Whose career path are you on?

A client I worked with had a huge shift when she realized that for years the path she was on was following the vision of her boyfriend.  He was building a boat and her whole life was consumed with building the boat and making plans for the voyage they would go on after the boat was built.

While she enjoyed building the boat she knew she did not want to go on the voyage. She wasn’t sure what to do.  She was overwhelmed and confused.

Meaningful work is not something we initially set out to find.  How many of us follow a career path because it is what our parents wanted for us or what society sees as “the best path”?  (Think going to Harvard or working at Apple, Google or BigLaw)  Unless you are clear on exactly what you want to do and you actually get to do it, you are bound to be unhappy in your life and work.

So how do you figure out what your career path is?  There are all sorts of books written on the process but for me it involves these 3 steps:

  • What are your strengths?  Identifying your strengths first and then finding a way to use them in your work.
  • What are your values?  What do you care most about?  If you are working on something you care about, you will be on a good path.
  • How does your path help you to make a contribution to your community, to your state or to the world?

Answering any of these questions is not an easy task.  It takes time, effort and deep thinking.  Unless you are lucky it probably takes some takes trial and error too.

There are other things that get in your way.  Parents often have your career path all figured out for you.  They “know what is best” and want you to be X.  In my experience it is usually a professional like a doctor or lawyer.  My parents told me teaching was a great profession for a woman to fall back on.  In those days the expectation was that women got married and stopped working outside the home.  That didn’t work for me.

If it isn’t your parents or in my client’s case a boyfriend it could be society which has a hierarchy of professions and the highest value goes to the jobs that make the worker the most money.  So while the decision should be yours it is often mixed in with the pressures of outside forces.

It takes perseverance and effort to block out the world and focus in on your own strengths and values.  Uninterrupted quiet time is helpful.  This allows you to relax and wait for your negative voice to quiet down.  It is a time to engage with your heart and not your brain.  Let your intuition help you find your career path and meaningful work.

Need help?  A coach can be your guide. Your coach is skilled at helping you to connect to your emotions, feelings and intuition.  This will allow you to find your true career path and lead you to meaningful work.

This cartoon by John Junson was featured at The Employee Engagement Network http://employeeengagement.ning.com/to









It seems she is finally found her own career path!  🙂



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