Welcome to episode #171 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. When you think about making a career move, we’re often considering whether we’re in the right career or role and what’s the right, next move. We want to find the path that aligns with our skills, interests, and values. Today’s podcast on “Made for More: Navigating Your Career Journey and Finding the Right Path for you” is going to help you navigate the often daunting process of career exploration.
I’m really curious about people’s careers and often will ask people I meet how they ended up doing what they did. The author that ended up finding creative writing. The VP who is now leading large teams. All of them took a different process, but there is one thing in common. They understand what they’re passionate about and interested in beyond money.
Understanding Your Passions and Interests
If you’re considering making a career move, whether it feels big or small – we often forget about the importance of knowing ourselves well. We know that work isn’t always fun, but we forget that we can still find enjoyment in the process of working. There’s no true end goal to work because if there was, you’d already be working towards it. Instead, it often feels like we’re just working to make money and it will be a while before you have so much money that you never have to work again.
It’s possible for that to occur sooner than you think, if your goal is to not work. When I was considering work and why I work, I realized that it wasn’t just about the money and making enough to support myself and others. It was about finding out who I was in the process and what I was capable of doing in the world. The impact that I can have. The people I’ll meet.
I’m also saving and investing money along the way, but the point isn’t to not work ever. The point is to spend time doing work that feels fulfilling and can satisfy our financial and lifestyle goals.
This is why when we don’t have a lot of self-awareness, we work for goals that seem superficial or temporary – like make a lot of money quickly – or to have just enough money. You can find work that utilizes your passions and it’s important not to get caught up in the not-so-fun aspects of work. You’re allowed to be interested, engaged and passionate about what you work and who you work with. In fact, if you have that – you’ll be way more likely to put in the extra effort and mindshare that it takes to excel. If you’re extremely interested in what you do, you’ll be able to more easily work through what’s not so great or not of interest for you to do.
You’ll have more peak experiences that give you the stamina to endure the harder days and the times when you feel like maybe you just want to give it all up. Without peak experiences – the ones where you get that tingly feeling or a sense of true connection or pride – you’ll resort to money or status or titles – and for a while it works, until you have so much on your plate that it’s not worth it anymore.
Find the thing that will be worth it. That drives you, gives you a sense of meaning and purpose – and you’ll be able to have days where you truly feel lucky to be working and to have it support your life instead of taking away from it.
Assessing Your Skills and Strengths
When you know what you are passionate about, you also want to understand what you’re skilled at and what strengths you bring. Maybe you’re considering a bigger change to your career. It’s likely that you’ve thought about all the ways in which you could be good at this new thing. Yet most people forget that their strengths and skills still need to be developed.
You want to be thinking not just about getting the job, but doing the work in the job and what you’d have to know. This is why I’m so passionate about people being best-in-class. If you’re best-in-class, you’re constantly aspiring to be the person who wants to contribute at the highest levels. It doesn’t matter where you are now. Most people forget that. They think that they just have to do what they’ve always done, but what matters more is how committed you are to your new path and your reasons for your commitment. You’re going to want to be really good, not just average so even though a job where you hide out might look good on paper, it’s not good for your soul or your sanity.
Eventually, you’ll want more from your work. Not more workload but more engagement. You’ll want to feel challenged and also like you’re working on the things that you can become great at and know for not just here but everywhere you go.
I’ll run assessments as a way to triangulate and build confidence in my client’s chosen new paths, but it’s always more potent when they get that aha moment of belief themselves. When they see through their own experiences and life history, why they’re the perfect fit for this next thing – they feel and are unstoppable.
Seeking Guidance on Your Career Journey
It takes an outside perspective to see what you don’t see. To weave together the pieces of the puzzle to tell a coherent story. This perspective can come through a process – which is how I teach it. It’s important for you to be able to tell your story of your history and experiences and not just tell it but to believe it.
My own personal experience is that I know that coaching and personal development work is where I want to devote my time and efforts because I have seen the patterns of thinking and experiencing life that have come before. All the moments where people told me, this is what you really are good at. All the moments where I saw the ways I navigate life are truly different than most people.
Embracing your differences is truly the heart of understanding yourself and what you’re good at even better. Not all careers are created the same and you’ll have to truly own your ambition, redefine success and be seen fully as a leader with your unique talents.
This also means recognizing what you’re not so great at doing. If you’re really good at pushing yourself through any given task, this might be hard to identify – but when you know what’s not your best work you can use this information to create a life where your time is truly spent on your genius zone.
One of the common mistakes people make is thinking that an assessment will tell them exactly what they should do with their lives. They think that personality assessments will show them that they should actually teach instead of analyzing and investing in businesses. Or they might think that if you want to be good with people, you need to have a certain kind of personality.
None of this is true. Look around and you’ll see that there are introverted people and extroverted people doing everything. There are people who are more directive and results-oriented and people who are less direct and people-oriented getting things done. Skills and capabilities are different from your personality and preferences.
You can run circles around people in your analytical capability or my excel skills but not have it be the thing that you want to do next. Being made for more doesn’t mean you’re only doing what you’re good at or can do well. What you really want to do is to notice that you want something that sparks that flame of inspiration. That the meaning, purpose and conviction you have in this work is what drives you to use your personality and strengths to your advantage.
This is your turning point. To decide what you value. To decide and actually prioritize what matters. Do you want a lifestyle that allows you to work from home or in the office? Do you need everyone to know who you work for and what you do? Do you need to have a certain amount of income?
We make sure that all of these are considered as we go through the process of figuring out what’s next in your career. The strategy and the mindset of being made for more starts off with believing that it’s possible to have what you want, even if you don’t see anyone else doing it. The roles that I’ve taken over the course of my life were ones outside my field of vision in previous years. This is why we have to be open-minded to other possibilities that we may not have considered. In fact, that’s the whole point of exploring – to go out into the unknown and navigate your career journey as if you were still on your way.
You’re not at the end of your career journey. You’re just getting started on this next leg and you’ll try lots of different things along the way – but it’s such a fun adventure if you believe that it’s ok to not know but know that you’ll figure it out now.
I’d love to support you in your transformation journey. Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact for more information on my Spiritual Achiever coaching program. You’ll figure out what’s next and actually go and do it.
If you like this blend of both practicality and mindset, you will love coaching. You can schedule a consultation at www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more about working together and joining this community of like-minded, open and curious seekers. It is the powerful group and private coaching hybrid experience for achievers who want to expand their vision of what’s possible. Twelve months of support, individualized guidance, community and retreats. We will help you build your confidence, trust your intuition and make decisions that you love.
That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.