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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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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Happy Worker

How to Find a Career You Love

Have you ever heard people say “I love my career” and wondered “what are they doing that I am not?”.  Do you long for a job that makes you spring out of bed on a Monday morning?

Over the course of your career, it’s likely you will work approximately 84,480 hours. You will spend more time at work than you will with your children and loved ones. That’s a lot of important time doing something you don’t love.  It is almost insane to spend that much time doing something that doesn’t feel right.

It is said it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That means over your career you have the capacity to be a master eight-times over. So much time, so many possibilities.

Why Don’t I Love My Career?

If you don’t love your career, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by Deloitte in 2017 showed that despite US companies spending more than $1 billion on employee engagement, only 13 percent of employees felt passionate about their job.

It can feel like a first-world problem to not like your job. After all you do have a job, right?  You can put food on the table and pay your bills so, shouldn’t you be grateful?

Everyone has their off-days but research conducted by Jonathan Dirlam and Hui Zeng from the University of Ohio shows job dissatisfaction in your 20s and 30s can have cumulative effects that impact your health in your 40s and beyond.

“The higher levels of mental health problems for those with low job satisfaction may be a precursor to future physical problems. Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older,” said Mr Zheng.

What It Means to be Happy

Do you ever wonder why people climb Mt Everest? It’s cold, wet and windy. Mountaineers risk frostbite or even worse, death. It’s hard work and most certainly, doesn’t make them happy.

For mountaineers, striving to reach the pinnacle despite the risks and discomfort spurs them on to plan their next ascent no sooner than they’ve reached base camp. It gives them purpose.  It drives everything they do, it becomes an extension of their identity that others connect with.

Human Flourishing

In his book Flourishing, psychologist Martin Seligman defines human happiness and well-being using the acronym PERMA:

  • Positive emotion (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects)
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Achievement

No one element defines well-being but each contributes to it.

Suffering is something all humans experience, and it is often beyond our control, so being happy all the time isn’t realistic. But flourishing is within your grasp.

So, how do you find a career that you love, so that you can flourish?

It can be broken down into three key steps.

1.      Explore and understand your character

Many people believe finding career happiness is defined by doing something you love like cooking, gardening or playing piano. However, the pressure to earn money doing something you love can sap the joy out of it.

You also have to be realistic. You may love playing golf but if don’t have the skill then no amount of trying and training will help you crack the pro circuit.

Beyond hobbies that you enjoy, consider what is fundamental to your nature.  Do you naturally gravitate towards people and enjoy asking them questions? Or are you a problem solver who likes to things apart and put them back together again?

Think back to when you were a child before you were burdened with the responsibility of earning money. What did you love to do, naturally? Ask family and friends how they define your character. Or work with an independent career coach who will give you unbiased feedback.

Understanding your fundamental nature can open up a world of career possibilities. For example, people who enjoy pulling things apart and putting them back together again suit a range of careers like being a surgeon, a mechanic or a sculptor.

2.      Where do you thrive?

Finding the best environment for your personality is a key component to finding a career you love. Yet the work environment is something many people over look.

Following on from the example above, if you love pulling things apart and putting them back together again but the smell of a hospital makes you choke, then a career in medicine is not going to make you happy. Likewise, if you enjoy writing but need solitude to do your best work, a loud workplace won’t nurture your creativity.

Another factor to consider is it may be your work environment that you don’t enjoy and not your career. For example, you may work in marketing in a government organisation that is bound by rules and moves at a slow pace. However, your personality might be better suited to a fast-paced advertising agency where decisions are made quickly and deadlines are paramount. Finding the right environment for you can save you chucking in a career you’ve spent years building.

3.      Define Success in Your Own Terms

There are more ways to define success than your salary and job title.

In many instances, definitions of success can be influenced by family. Well-intentioned parents who want their children to be comfortable in life set career and financial expectations before their children leave school. And the pressure to please Mum and Dad can carry on into middle-age.

