Designing Your Career Sweet Spot
After a childhood, teen years and early professional life filled with angst trying to please others, it wasn't until I truly allowed myself to focus on where I knew I excelled (or could), on what I was passionate about and on what kind of place would bring out my best that I was able to be intentional about what I really wanted in my career.
Now I know. To be truly satisfied in a career, it must be comprised of exactly those three elements above and a somewhat selfish perspective. Before you start looking for a new house, for example, you make a list of "must haves" and "nice to haves." Same with a new car, yes? Treat your career plan or job search no differently.
It has to start with YOU and your goals.
Get intentional about first carefully understanding what constitutes the three key elements of your ideal role, at the intersection of which you'll find the sweet spot: your ideal career.
3 Elements of Your Ideal Career
Whether you are a highly motivated job seeker looking for a new position or a gainfully employed professional looking for the "next opportunity" internally, consider these three elements when asking yourself, "What do I really want to do?"
This is the what you do piece. The tasks and activities you're responsible for completing, the role you play, the duties and responsibilities in the job description. Marry your unique MO - how you naturally do the things you do - and your strengths with a role that needs those talents to accomplish the job most effectively and you have a match that allows you to do what you do best every day.
For example, if you are a gregarious brainstorming type who adapts every documented process to address the needs of the current situation and who thrives on experimenting with new ideas to see if they work... perhaps a role in direct marketing planning and analysis isn't for you. (That was me, by the way. For the first 15+ years of my professional life.) No, no, leave that job to a systematic planner who decides, through strategic data analysis, what is feasible to try then carefully measures the results to gauge success and gather information on how to do it better next time. (Thank goodness for me there are people out there like this!)
The why you do what you do piece. What difference do you want to make? What impact? What will be your legacy? What would make you excited to get out of bed every morning to work on and invest 8+ hours a day?
I'm not necessarily talking about finding the cure for cancer or saving the whales here. Unless that's truly your thing. I'm talking about what you feel is important... what is meaningful to you. Just because your father wanted to fill the world with song doesn't mean that's what would make you race into the shower after turning off the alarm every morning. When you can work toward making a difference in some area that you feel strongly about, you will apply what you do best every day to something that matters.
The where you do what you do best piece. What does the "place" look like that will allow you to do your best work? Bright, open shared space? Private office? Your car? Outside? What is the culture/core values of the organization? Who are your colleagues (if any) and what are their attitudes, beliefs, work ethic? What are the ideal benefits and compensation?
From the physical space to the intangibles like values and benefits, outlining the characteristics of the right environment is just as important as what you do and why you do it in order to find - or design - the exact right fit for YOU.
For tips on how to practice designing the 3 Elements of Your Ideal Career visit www.MPOWER-Consulting.net.
Meredith J. Masse, founder and owner of MPOWER Consulting, is a professional development consultant, career coach, speaker and trainer who empowers individuals, teams, managers and leaders to do what they do best... every day. She works with individuals, teams and entire organizations to escape the trappings of traditional professional development and career management – "Fix your weaknesses!" – in order to focus on the fastest way to achieve performance excellence and efficiency: through the optimization of innate strengths, inherent talents and natural instincts in the workplace. Visit www.MPOWER-Consulting.net.