.

Ensuring you share only appropriate content on social media is crucial to protecting your own brand and maintaining your online reputation. Almost everyone has an online footprint – make sure yours is a desirable one!

How do I evaluate my personal brand?

It’s important to keep an eye on how well you are communicating your personal brand and if it is giving you results.

Some ways of evaluating it are:

  • Type your name into Google and see what comes up. If it’s within your control, make sure you get rid of anything that appears unprofessional. To help you monitor your brand, you can set up a Google Alert, which means you’ll be emailed every time you receive a mention (hint: if you have a popular name like John Smith, make sure you set up your Google Alert for local mentions or your inbox will be bombarded with alerts!)
  • Keep track of any new connections you make and how they could lead to new opportunities.
  • Ask your manager and colleagues how they perceive your brand at formal and informal reviews.

What if I don’t like self-promotion?

It’s logical to think your work stands for itself, and it may well, but in such a competitive work environment it’s important to be aware of your strengths and develop a well-defined brand that helps you to project your uniqueness.

Self-promotion and personal branding don’t have to be aggressive, over the top and in your face. You can apply more subtle strategies to suit your own style.

Creating a personal brand requires an accurate self-assessment and working with a professional coach who provides objective feedback can help you tremendously. If you are interested in creating your personal brand, I can help you. Let’s work together to create a clear and consistent personal brand strategy that will be your platform to be seen and recognised.

Go to my contact icon in LinkedIn to BOOK your free personal brand conversation – LinkedIn – Rob Cugno

Watch:

The One Thing You Really Need to Know About Personal Branding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JryQOkW7pZk

The personal brand of you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGbsb6aXbzc

 Read:

The art of self-marketing

https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/the-art-of-self-marketing

The best way to measure your brand success

https://www.forbes.com/sites/piasilva/2018/08/01/the-best-way-to-measure-your-personal-brand-success/#65797de83038

Personal branding 101

https://knowing.swinburne.edu.au/post/166801894179/personal-branding-101

The complete guide to personal branding

https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/personal-branding-guide

 

 

Best work places

The best places to work for 2018 – By HR Online

Workplace culture has been dominating headlines due to a spate of poor behaviour and high profile toxic work environments. So, it’s refreshing to focus on those employers who are getting it right for a change.

 What makes for a great place to work? Free food? Standing desks? A company ping-pong table? While these perks may enhance the employee experience, the crux of workplace satisfaction is linked with personal satisfaction; working somewhere where you feel valued and supported and are able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Great Place to Work Australia (GPTW) released its 2018 Best Place to Work benchmark report last week, highlighting the organisations that have worked hard to nurture a positive work environment.

As Zrinka Lovrencic, managing director at GPTW Australia, pointed out, we can spend up to 10 hours per day at work. That’s a huge chunk of our time that we’re not spending with our friends, family and those we love. An engaging and  positive work environment is not just “nice to have”, it’s imperative to a business’ vitality and success.

And the winner is…

Taking the top position for companies with over 1,000 employees was Salesforce, a large provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software. It’s not the first time Salesforce has scooped the winning position, receiving first place in 2016 and second position in 2017. So, what’s the key to their success? Mark Innes, general manager and executive vice president, APAC, says it’s all about creating a family culture.

“In Hawaiian culture, the word ‘Ohana’ represents the idea that families – related or chosen – are bound together, with their members feeling a sense of responsibility for one another. When Salesforce was created, all those years ago, [co-founder] Marc Benioff realised that the true meaning of Ohana didn’t really exist in corporate culture. So, he built Salesforce from day one around the spirit of Ohana.”

He describes an effective culture as one that is “a never-ending journey, not a destination.”

“Our people are at the heart of our company. So, for us, the honour to be named the #1 Best Place to Work in Australia, alongside other inspiring Australian companies, is a testament to the diverse and talented people in our Ohana,” says Innes.

Think beyond traditional

 Salesforce is a good example of an organisation that thinks beyond traditional means. They aim to “live and breathe” their four core values of “trust, customer success, innovation, and equality”.

One way they’re doing things differently is through their 1-1-1 philanthropic model, in which they dedicate one per cent of their products, people and resources to not-for-profits. Each employee is encouraged to spend 56 hours per financial year giving back to the community.

