As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it.
A quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
My clients, new acquaintances as well as many of you, my dear readers of my blog, often ask how did I uncover my career path. Here is a snippet of my career journey along with some tips that I hope will help you find your career path.
I work as a private practitioner.
When I decided to embark on a journey as a solo career management professional, I knew that before I put in the extra hours to ensure that my practice takes off, I needed to refine my reasons for starting a business as a solopreneur.
An excerpt of my reasons to help you write your own includes the following:
A Bout of Intense Reflection
How do you commence your career journey?
Simply put, you need a detailed action plan that starts with reasons similar to the ones stated above.
Wait! Do NOT rush into creating the plan yet. This is the final step in the launch of your career journey.
You have to do some exploratory work to discover your reasons. This can be an engaging experience if you come with the right mindset. Think of it as a bout of intense reflection.
Now Step Back
I was not sure what my likes, interests and values were. It can be hard to define them if you have never thought about it.
Like me, after your intense reflection and contrary to what many specialists suggest; start with the activities you dislike and the skills you are certain you do not want to be using in your future career rather than with your likes and interests. This is very helpful and I suggest you use this unconventional method if you are uncertain about what you need to do to move forward; dissect what you hate to find out what you like.
Now That You Know Who You Are
Once you get to know YOU, you are ready to move forward to uncover your skills, abilities and strengths.
Next step is to combine everything you have learned about yourself and start exploring possible careers.
You are well acquainted with YOU, now it is time to figure what kind of work makes YOU happy.
One of my joys was seeing others succeed whether in school or later on in life. Call me silly, but I cry at graduations and other similar work celebrations. I think of all the focus, failures and hard work that led to these special moments that I am overwhelmed with mixed emotions.
Anyway, I realized that my work has to include seeing my clients succeed.
What invokes similar emotions for you? It could be a sales pitch, a competition or even crying at weddings.
No emotional experience is too silly to explore! This is what it takes to enable your future career vision.
Come On...Let's Get to Know YOU
Once you have collected all this data, you are ready to design your career action plan.
Creating the action plan is for another blog post.
For now, how about you get to know what does YOU really like to do?
Failure doesn’t kill you...it increases your desire to make something happen. A quote by famous actor Kevin Costner
Do you remember the first time you failed?
How did it feel to be a failure?
What did you do about it?
Failure is your motivator to stand up and try again.
Failure Is Positive
Do not shy from looking back on moments of failure as the positive catalysts that will carry you to success. You can learn a lot about yourself from reflecting on failed attempts.
Think about what drove you to take that first step to come out of your comfort zone. Do not spend time reflecting on the fact you failed. It is not easy, so you have to be gentle.
Allow yourself to go through what I like to call the four stages of OOPS!
Imagine this...You participated in the swimming (or any activity of your choice) competition even though you did not think you were ready. You were the last swimmer to complete the race. Everyone had left the pool area by the time you got out of the pool.
Ouch! That hurt. You are crying inside. Leaving the pool area was not a happy experience to say the least.
Ow! Now you are in the second stage. You have to admit that this experience hurts. You still cannot believe this happened. It is embarrassing and sickening to think about.
Pfft! Time to move on. Take a deep breath. You are hesitant, but you start to think that perhaps it was a good idea to try it out. You got out of your comfort zone. Hey, at least now you know where you rank. But wow that felt bad...no wait, that was awful! This is the time to say, “whatever” and it does not matter. At least no one was at the pool snickering as you passed.
Sheesh! You have made it to the final stage. Declare to yourself and to others, when you are ready, that going through that experience was not a big deal. In fact, you are excited to try it again. Perhaps not so soon. You realize that you need to seriously practice for a month or two. You could also decide that while you enjoy swimming, you do not enjoy swimming competitions. Alternatively, you could say you realized how much you hated swimming and now you are excited to try something new.
Failure Makes You Stronger
Remember...You have experienced failure and you are stronger because of it.
You now know you can fail again, easily pick up the pieces and move on. You are stronger than before. It is time to fail yet again. It is time for another OOPS! Or what could very well be your next win!
What are you training for?
What are you hoping to fail (or perhaps deep down, not fail)?
What is the thing want to make happen?
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose, a quote by Dr. Seuss
Summer is here and it is time to relax and have fun!
Yes, it is the time to rejuvenate and focus on the moment. As much fun as this sounds, summer can be the time to start reflecting on your career. Let us face it, you do not enjoy every activity your parents, siblings, cousins or even friends partake in. You have your interests, skills and talents and it is to time figure out your unique and personal values.
Summer provides the ideal months to start reflecting on what motivates you to get off the lounge chair.
What are your talents? Drawing, swimming, writing...
Which activities do you enjoy? Yes, lounging in the sun can be one of these activities.
Who are the people you admire?
What do they do for a living?
Spending time in short moments of reflection will help you start to envision a career path.
Use The Extra Daylight Hours Wisely
Summer enriches your life with extra daylight hours to suntan, build sandcastles or bike.
Does suntanning lead you to reflect on the hazards of the UV rays?
Do you find time flies when you are building a sandcastle?Where do your thoughts wonder when you are biking?
Do you get where I am going with this? Answers to similar questions in any activity you partake in will familiarize you with you.
Build Knowledge and Experiences
Summer can also be the best time to get a part time job or to volunteer.
Working at a fast food restaurant or in retail will not only bring you extra spending money but will also give you the opportunity to explore your likes and dislikes.
Volunteering for non-profit organizations will not only make you feel good about yourself, but will also allow you hands-on experiences to figure out your talents.
Yes, sorry, I am hoping you will get off the lounge chair for a bit.
Choose A Direction
Summer needs to be the season you start steering yourself in the direction you choose. Before you know it, fall will be there. The courses you select, the activities you enjoy and the clubs you join will help you build on the likes, talents and skills you have determined for yourself. You may find you have a lot in common with your sister, your mother, or your friend’s father. Now is the time to reach out and learn about their work.
Think about it: Who do you need to talk to today? And why?
Summer is here! What are you doing to become acquainted with you?
Dr. Hoda Kilani is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). As a Career Literacy Coach, she works with clients in private practice, event facilitation, and conference presentations.
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