In today’s ever-evolving work world, career evolution is constant. How do you discover work that is life-giving and creates the impact you desire? How do you forge the change you want to create? What can you do at a personal level to evolve your career effectively?
Fanny Dunagan, Co-Founder PathLynks, knows from personal experience how to evolve a career. Over the last several years, she has gone from corporate career to stay-at-home mom to entrepreneur. She learned to lean into the discomfort of change and discover the work she loves.
What started as a volunteer opportunity to coordinate job training, turned into a business connecting job seekers with job opportunities.
Today, Fanny’s work continues to evolve. She is now focused on video marketing and content creation for small and medium-size businesses and experienced professionals.
I interviewed Fanny on LIFT Speaks to learn how she navigated her career into work that she loves, and she shared her three tips to get unstuck and find the job you desire.
Don’t do anything drastic. Pick something of interest to you, volunteer and give back to the community.
If you enjoy teaching and training, volunteer to be a tutor, or if you are into nature, serve with an environmental organization or at your local park. Pick something of interest to you and volunteer. If your time is too limited to volunteer, find a networking group in your area of interest.” ~ Fanny Dunagan, PathLynks
Volunteering while keeping your current job alleviates job change pressures while developing new areas of interest and creating next steps in your career. If you choose to network, find a networking group that reflects your industry, your field of expertise or your passions.
Build a Robust Network – Brush shoulders with professionals who are doing work that you find interesting and engaging. Utilize these connections to enhance your knowledge and skills. Building up a network of professionals around your area of interest can open doors to your future work.
Fanny personally discovered the importance of networking. “I’m a bit of a geek. I started going to this IT networking group called “Geek Meet”. It’s with other IT professionals and people that are enthusiastic about technology. From there, I met all kinds of great contacts, learned new things and as a result, one of the organizers asked me to co-host with him. You never know where opportunities will take you.
If you have limited time, commit to network a few hours a month in your area interest. This can open a world you didn’t even know existed and create contacts you wouldn’t typically meet in your regular day-to-day life.”
With networking, if one group doesn’t fit, try another one. It’s an easy way to try out different areas of interest with little downside if it’s not a match.
James Marshall Reilly author of, Shake the World: It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life, wrote an article in Business Insider on 8 Things You Can Do to Evolve Your Career.
Reilly encourages people to cultivate real, offline relationships away from their desktop. His fifth tip states, “Step away and engage your community of peers and connections that exist in real life. LinkedIn and Facebook are valuable tools, but often people are more inclined to work with and help those they’ve connected with in real life.” Reilly, James Marshall, 8 Things You Can Do to Evolve Your Career, Business Insider
Discover new passions and revive old interests.
Watch where you find your energy and creativity flowing. Do you look forward to the next opportunity to network, connect and work in this area of interest? And, just as important, have you discovered that you don’t like this work as much as you originally thought?
As you step into new volunteer opportunities and networking events, see where your interests take you. Be self-aware and ask yourself, “Do I really enjoy this or do I not? Did that bring me joy?” ~ Fanny Dunagan, Co-Founder PathLynks
Fanny’s experience of creating job fairs and helping people in career transition came from her experience of volunteering. Her work to produce informative online videos with experts in the career field led to her newest transition of video marketing and content creation for businesses and professionals.
Fanny had no idea her volunteer work would lead her down the path of starting her own business. She loves her work and has enjoyed and grown from each step in the process.
Nacie Carson, author of The Finch Effect, also finds honest evaluation profitable. “For me, the strategies that I’ve found valuable to get to the heart of these things is really being able to ask yourself the right questions and give yourself an unvarnished answer . . . The question of what’s next? is not the question that you ask the corporate structure that you’re trying to climb the ladder in; it’s a question you ask yourself. ~ Baer, Drake, How to Evolve Your Career, Fast Company
Take responsibility for your career change. Volunteer, network, develop new skills and evaluate:
- Is this opportunity in line with my strategy of what’s next? for me?
- Is this work life-giving and energizing?
- Do I believe in the value of the work?
- Is this work interesting and in my area of interests?
- Can I continue to grow and evolve in this career?
Be open to trying new paths even when you don’t know the destination.
I didn’t know I would end up creating my own company. In fact, entrepreneurship still gives me some fear. It’s also exciting. It’s good to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lean into those fears. Lean into those discomforts. That’s where growth is happening and new passions are coming along. ~ Fanny Dunagan, PathLynks
It’s easy to slip into a place where we feel dissatisfied, and yet, be unwilling or not know how to create change. At times, getting unstuck simply means you begin to move.
Sometimes, finding “work we love” is forced on us through job loss. Creating a process and defined steps to the outcome we desire is essential. At LIFT Office, we’ve had several members determine one of their essential steps was to find a space outside their home where they could work on forging the career change they desired and connect with other business professionals.
Recently on LIFT Speaks, George Lynch, CEO Traffick911, shared his 5 Tips Creating a Bigger, Better Life After Losing a Long-Tenured Career. Like Fanny, he created a process of learning and leaning into change.
George’s and Fanny’s advice is in harmony. Push beyond your boundaries. Step outside your comfort zone to get experience in new areas – even as a volunteer. Serve and say “yes” to new opportunities. Seek out assignments that are just outside your realm of experience. Be willing to get uncomfortable. Evolving your career is a gift you give yourself.
You know yourself. You know the general direction you want to go. Stay open to new possibilities. Take the first step in a new direction and begin the journey of creating your own path.
Are You Ready and Willing to Leave Your Comfort Zone?
Successful people often speak of the importance of discomfort or stepping outside your comfort zone. They claim that the only way to unlock the best version of yourself is to seek uncomfortable situations. The more discomfort you overcome, the more strength you add to your brain and heart. ~ Weitz, Jared, 3 Signs Your Job is Helping You Evolve, Forbes
And remember – embrace failure.
There is a powerful lesson in the core message of Fanny’s three tips. You don’t need to be the best or the strongest or the brightest – you just need to be able to try new things, adjust, grow, and evaluate along the way. That process will take you a long way to being successful and finding the work that you love.
Savor the journey. And, don’t forget to look back and celebrate how far you have come.
About LIFT Office
The LIFT Office is a coworking, executive suites, flex office, meeting space in the center of DFW in Grapevine, Texas just 3 miles from the DFW Airport. The LIFT Office is a dynamic community of influencers, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, consultants, and freelancers. Learn more at www.theLIFToffice.com