For the top 100 employees that complete those hours, Salesforce will donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice. By setting aside time for your employees to volunteer to a service of their choice, you’re giving them a higher purpose and instilling a community-minded approach in the rest of your workforce.

The company is forward thinking in other respects too, offering their workers access to their Adoption and Fertility Program – which includes parental leave, adoption and fertility support,  and baby bonus policies – as well as spending $8.7 million in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

“Salesforce is committed to providing our employees with the best possible care plans when it comes to planning, building, and raising families. We understand that everyone is different, so we’ve provided our employees with flexible programs that support equality for every family across APAC,” says Innes.

Salesforce proves that you can’t create a good culture overnight. If you’re serious about wanting to make a change, you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is.

Top 10 organisations (with over 1,000 employees)

The best places to work - over 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with between 100-999 employees)

Best places to work - under 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with under 100 employees)

 Best places to work - Under-100 staff

What makes your workplace a great place to work? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

What career is right for me?

What Career Is Right for Me?

I was driving behind a bus the other day when I noticed a billboard which said, “Enjoy yourself…it’s important for your mental health”.

It sounds so obvious, right? Intuitively, we know we have to enjoy our lives. But how many of us battle through careers that don’t bring us any enjoyment? What is the point of dying with a million dollars in the bank if you suffered through every cent you earned? What is the point of doing that career that is expected of you just to end up disillusioned, unhappy and bitter towards the people you blame for making you do it?

The right career for you is the career that aligns with your values, strengths and purpose. A career aligned with your true self will always give you the greatest satisfaction.

What Is Purpose?
In my blog How to Find a Career You Love I talk about the five elements that contribute to human flourishing. Top of this list is purpose.

Purpose is finding a meaning in what you do, having a reason to pursue your goals, make an impact and pushing your own limits. Having a sense of purpose is like having an engine that allows you to get up every day to keep working, feeling comfortable with yourself and what you do.

Author and Senior lecturer in psychology, Steve Taylor, says finding purpose is key to feeling connected in your career.

“When you’re ‘in purpose’ – that is, engaged with and working towards your purpose- life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful,” said Dr Taylor.

What If I Don’t Know What Career Is Right for Me?
You probably know if your career is not right for you – your day to day tasks don’t bring you any joy, Monday mornings bring about feelings of dread, and worse, you live with prolonged stress or anxiety about your work. You know because you are “that” person who is always negative about your job or employer, you find yourself “whinging” all the time and your colleagues just roll their eyes when you go on your tearful rants.

In the best-case scenario, you justify you’re your distress because your salary is competitive maybe even excessive, so you say to yourself “I will grin and bear it”. Effectively you are destroying your soul if what you do does not reflect who you are, the emotional cost you pay is too high irrespective of the money you earn.

Recently, I spoke with a friend who is a lawyer earning fabulous money but by her own admission “the job isn’t doing it for me”. In other words, she is not working to her own purpose. After months of angst, soul searching and questioning “what is wrong with me?” she decided to leave law for a new, different role and in our most recent chat she said, with a massive smile, “the new job feels right”.

Many people ignore those unpleasant feelings and collect their pay cheque to pay the mortgage. But what you need to recognise is those feelings are red flags, it always means you’re in the wrong place or doing the wrong role.

How do I Pick the Right Career?
In my experience working with job seekers and career changers, many people feel lost and apprehensive when it comes to making career choices.

There a lot of factors that influence your choices: what you want, expectations of your family and friends, your cultural upbringing and even economic trends. Weighing up all these considerations can be stressful. Indeed, it may feel easier to live up to other people’s expectations than put in the mental energy to work out your purpose.

The reality is, making this major decision is a journey of self-discovery and the process can be just as interesting as the end result. It has to do with learning who you are, what you are good at, what makes you feel connected to your work and yourself and what brings you joy and satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate entering the workforce for the first time, or someone looking to make a career change, these three steps will help you discover the right career for you.