So ask yourself “what do I mean by success?”. Listen closely and you’ll find you have a quiet inner voice that knows the answer. For some, it may be working part-time so they can enjoy spending time with their children while they are young. For others, it may be the flexibility to travel and explore the world.

Career advisor and TEDX presenter, Erica Sonsa, encourages people to be open to stories that provide different definitions of success.

“Your career is your chance to write your own story, so hold the pen and write the next chapter,” said Ms Sonsa.

To find a career you love, discover your true nature, work out where you fit and define success on your own terms.

If you are currently unhappy in your career, you lack clarity about what next or you want to explore other exciting options, then maybe a career conversation will be helpful to you.  I invite you to click on the BOOK NOW button below to schedule your free, 45-minute Career Strategy Conversation.

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Employment Skills Needed for Future Workforce

Right skills needed for the future workforce

This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with DeakinCo – by Simon Hann

Australians are constantly bombarded with stories of how the digital economy is changing the workplace and how employers are struggling to find people with the right skills needed for the future workforce. Federal and state governments talk incessantly about STEM learning and how we can ensure we’re creating a smart, innovative and globally competitive nation.

Yet while we are obviously undergoing vast technological change, what if the skills we really need to thrive in the future already exist in our workforces? A study undertaken last year by Deloitte Access Economics titled Soft skills for business success found while formal qualifications and technical skills are important, they’re only part of the requirements for modern employees.

The report commissioned by DeakinCo found “‘Soft skills’ and personal attributes are just as important to success. Indeed 10 of the 16 ‘crucial proficiencies in the 21st century’ identified by the World Economic Forum are non-technical.” In fact, the report found two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 will be soft skill intensive. Already we’re seeing soft skill intensive jobs grow at 2.5 times the rate of non-soft skill jobs.

So, what are some of these soft skills? Put simply, they’re the transferable skills everyone needs in the modern project-based, customer-centric and agile workplace. Skills such as the ability to communicate, to work in a team, problem-solve and have a high-level of digital literacy.

Most people tend to implicitly believe they have these attributes and more often than not they appear on a resume or someone endorses you for them on LinkedIn, but the problem up until recently has been how best to measure them. It hasn’t been an exact science.

With that in mind, DeakinCo have built a model around this emerging trend of micro-credentials. What we did was measure soft skills based on an individual’s capability to demonstrate a particular skill in action. From there, we created a framework in which to measure those skills by mapping those skills against global and industry skills frameworks in Australia as well as consulting with academic and industry experts.

The result is a framework outlining the criteria people need to demonstrate to show they have the necessary soft skills at advanced or master’s degree level, bachelor’s level or workforce entry level.

Once people meet all the criteria, we then issue a micro-credential through Deakin University in the form of a digital badge confirming an individual has a specific skill or capability. Importantly, the framework behind the micro-credential is robust in terms of measurement and in terms of measuring those soft skills.

These types of micro-credentials illustrate what the future of workplace learning might look like. Importantly for employers, it means not having to make wholesale changes to workforces as they can slowly introduce people to their new world of work by introducing incremental change.

For example, in the United States, telecommunications firm AT&T identified its business model was changing and needed to bring its people along for the ride. With over 280,000 employees, the company was not about to try and hire a whole new more technically adept workforce so it decided to completely re-educate it current employees. The initiative known as Workforce 2020 has seen AT&T make an unprecedented effort to re-educate its workforce.

According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, “tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in shareholder value, and the future of one of the most iconic brands in corporate history are at stake. If AT&T succeeds, it will provide a blueprint for how legacy technology companies can compete against younger, digitally native firms such as Google and Amazon.”

They’ve stepped back and looked at what’s needed in the future and offered their workforce an opportunity to skill-up for that future.

Closer to home we are seeing companies like Westpac and organisations such as the Australian Taxation Office do the same. They’re pushing their employees to be the CEOs of their own future and their employees are engaging more with their work as they increase their soft skills base.

