I encourage my clients to look for career options that use both their signature skills as well as ones they will enjoy. Money is important too – everyone likes to have physical and financial security, but for most it is not the best marker for career satisfaction. Nevertheless, as a current career segment draws to a close – voluntarily or not – individuals can get nervous about “what’s next” and begin to rationalize why taking on an assignment that is available in the moment, even if it lacks fulfillment, is the right move. Make a couple of those rationalized decision in a row and all of a sudden your career may be off the rails.
It is an axiom that what got you to where you are today may not get you to where you want to go. Regular self-assessment is one way to make sure you are working towards your career goals with the right skills. The process of self-assessment should be a reflective process. What can you learn about yourself from your recent history? Your not so recent history? Ask yourself some thoughtful questions and write down the answers.
Take time daily in small increments
Most people find “self” time is hard to find and when found doesn’t come in large blocks. Be creative and, if necessary, start out by taking snippets of time from other activities.
If you delay starting until you can find 4 hours per week to devote to your career remodel it will never happen. Instead, look at your schedule for tomorrow and find 15 minutes. As you begin this process you should focus on creating motion and progress and not be concerned with how fast results are realized. Once you get in the habit of saving time for investing in your career work you will be surprised how quickly the results will come!
Start with self assessment
Career change is not just about what’s next. Good career development is taking time to fully understand the product offered by you (Me, Inc.) in the marketplace; creating a future for the product in your mind’s eye and going about achieving that vision. You may be tempted by, and take, some detours along the way – and that’s ok. Keep your motivation close and refer to it often. For most, your ability to realistically document your vision and what you want to change will help fuel your motivation for the paths ahead. There may be many curves in those paths, but the journey is as rewarding as the destination!
Where to begin? Here are some suggested questions to begin your self assessment:
- What do I do well? What can I do better?
- What brings out my best? What blocks me from bringing out my best?
- What are my areas of concern that need further development?
- What the three key events in my career that were critical turning points? Why?
There are literally hundreds of good questions. Find the ones that are right for you.