1. Reflect on yourself

When was the last time you paused for a moment and thought about your true self? If you’ve been pushing away your true feelings and just getting on with the job, chances are you’ve lost sight of who you really are. Here is an easy exercise you can do on your own that help you work out your true self

• What is important to you?
• What are your strengths?
• What kind of tasks do you enjoy and which ones do you really dislike?
• What kind of work environment do you prefer?
If you find it hard to paint an accurate picture of yourself, ask people who know you for their perceptions. If you’ve experienced other jobs think about what factors made those jobs enjoyable.

This first step will give you a good foundation to assess your preferences and career options.

2. For an Objective View use Personality Profiling

Life is hectic. When it comes to big decisions, such as career choices, many of us tend to rely on other people’s opinions. When there are kids to feed and jobs to do, the exercise of looking at yourself in the mirror ends up down the list of priorities. Often, you end up making the decision based on a projection of yourself that has been drawn by your friends and family.

Their vision of a suitable career for you is not to be disregarded. It’s actually a key part in acknowledging who you are. However, it is subjective and often based on opinion, rather than fact. This is where career-oriented personality tests can be useful.

Personality tests can bring to light strengths you, your family and friends have overlooked. For example, you may be very good an organising but you don’t consider this a career skill. Or you may be very creative at home but you work in a job that doesn’t allow you to use your flair. Every part of your character is significant and can help you find the right career.

A good assessment tool should not only help you to discover what are you good at but also show you what you can actually do with those skills and personality characteristics.

There are many tools out there but as a professional career coach, my preference is the Career Navigation Report produced by the Harrison Assessment Talent System, which I use with my clients. This personalised and interactive assessment tool provides predictive insight into career enjoyment and career success by assessing 175 relevant factors and then compares the results with 650 careers.

It’s more than a test. It allows you to play and interact with the results and provides you with career options that best suit you, encouraging you to open your mind to new opportunities. The Career Navigation Report is remarkably accurate in matching you to your dream job.

3. Draft a Plan to Achieve your Desired Career
Now that you have taken a career focused personality test, what’s next?

It’s important to plan the course of action you need to take in order to achieve your ideal career. Brain storming ideas, searching for opportunities and allocating a timeframe for each stage are all important parts of the process.

A professional career coach will offer support by helping you to understand and interpret your test results and to explore and discuss your options. More importantly, a coach can help you to transform your test results into a structured plan that helps you to step into your ideal career path.

The purpose of my career is to inspire and coach you to achieve your career goals, so that you can lead a rewarding and satisfying work life. Among my services, I structure personalised one on one programs and together, we craft the career that fits you. A career conversation will be helpful to you if you are looking to have more clarity about your next move.

I invite you to click on the BOOK NOW button below to schedule your free, 45-minute Career Strategy Conversation.

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For more information about how to find the right career for you:

Visit:
• FutureU Coaching Harrison Career Guide

Watch:

• How to Know When You’ve Found Your Purpose in Life
• Oprah Explains the Difference Between a Career and a Calling
• Consider a change in career
Read:

• Aussie careers no longer a fixed path as life long learning provides opportunities for change
• Interview with 5 inspirational career changers
• Career transitions are possible at any age

 

Nervous about finding a new job?

Nervous About Finding a New Job? Here are 3 ways to build your confidence

Do you feel nervous about finding a new job? You’re not alone.

According to a survey by Hired of 2,500 workers across Australia, the UK and USA, 8 out of 10 working adults said finding a new job is stressful (more stressful than visiting the dentist!).

Stress caused by job hunting is often caused by the unknowns:

  • Not knowing if the new job will be a better fit.
  • The uncertainty of knowing if you’ll get the job.
  • Wondering how you will perform during the recruitment process.
  • Preparing for rejection.

All of these unknowns can arise from fear, and in particular, a fear of change.

The Hired survey also revealed that 44 percent of people day dream about leaving their job on a monthly basis but only 14 percent actively look for a new job.

So why do people day dream about finding happiness in their career but then do nothing about it?

Sabotage by The Inner Critic

Each person has their own inner-critic and for some, their critical voice speaks so loudly it holds them back from pursuing their goals.

In my blog “Tame Your Inner Critic”, I examine the nine different saboteurs who hold us back from finding happiness in our careers and lives.

Two of these saboteurs are:

  • The avoider – why bother looking for a new job? I won’t find something I love anyway.
  • The hyper-achiever – I can’t risk failure how will I look to others?

