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What if you really did know your right career?

What if you really did know your right career?

Your right career may be for you the one that earns you the most personal satisfaction or the most money or contributes most to others. You need to decide on the balance between different pay-offs of the work that you do and that choice is completely yours. This piece focuses on the decision to do work that you are passionate about, whether in the end that becomes the whole of your life, or needs to be balanced by doing other work that meets other practical needs.

I spent a long time searching for the ‘right’ thing to do with my life and all the time what I really wanted to do was staring me in the face. I even read ‘do what you love’ type self-help books that told me it was probably staring me in the face and continued to completely ignore it.

It was just too obvious that I would become a life coach. The ego part of me also thought that life coaching sounded a bit cheesy, so I had to get over that as well so I could wind up doing this work I love.

I left teaching as I was constantly moving with my husband’s career and was looking to find what my new ‘perfect’ career would be. I studied for a second degree in Art History and Creative Writing and also did courses in photography, floristry and interior design. All of these were a lot of fun and I know I was really lucky to be able to invest the time and money in them. The bridge between hobby course and new career seemed huge and I had no idea how to bridge it.

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It took a long time to admit to myself that my right career was coaching. It took even longer to realise that the bridge to making that happen was not going to be something that would come easily. I was looking for a simple leap into making my passion my career and the leap wasn’t a simple one for me.

You know those water obstacle shows where someone always falls short of making the leap and plunges into the deep water below? That was me in the ‘finding your right career water obstacle show.’ (not sure it’s ratings are that high, maybe you haven’t heard of it?)

Sure, you will read loads of internet marketing about how certain people will make the leap to your new passion filled career easy and simple and if there really are people who are making this work quickly and easily then a whole load of good luck to them.

I’ve invested a lot more time and money into making this passion work and the more I learn the more I see that it is about consistently turning up as yourself in all this and claiming what you want, even when it isn’t an easy path. Making the leap to a career you are passionate about is deciding to climb the mountain, it isn’t climbing it. That comes after.

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The idea of this journey to your right career or a thriving coaching practice as being like climbing a mountain came from my own coach mentor, Sas Petherick.

So if you are brave and some might say fool-hardy enough to do, you know, what you really want to do with your life, here are six steps to help you get there. They won’t get you all of the way there, but they are a start. Look upon them as trail snacks on your forthcoming mountain journey.

1. Admitting what you really want in life.

Is there a passion you have been ignoring because it is just too obvious? Have you been blocking it because the ego part of you does not fully approve of your idea? What do you talk about that lights you up? What kind of books are you always reading? What magazines do you always pick up? Passion leads clues. Imagine that you have become a detective of your own life and you are looking for where your passion lies. Make notes, keep files, be onto yourself.

2. Owning your talents.

So you have the passion, but now that sneaky little voice inside you is saying ‘well sure that sounds great, but you’re not really as good at balloon modelling / diving / historical research of the Tudor period as you think you are’. Part of this is the ego that is trying to keep you safe. You are only in the exploratory phases of what your true life’s work is going to be. You don’t have to have the ‘right’ answer.

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3. Not expecting the complete picture of your future to form straight away.

This is where it gets messy. You try a new direction and you fail or you have to find a way of mixing your life passion with your day job and that gets messy. You think thoughts like ‘maybe I’m wasting my time,’ or ‘this is never going to work.’

4. Allowing the messiness of transition.

This is where allowing comes in. Allow yourself not to know, not to have it all together, not to know all the steps, not to have a brilliant answer to the cocktail party question ‘So what do you do?’

5. Finding support for your dreams.

On your mountain trail to your new passion filled career it’s great to have a mountain guide. Find one you resonate with and you trust. Ask for referrals. Talk to a variety of guides / mentors / coaches and find out who you click with. Clicking with a guide, mentor or coach is more important than being impressed by how fancy their website is or whether they guest post on Life Hack.

6. Tortoise steps, not hare leaps. (from coaching tool created by Dr Martha Beck)

If your next step seems to great, break it down. If the step after that one seems too great, break it down again. Find the step that does not bring up all the resistance that stops you from doing anything. You’ll never know for sure that you couldn’t find work in what you truly love unless you make the first step of truly listening to what you really want, by stopping to ignore what is obvious.

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Attribution: Some of the ideas in this piece have been influenced by and relate to my understanding of the book ‘Finding Your Own North Star,’ by Martha Beck. (Piatkus, 2003) This is a great book to have alongside you if you are trying to climb this particular mountain, the summit of which is having work that you are passionate about.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

  • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
  • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
  • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

2. Know Your Role and the Organization

Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

  • What questions do you have about the role?
  • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
  • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

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This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

I’ve heard many new employees say:

  • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
  • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
  • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
  • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

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Remember to:

  • Notice your assumptions
  • Focus on your own work
  • Ask questions, and
  • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

  • Helps you clarify expectations
  • Shows that you’ve done your research
  • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

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What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
  • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
  • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
  • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

  • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
  • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
  • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
  • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

Summing It Up

There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

  1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
  2. Know Your Role and the Organization
  3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
  4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
  5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
  6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
  7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
  8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
  9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

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Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

Reference

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