Career Conversations and other powerful career habits

On a recent call with a client we explored in detail 3 conversations they had had recently about their career with people whose careers they admired. We had intentionally identified connections from 3 different sectors to help them explore future career possibilities. The results were powerful; not only did they discover how each person had achieved success in their chosen sector but also an insight into their philosophies on career success and the million-dollar question – where they found the most meaning in their work. Guess what? This is entirely personal and another person’s values either resonate with you or they don’t. Either way you learn more about how you feel and what you’d like to explore further.

This experiment really got my client thinking – where do I get my most meaning in my work? What is my definition of success? And how do I carve out a career that aligns with this?

Together we set out a plan to build healthy career habits over the next months to avoid them feeling as stuck and thwarted in their exciting new role as they had felt in the previous job.

1/ Focus on the job at hand and what it can teach you. But don’t give it your all. Don’t let it loom so large that you don’t have time to develop your skills or explore your interests.

2/ Identify mentors but don’t put them on the spot by asking them outright. Build an authentic relationship over time and ask them specific questions when you have them.

3/ Build up your inner confidence and intuition around what matters most to you and brings you energy at work because it is using your natural strengths. Journaling is a great tool for this, but you might like to read a book like Gretchen Rubin’s book The 4 Tendencies or take an online questionnaire about your strengths at work – Marcus Buckingham’s site had an excellent one

4/ Keep in touch with former colleagues and like-minded people that you meet on courses and at on-line industry events. New ideas and job referrals rarely come from your inner circle but from your wider network of loose ties.

5/ Above all, make time each month to have a career conversation with someone whose career you admire or who works in a sector you’d like to break in to. Don’t ask for work, just let them tell you their story, how they got to where they are, what they do each day and what’s next for them. You will learn more than a job’s board can ever tell you.