I had one client who, despite being unhappy in her role, was scared to look for a new job because her inner critic told her “I will disappoint them” and “I’m not good enough to find another job”.

Listening too closely to your inner-critic will keep you hostage in a job you don’t enjoy and can diminish your self-belief that you can do better.

(Re) Gaining Self Confidence

Sometimes looking for a new job is a choice. Other times, it’s not. You may have taken time off work due to illness, parental leave or perhaps you were made redundant.  It doesn’t matter the reason why, it can be a big blow to your self-confidence and leave you questioning your self-worth a competitive job market.  You might also be worried about how you to explain your absence to a potential employer. In this frame of mind, it can be difficult to find the confidence and motivation you need to search for a new job.

I remember when I quit my job and then took months to decide on what to do next.  I knew what I didn’t want to do BUT did not know what I wanted to do.  This period made me question my self-worth and my identity, which I had tied to my job. It really knocked my self-confidence.  Now, each time I meet with a client who has been out of work, I recall that feeling. No-one is immune, not even the career coach. It’s not the knock downs in the career that define you – the important thing is how you recover. And beating yourself up if you’re already feeling flat won’t help you shift gear into job-search mode.

Here are three things that I did to rebuild my confidence and shift my mindset. These three steps helped me start my own business as a career coach.

1.      Challenge the Critic

The antidote to the inner-critic is the sage – our true nature, the one we knew as a child, who believes we are capable, creative and wants us to thrive. The key is knowing how to tune out from the critic and connect with your sage.

The sage knows that every outcome or circumstance can be turned into opportunity, even those you might consider failures.

I know it can be difficult but when I challenge my inner-critic (which is often), I ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?”. When I look at the situation logically, the worst outcomes are more imaginary than real. It is better for me to try and fail than do nothing. At least I can be satisfied I gave myself a shot.

Another way I tackle my inner critic is to write a list of my fears. I then rate each one out of five. Next, I ask myself: “Are any of the outcomes life-threatening?” “If one of these outcomes eventuates, could I bounce back?”

It can be easy to personalise rejection, especially if your self-confidence is low. But nobody wins every time. If you get a knock back, try not to catastrophise it.  There is always, the next opportunity which might actually be a better opportunity for you.

2.      Cultivate a Growth Mindset

In my blog What Mindset Are You? I talk about how to cultivate a growth mindset. A growth mindset is a way of approaching your career (and your life) that recognises you are constantly learning and growing your mind and capabilities.

Psychologist and researcher, Carol Dweck, recommends if you don’t succeed at first, rather than label yourself a failure, think “I’m not there yet but I’m learning”.

“If you get a fail, you’re nowhere, but if you get a ‘not yet’ you’re on a learning curve – it gives you a path into the future,” said Ms Dweck.

A growth mindset is cultivated by looking at everything you do as part of a broader, longer life learning journey rather rating yourself as a “success” or “failure” every time you participate in life’s activities.

3.      Ask for Help

If you feel stuck in a rut, it’s a good idea to talk to others you trust about your feelings.

In her TED Talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, psychologist Kelly McGonigal says seeking help from others helps relieve your stress.

“Oxytocin is the body’s natural stress defence.  One of oxytocin’s main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. The physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. I find this amazing that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection,” said Ms. McGonigal.

If you can’t talk to family and friends about your situation, consider talking to a professional. An independent career coach can talk to you about finding a career to suit your strengths and personality, give you practical advice on your resume and interview techniques but most importantly, provide emotional support to bolster your resilience.

If you’re feeling nervous about finding a new job, talk to me about the challenges you face and let me help you find a satisfying career.

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For more advice on how to beat the job-hunt jitters:

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If your work is causing you stress and anxiety that is impacting on your immediate well-being, then we encourage you to ring the Beyondblue Support Services on 1300 22 4636.

 

Tame Your Inner Critic & Conquer Your Career

Tame Your Inner Critic & Conquer Your Career

Is your inner critic holding you hostage in a career you don’t love? All of us have an inner voice of self-doubt that whispers or shouts us down. But that doesn’t mean you have to allow your inner critic to control your life.  You can tame your inner critic, put it back in its box and conquer your career and life!

What is an Inner Critic?