It’s about ensuring people acquire the specific skills they need. For most people, it’s not very realistic to go back and completely retrain once life kicks in so what individuals can now do is become more granular with their education and access the skills training they need at a particular time.

The whole face of education is beginning to change. Historically we relied on our schools, universities and employers to tell us what we need. The shift we’re seeing is people are taking responsibility for the skills they need. It’s about lifelong learning – an alternative approach to education in a global customer-centric economy.

You may also be interested in our webinar on Good Health and Career Happiness

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5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network

5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network

Last week I was talking about networking with one of my coachees.  They were very worried because they felt they did not have a network.  They understood that a network was important, but they could not identify their network.  They were concerned that a lack of a network would hurt their career, hold them back from achieving their career goals. You know what, they are right. Following are our 5 Awesome Tips to Start Building Your Network:

The Australian Government revealed that “The research shows that 17 per cent of all jobs are advertised through word of mouth alone.” Searching for new opportunities on the internet is no longer the conventional way to develop one’s career. It is the connection between people that can be the start of a rewarding career.  These are the connections that will refer you, support you and boost your chances of finding that dream job.

Networking is building a professional relationship with someone that has more experience that can turn into a mentorship, professional friendship or a sponsor that will recommend you for a promotion. One of the factors that some people tend to forget in a networking relationship is both people need to benefit. Network relationships are collaborative partnerships.

Here is a classic example of the beauty of networking. A previous colleague of yours is searching for a managerial position and a new opening is available at your company. Share the news with him and if he is interested in applying, recommend him to the hiring manager. In the future, he will remember your act of kindness and will return the favor. I call it the art of networking.

Below are some tips that can help you build a strong network.

Create a Public Profile  

Personal branding is the key to success. I recommend using promotional tools such as business cards, a website or a LinkedIn profile. Be creative and post photos while at networking events or write a blog about trending news stories in your industry. The power of an online presence will establish you as an expert. As a result, people in your industry will naturally be drawn to you.

Go to Networking Events

I strongly recommend attending networking events at least once a month. It can be a scary experience for introverts, but it is essential for career development. You will be surprised to discover human resources recruiters attend to search for fresh talent. If you show up with friends, walk away from the group to start conversations on your own. It will help to build your confidence to attend upcoming events by yourself.

Be Authentic

People surround themselves with individuals that are confident and are true to their individuality. Colleagues can notice a new employee that pretends to be the opposite of their true character. If you are an introvert, be comfortable with being a team player and use interpersonal skills to impress the manager. An extrovert can exhibit leadership skills and effectively communicate with introverted team members. The experienced professionals at the organization appreciate working with new hires with a pleasing personality.

Networking does not necessarily mean you always need to agree with other people’s opinions. New employees can bring a fresh perspective to a company because of the experience at other organizations. You can present strategic ideas that were implemented at your last company to help a company succeed. For example, you can express your opinion in meetings on strategies to help the company improve customer service, products or employee engagement initiatives.

Track Your Networks Important Life Events

I recommend that you track important events for people in your network. Some of the things you should remember:

  • Birthday’s
  • Work anniversary
  • Recent achievements / accomplishments
  • If they start a new role, send greetings or well wishes

It is the small details in life that matter the most. Pay attention to the small details and it can result in a significant opportunity to improve your career. By the way, all of this information can be gleamed by monitoring your LinkedIn page as the system notifies you of these events.

Get Involved in Volunteering

Volunteering is a fabulous way to build a unique network.  However early on in your career you should focus on volunteering that relates to your career or career goals.  For example, most industries have a peak-bodies have committees you can join or consider joining a chamber of commerce as they also have committees looking for volunteer members.

This will boost your profile and your personal brand in your industry and it will connect you to people who have a common purpose therefore making it easier to build professional relationship.

Do you need career networking advice? Do you want to become an effective networker? Well look no further, click on the “Book Now” button and book your 45-minute obligation free Career Strategy Conversation.

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You may also be interesting in this networking blog:  Networking for Introverts

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