How to *Find* Yourself Professionally

Career

How does one “find themselves” professionally speaking?  We all reach a point in our careers where we are trying to figure out either:

1. What we want to do
or
2. If what we’re currently doing is really what we want to be doing.

We are trying to find our passions that will enrich our lives.  Albeit “finding yourself” personally and professionally is probably one of the biggest struggles we will continue to face throughout our existence, I do think there are some strategies around this.  Recently I attended a DeGroote Executive Education Women’s breakfast series event where the attendees and I were mentored by Glain Roberts-McCabe, Founder and President of The Executive Roundtable.  Glain brought to light some great tips and practical tools to do just this.

1. Trust your Gut.

I know we have all heard this many times before.  Trust your gut.  However when push comes to shove, how much do we actually do this? We hear it but do we listen and follow it? A good question to ask yourself is when has your gut ever been wrong? Can you think of an example in your life that listening to your gut would have been a bad idea? I am straining to think of an example in my life to date.  Sadly I can only think of the opposite scenario.  Countless times of when, if I did listen to my gut, things would have turned out significantly better.

2. Create a Love it and Loath It List

Keep an ongoing list nearby and jot down things that either irritate you or excite you throughout the day.  As your list builds this will help you to recognize your own patterns and triggers.  This then gives you hard data to back up your gut feelings that may already be trying to point you in certain directions.

3. Clarify your values.

What are your values? Family? Health? Friends? Financial? Career? Knowing your values and what you need to be happy can help to point you in the right direction.  If you’re values are your family and your personal time then heading into a career that extends well beyond the 9-5 work day may not be a satisfying choice.

Watch out for the “shoulds” as you think about values.  I “should” choose family over work, I “should” choose finances over career.   If these are not your true personal choices then you are setting yourself up to fail. Taking a moment to be honest with yourself can save you from a road of disappointment and guilt.

4. Ask for feedback

Talk to those you work with and who know you the best.  Ask for three things that you are doing well and one thing you should change.  This helps build a picture for you of what other people see are your strengths and passions, as well as weaknesses.  The weaknesses may also point out directions that you are just not that into.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Confucius

Further reading: 8 Ideas for Building Your Personal Brand from The Executive Roundtable resources

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11 thoughts on “How to *Find* Yourself Professionally

    1. Hello Marilyn, I do agree it can be a bit daunting to ask for feedback. I do believe people (and managers specifically) appreciate when they are asked as it shows that One – you value their opinion and Two – you are open to feedback and willing to change or work on things that need tweaking. Thanks for the comment!

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