According to psychologist, Dr Margalis Fjelstad, your inner critic is a voice of self-doubt that forms during your early childhood. Fjelstad believes the inner critic is the voice of your parents. Parents who speak to their children with loving kindness cultivate a positive inner voice but parents who are overly critical can create a negative inner voice. A child feels when a parent is happy, angry, encouraging or critical and embeds this information as they figure out ‘who am I?”.

But Stanford University Professor, Shirzad Chamine, says even children who have a perfectly happy childhood develop up to nine inner critical voices, which he calls ‘saboteurs’.  His research suggests everyone has their master judge saboteur and at least one additional saboteur.

The 9 Saboteurs

Tame Your Inner Critic and Conquer Your Career

Source: Know Your Inner Saboteurs – Professor Shirzad Chamine

These saboteurs develop as coping mechanisms. For example, if you grow up in a chaotic environment you can develop a controlling voice to help you feel secure.

“They become the invisible saboteurs in your head who pretend they’re you but they’re not really you and that’s how you forget who you really are,” said Professor Chamine.

The same voice that judges you, judges’ others too.

In adulthood, the inner critic exerts a lot of energy trying to remember the things we shouldn’t do and leaves us feeling inferior and less deserving of happiness.

But there is a counter agent to the saboteur. This is the positive inner voice Professor Chamine calls the Sage. It is our true nature, the one we knew as a child, who believes we are capable, creative and wants us to thrive. The challenge is how do you silence the critic, so you can hear the sage?

Tame Your Inner Critic and Conquer Your Career

Source: Source: Know Your Inner Saboteurs – Professor Shirzad Chamine

How Do I Conquer My Inner Critic?

In her TED Talk Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk, artist Danielle Krysa tells a story of how she developed her inner critic.

As a child, she loved to paint. When she left school, she enrolled at art school and was asked by her professor to submit an artwork for critique. This was a big opportunity for Danielle get valuable feedback from experts so worked hard and submitted her best work.

For the next 45 minutes, Danielle’s classmates and Professor gave their unfiltered opinions and tore her artwork to shreds. At the end, her professor said, ‘you should never paint again’.

Danielle listened and for 15 years did not pick up a paint brush. Instead of pursuing her love of painting she went into advertising as a graphic designer, then artistic director.

Many years later, she questioned what happened to her love of painting? This sparked an idea to research and write a book about the role of the inner critic. As part of her research, she reached out to another artist and asked how she handled criticism.

“No one can wrestle the pencil out of your hand. You get to keep going in absolute defiance,” said the artist.

When Danielle heard this, she cried.

“More than 15 years after that experience in university, I realised it wasn’t my professor that stopped me. I did it. It was my responsibility to pick up my paint brush and do it the next day and the day after that. That was the day I decided my inner critic was no longer in charge,” said Danielle.

There are three steps you can take to conquer your inner critic.

1.      Know Thy Enemy

In order to conquer your inner critic, you must identify it.

Pay attention to the voice that pops up when you face a daunting challenge. What is your inner critic trying to tell you? Which of the nine saboteurs is holding you in a fixed mindset, believing that you’re doomed to fail?

Be aware there is often an obvious loud inner critic (your judge) also quiet whispers (the nine saboteurs) that are harder to hear who undermine your confidence.

2.      Talk to Your Enemy

Recognise that you have a choice. You can listen and accept what your inner critic tells you or you can challenge it.

“You weaken your saboteurs by exposing and labelling them,” Professor Chamine.

One exercise you can do is to write down your self-criticism and instead of “I” statements, re-write them as “you” statements. So, instead of writing “I won’t get that job, I’m good enough,” write ‘You won’t get that job, you’re not good enough.” Would you ever say such a thing to others? Probably not.

Use this exercise to re-assess whether these statements are true. Then speak back to your inner critic in a growth mindset (you can do this in a diary or somewhere private, it doesn’t mean muttering to yourself on public transport!).

Danielle Krysa suggests giving your inner critic a name, something cute and non-threatening to help you make peace with it.

“Hello Frank, is that you calling me a failure again? It is possible I may fail but actually, lots of very successful people have failed and learned from the experience. I’m going to try my best and learn from the experience.”

Use this exercise to cultivate a kinder, more compassionate attitude towards yourself, as you would treat others.

