We spend one-third (or more) of our days at work. Yet more than 70 percent of workers say they don’t feel satisfied with their career choices. Finding a career path that makes us feel satisfied and successful isn’t easy.
It takes work to find the right work, and many times it’s a process, not a one-stop shop.
“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ~ Seth Godin
I recently interviewed Lisa Harrington who is a coach with Vistage, an executive coaching company. She spent many years as a COO, CMO and CEO and really enjoyed her work. However, after years serving at the C-level, she decided to get back to her true calling which is strategic consulting and helping businesses to grow.
Lisa helps her clients understand the human equation and the impact on business. From her previous management positions, she observed both individuals and companies focusing too much on the business and not enough on the person, their personality and talents.
Have you struggled to find your sweet spot – the intersection of talent, personality and interests?
Part of her work as a strategic coach is to help individuals find their sweet spot at the intersection of talents and interests.
I asked Lisa if she would give some guidance on how to discover work that connects personality, talents and passion. If you are willing to put forth the work and step into Lisa’s coaching in this article, you will be well on your way to discovering work you enjoy.
Benefit from some free coaching from a pro on how to take the “LEAP” from your current career path and discover work that brings you joy.
LOVE – Love What You Do
First discover, what is your calling? What do you love doing? What do you want to get up and do every day?
Most people think about their talents, what they’re good at or what they went to school for, but that is only part of the equation to discovering a new career path.
You are more effective and productive if your work fulfills you. This process if foundational to discovering your purpose and work. Discovering work that energizes you is a most important decision, so be patient with yourself and take the time you need to lay a good foundation. And remember, what you are good at might not be what you love. Know and recognize the difference.
Start by making a list of 20 things you would love to do all day every day. It seems simple, but once you start making the list, it gets your brain going. This is the first step in making a conscious effort to decide what you love to do and what fulfills your purpose.
- What do you love doing?
- What brings you joy?
- Be willing to get help in this foundational process. Check with local colleges for options for self-evaluation.
- Take a Strength Finders evaluation test.
- First, Break all the Rules – Don Clifton
- StrengthFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath
- Soar with Your Strengths – Donald O. Clifton
- Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business – J. Mackey & R. Sisodia
- The Great Game of Business – Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham
- Taking in Strays: Leadership Lessons from Unexpected Places – Lisa H. Harrington
ENGAGE – Engage Your Network
Sometimes we don’t even know all the opportunities that are out there until we start asking questions. Start the process by engaging with the people that care about you, know you and will be honest with you in the discovery process. Be willing to engage with people who are willing to share honest and sometimes hard to hear advice or are willing to push you in a different direction.
Keeping your engagement high is key to the process. Talk to your friends. Go out and meet people. Go meet new people. Engage new networks. It’s all about being out there and hearing what’s available because we tend to live in our own little bubble.
Pick three networks and engage deeply. Go and inch wide and a mile deep with each of these three organizations. Only join a few groups so you can be fully involved. Look to join a committee in each group.
- Select one that’s a business-related network. Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a good option.
- Pick a philanthropic organization such as your church, synagogue or the Rotary or Lions Club. Choose a group that gives back to the community.
- Engage with a group that aligns with a hobby or area of personal interest. For example, if you like antique cars, go join the Antique Car Club. If you are a gardener, go join the Gardening Club. Find the group that complements with your current hobbies and brings you joy. In the process, you are meeting new people.
- What networks, friends and business acquaintances would you enjoy connecting with?
- Which civic, philanthropic and hobby groups resonate with you?
- Ask questions of your old and new network of friends and acquaintances. You never know who will have insight for you.
- It takes time to create a job, to find a new career. Invest the time now so that you can get to where you need to later. For example, we invest our money now for retirement. We invest time in college so we can get a good job. That investment of extra effort now could lead you to the best thing that ever happened to you.
- Never stop “selling.” Your career will always evolve and change. Be proactive in engaging with others to create the change you desire.
ALIGN – With Your Own Life Purpose
Aligning your work to a life purpose that really speaks to you is the third step in the process.
For example, Lisa’s alignment came from her belief if we have better leaders in companies and business, we build a better world. Her alignment came she figured out that if she talked to more leaders and helped them be better leaders, she was actually making a positive impact on the world.
Once you’ve made the list of ideas of what you love to do, and you’ve talked to people and engaged with your networks for feedback and advice, then you want to align what you’ve learned with your own life purpose. At this point, you will start to see what direction you should you go and make money because we are doing this to make a living.
- What do you want to impact as you’re out there making a living?
- Align your best, most natural talents to your future work.
- Sync your work to your life’s purpose. Write your personal purpose statement.
- Make a list of your priorities. Align your options with personal and career priorities.
- Consider your work and life experiences, freshen up your resume, and evaluate which of your past accomplishments help you move forward and align with your new direction.
PLAN, Plan, Plan
The P in LEAP is for planning. Think about how we build a house or a large building. We first put in the foundation. For example, a foundation for a 23-story building must go down the equivalent of about 10 stories to support the structure. During the planning phase, you are laying the foundation for a solid future with your new work.
Build your Strategic Business Plan. There are many sources available for support in creating your business plan. Also, hone your message and determine your target audience. Getting these three key elements in place will help you create a great business and get a quick start.
- What resources do you need to develop a strategic business plan?
- Develop a solid action plan that supports your priorities and your life’s purpose.
- Plan time for self-care.
- Plan your timing.
- Research and partner with a local bank that supports startups and small businesses.
- SCORE has several workshops and mentoring available for business owners. One excellent workshop is: The Essentials of Your Business Plan
- Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for options for marketing support.
- Listen to podcasts geared towards business owners. For example, Simon Sinek teaches how to turn your nervousness into excitement. Or read this article to discover, 15 of the Best Business Podcasts Right Now.
In the words of Lisa, “Life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s your life; make it better!” She lives these words and helps others do the same. Opportunities don’t just happen, you create them. Here at LIFT Office, we’ve watched people step out and make things happen. If you are thinking about a new venture, it’s good to connect with others who have already traveled that path. Come join us at LIFT. It’s a place where you can work, connect, collaborate and grow.
“The future depends on what you do today.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
About LIFT Office
The LIFT Office is a coworking/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 http://theliftoffice.com/