Develop Your Own Career Path
The days of getting a job and working it until retirement are a thing of the past.
Today's new workplace is complex and difficult to navigate. According to recent studies, the average American worker will change careers five to seven times.
Notice that I didn't say "jobs." The average person can find themselves changing jobs every 12 to 18 months.
Employers are also struggling with this new paradigm (model or typical pattern). You graduate from college and show up to your first professional job. You are excited about opportunities and ask your new boss, "What can I do to get promoted?" Most of them don't have a clue. They give you squishy answers like "work hard," "focus on doing a good job," "get a mentor," blah, blah, blah.
Those who choose the entrepreneurial pathway don't have it any easier. Running your own business is complex in this new global economy. Even if you have a great idea, it is often hard to figure out how to make yourself heard in a sea of businesses, some of which are spending millions of dollars on advertising.
I have found myself in the same conundrum (confusing and difficult problem). What I discovered is that NO ONE knows the answer to this question.
So how do you find your true career path and live the life of your dreams?
Well, I have walked this journey out myself. Here are a few strategies that I used to untangle the confusion around my career path:
Understand your own strengths. Don't rely on your employer, parents, or school advisors for advice. You need to have a clear understanding of your own Unique strengths and how you are specifically wired to succeed. This looks different for everyone. I call it "discovering Your Unique." One tool that can help you is an assessment called the Clifton StrengthsFinder. For a small investment, you can discover your strengths and receive a report that helps you figure out how to use those strengths at work or in your business.
Experiment by trying new things. Finding what you are good at AND what you actually enjoy doing is getting the BEST out of your life. Living at this intersection between work and love is fulfilling. But you will never know what you enjoy doing until you actually do it. For example, I tried running on a suggestion from a friend. I tried it and fell in love. If you had asked me before I tried it, I would have told you "No, that's not me." Well, I would have been wrong. Develop a habit of being adventurous and trying new things. Who knows what hidden talent you may discover?
Ask for feedback. This is one habit that can help you learn more about yourself very quickly. Most of us stumble through life hoping that we are doing well. Asking for feedback will give you concrete evidence that you can use to figure out what you are great at...and what you are not so good at. Very few people will volunteer to give you feedback without you asking for it. It goes without saying that you must be willing to listen to the good, bad, and ugly. Don't take it personally. Learn from what others see and craft a strategy that will help you do more of what makes you shine!
Learn more about your interests or people with your strengths. Most of us grow up seeing only one or two career possibilities. For example, if you were good at math or science, most people probably encouraged you to become an engineer. Well, there is a whole world beyond engineering that needs people who are good at math and science! Explore your interests to discover hidden career paths. Talk to people who share your strengths or interests. Ask more about what they do and who else they know that may have chosen a different career path. You may discover that your one or two options can turn into multiple pathways to success.
Hire a personal coach. One of the best things I ever did was hire a coach. In fact, I have had the pleasure of working with quite a few coaches over my career. Most successful people have multiple advisors and mentors to help them understand how to create the life of their dreams. And you should too. If you are employed, ask your boss about the possibility of having a mentor. Or you can hire a coach yourself. Coaches and mentors can help you tackle the challenges you are facing and find answers to specific questions. You will shortcut your pathway to the life of your dreams by years.
Don't waste another minute wandering and wondering about your next move. Put some of these strategies into action now.
Your best life is waiting for you.
And I am right here cheering for you!