3.      Listen to Your Sage

Even successful people have an inner critic, but the trick is to know when to listen to it and when to tune out.

Every outcome or circumstance can be turned into opportunity, even those you might consider failures. In my blog What Mindset Are You? I talk about how to cultivate a growth mindset. That is, when you don’t succeed at first, rather than label yourself a failure, think “I’m not there yet but I’m learning”.

To silence their inner critic, I encourage my clients to be present in the moment because the inner critic is focused on future consequences. Often those consequences aren’t my client’s fault. For example, they might nail a job interview, but the panel decides that the other candidate is a better fit. They can’t control the outcome, so it doesn’t make sense for them to criticise their own best effort.

Another way to turn down the volume on your inner critic is to practice mindfulness. Professor Chamine says just 10 seconds of mindfulness several times a day can dramatically increase your potential to listen to and respond to your sage. It might be feeling your loved-one’s heartbeat as you give them a hug or feeling the sun on your back as you walk. Tuning into the small details strengthens your brain so you can hear your authentic voice.

You can also practice mindfulness by taking time to acknowledge your good work.  One of my clients tends to pass over success so quickly she doesn’t experience the joy of it.  I am constantly reminding her acknowledge her achievement and breathe in that feeling for a moment. This helps counter the inner voice because it is challenged by a success story.

Try to feel compassion for yourself and others. Know that you would never speak to others the way you speak to yourself and ask yourself why you’re being judgmental. Recognise your value is not determined by your career success or failures – you’re worthy just for being you. This will keep you energised and positive.

Don’t be held hostage by your inner critic. Take on the challenge. Be willing to learn from mistakes and listen to your sage who knows your worth and potential.

Are you ready to tame your inner critic and conquer your career? Book a career breakthrough conversation with me today.

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What mindset are you?

What Mindset Are You?

Your mental game, or mindset, plays a critical role in whether you will just survive or thrive in your career. Everyone experiences tough challenges but do you see these challenges as a learning opportunity or a failure? That is, do you have a fixed or a growth mindset? What mindset are you?

What is a Growth Mindset?

Stanford University academic, Dr Carol Dweck, conducted an experiment with 10 year-old children to see how they cope with challenge and difficulty. She gave them a set of maths problems that were too hard and asked the students to solve them.

Some students responded to the situation like they would a catastrophe. They complained the tests were too difficult for their skill level and they felt their intelligence was being judged. These kids failed the tests. When asked what they would do next time, they responded with things like “cheat”, “find someone who did worse” (so they could feel better about themselves) or “run away”. These kids had a fixed mindset.

But other kids responded with comments like “oh good, I like a challenge” and “there are going to be lots of good learning opportunities today.” These kids had a growth mindset and not surprisingly, performed better in the tests.

What is your mindset?

In her TED Talk The Power of Believing You Can Improve Dweck also refers to a high school in Chicago that took a different approach to grading exams. If students didn’t pass their tests, they were awarded the grade “not yet” rather than “fail”.

“If you get a fail, you’re nowhere, but if you get a ‘not yet’ you’re on a learning curve – it gives you a path into the future,” said Ms Dweck.

So, a growth mindset is a way of approaching your career (and your life) that recognises you are constantly learning and growing your mind and capabilities.

How does a Growth Mindset Help My Career?

Many people I speak with are their own worst critics. In a 45-minute career consultation they can tell me every wrong decision they’ve made in their career and how it’s left them feeling unhappy.

They talk to me about the time they “should / shouldn’t have done” or “could / would have done” BUT “they didn’t”.  They see these decisions as personal failings.  One client said to me “if only I didn’t waste my time with that degree, then I wouldn’t be in this job”.  Another client often says to me, “you know if I hadn’t listened to my friends then I wouldn’t have applied for this job and I would still be happy rather than being here with you.”  Thoughts and feelings of failure occupy their minds, often consuming time and energy that could be focused on moving forwards, not dwelling in the past.

It’s easy to assign yourself a ‘fail’ grade for your career and resign yourself to staying in a job that makes you unhappy. But what if rather than ‘fail’, you told yourself “I’m not there yet but I’m on a learning curve” OR you said to yourself “OK this has worked what can I learn from this experience and what can I do to change it?”

This simple re-phrasing can open a world of possibilities.

Imagine you face a big challenge at work:

  • You are knocked back for a promotion.
  • Your contract is not renewed.
  • You have a tetchy relationship with your boss.
  • You are made redundant.

It would be perfectly normal to feel down about any one of these challenges.

But rather than label yourself a failure, imagine if your reaction was “there are going to be lots of good learning opportunities in this” or “oh good I was hoping this would be a challenge.” Or “OK know I have learnt what not to do”.

On one level, it sounds insincere and foolishly optimistic to react in this way. The point is not to trivialise your feelings but re-frame your thinking so you see a way forward when life throws you curveballs.

See Your Potential

This small shift in your thinking can make a seismic difference to your career.  Each of us is born with inherent strengths and limitations but our capacity to grow and learn is not pre-defined at birth.

In another study, researchers looked at the brains of children with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. The children with a fixed mindset registered almost no electrical activity in their brains whereas the brains of children with a growth mindset were on fire.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset can have similar benefits in adults. If you engage your brain with a challenge and think your way through it, you develop new neural pathways. Your brain literally grows as it learns. If you run away from a challenge, you don’t benefit from the challenge. Your mental capacity is not fixed. With stimulation, your brain and its capacity to solve problems continuously grows.

When 16-year-old Jessica Watson said she wanted to sail around the world solo, she was told she would never make it and her parents were criticised for being irresponsible about her safety.  Her critics could only see how and where she could fail, whereas those with a growth mindset like her and her parents could see the opportunities for success.

Jessica said in an interview “I didn’t have a lot going for me but I did what I had to do to get there. It makes you think what else are people capable of?” she demonstrated her growth mindset.

On her first trial expedition, Jessica crashed her yacht into a ship, which broke the mast on her yacht. The naysayers delighted in saying “I told you so” but Watson was determined to achieve her dream.

“I don’t think a lot of people make the connection between a big goal and lots of realistic achievable steps along the way. There were so many positives that came out of hitting that ship (although I didn’t think it at the time). It made me more confident that I could handle the situation if everything fell apart at sea,” said Ms Watson.

By accepting challenges and thinking “I’m not there yet but I can learn” you develop your capacity to solve work and life challenges.

Your Career is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

A career is a long run that requires endurance – both mental and physical. A professional athlete trains so they are ‘match ready’ but it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer setbacks like injury or being side-lined for another player.

Most Australians will spend 40 – 50 years of their life working either full-time or part-time, stopping for breaks (either forced or by choice) along the way. And nearly everyone experiences moments when they feel like they’re ‘on the bench’ rather than ‘in the game’.

Having a growth mindset can help with endurance to last the distance and not give up when you’re on the bench.

Find the Right Support Crew

As a good friend of mine once said, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Getting through challenges in your career is difficult so having the right support crew is critical.

Jessica Watson said there was no way she could have sailed around the world solo without a dedicated team of people who shared her vision. Her team, from boat builders to cheerleaders, all helped her achieve what the media and critics said was impossible.

“It was a matter of finding people along the way who were going to help me and I found some pretty awesome ones. I was always going to need people to support me and I could never have done it without them” said Jessica Watson.

The same goes for your career. Along your 40-50 year career journey, you need to find the right people who share your vision of who you are and what you can achieve – enablers to help you achieve your goals. Just as top performing athletes need a coach to achieve peak performance, so do professionals. I get a lot of satisfaction helping professionals develop a growth mindset and achieve success in their careers. Why not talk to me about your career, the challenges you face and let me help you be successful?

Click below to organise your free 45-minute career growth conversation

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For more information about how to cultivate a growth mindset:

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  • The Power of Believing You Can Improve
  • Jessica Watson (OAM): The World’s Youngest Solo Sailor

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  • How Your Brain Reacts To Mistakes Depends On Your Mindset
Finding the right career path

Know Your Strengths and Find Your Perfect Career

Are you unhappy in your career? Thinking that “this is not what I signed up for”? Or feeling that you don’t fit with your job and that this is not what you were put on this earth to do?.

If this is the case, then it is time to think about what you are good at, what skills you prefer to use to and what your true passions and interest are because somewhere in there is where your perfect career lies.

One of my favourite podcasts is the ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler and Sarah Konowski because it’s full of interesting insights on how people think.

Recently, Sarah interviewed Osamah Sami, author of Good Muslim Boy. As the son of Iraqi immigrants to Australia, Osamah believed there were two career paths open to him:

  1. Doctor
  2. Taxi driver

His father was a prominent Imam in Melbourne and his family expected him to become a doctor to maintain the family’s good standing in the community. When Osamah failed to get the Year 12 grades to entry into a medical degree, he used photoshop to fudge the results on his certificate so he could bluff his family he had ‘achieved his KPIs’. He even spent a whole year sitting in on lectures at the University of Melbourne’s medical school. Finally, his ruse was exposed and he had to confess to his family he had lied in an attempt to be the good Muslim boy they wanted him to be.

Osamah’s story is more dramatic than most but it did make me wonder how many people choose career paths to please others instead of being true to themselves?

Be True to Yourself

As a kid at school, Osamah was interested in acting and he was always putting on plays to entertain his family and friends. His strength was storytelling and entertaining the crowd. But he put his artistic flair aside and studied physics and chemistry, which he didn’t enjoy and wasn’t good at. It’s not hard to understand why he started to skip school.

In her TED talk, Grit – the power of passion and perseverance, researcher and psychologist, Angela-Lee Duckworth, says there are two factors that determine how successful a person will be:

  • Passion – having a love for what you do.
  • Perseverance – the ability to stick at it.

Together, these two qualities produce grit, which bears more influence on success than intelligence, education or socio-economic advantage.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Angela-Lee Duckworth.

If you are not passionate about what you do, you will not want to stick at it, and that makes it hard to be successful.

Osamah Sami is now an actor and author but his career path was a winding journey that took grit. But his story shows that you can take many detours on your career path towards the journey of finding the career that best fits you.

What If I Don’t Know What I’m Good At?

If you’ve been stuck in a job you don’t like for a long time, it can be easy to lose your self-identity and self-confidence, leaving you feeling disheartened and believing that a happy and successful career is impossible.

A client of mine once said “maybe being happy in my career is not meant to be for me”, which is the saddest thing I’d ever heard.

The good news is there are tools to help you identify your strengths and what jobs suit your personality. For example, I use a tool with my clients called Harrison Career Guide which allows us together to objectively assess their strengths and it also suggests career paths that aligns personality, skills and the things they like doing.

The advantage of using a tool like Harrison Career Guide is it can open your mind to alternative career paths.  Careers that you had not thought of previously.   It can be easy to define yourself by your job title but that way of thinking is closed-minded and doesn’t consider your potential for growth or the transferability of your skills. For example, you may be an accountant and one of your strengths is attention to detail. Attention to detail is a very necessary skill for an auditor but it is also useful for a process manager, an editor, event manager or professional organiser who helps people get their lives and homes in order.  Same strengths, same skills but many different outcomes.

Know Your Strengths and Find Your Perfect Career

Another way to evaluate your strengths is ask three people in your personal and professional network to give you two or three keywords they think sums up what they think you are good at.

In my article How to Find a Career You Love I talk about the need to explore and understand your character as the first step to cultivating a flourishing life. What is fundamental to your nature? As a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards, before you bore the responsibility of paying bills?

Use this research to remember who you are and what you love doing. Knowing your strengths can open up a world of career opportunities.

Finding the Right Career Path

Once you have a good understanding of your strengths, you are then in a good position to evaluate alternative career paths. You can start by making a list of jobs you think you would be suited to, then do your research and find out the entry points, salaries, locations and all the details you will need to make a decision.

Alternatively, it can be useful to seek independent professional advice on how to transition out of your current role into a new career. Changing jobs, let alone embarking on an entirely new career, is one of life’s big stressors so having someone on your side to talk to through the transition can make it easier.

Take the First Step

If you are thinking about changing careers, I offer a Career Switch program, which includes an assessment of your strengths and an appraisal on what roles might be suitable for you. This program is backed by my money-back guarantee.   If you don’t feel I’ve kept my promise of providing you with knowledge, tools or strategies to accelerate your career, then I will give you your money back.

It all starts with a free 45 minute career breakthrough conversation.  I invite you to book yours today and take the first step to becoming your future you.

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