Many of my clients come to see me with aspirations to find a new job. Perhaps they desire a higher salary, a different title, more (or less) responsibility, a different work culture, or to finally open a business of their own.
They detail their skills and experience over the phone or coffee. They show me their resumes. They have taken at least one professional inventory, like Strengths Finder(tm), Disc (tm), or something else in an effort to help a hiring manager decide their worthiness for the next professional direction.
Even though it's a good idea to have all that information organized and presentable, let me go out on a limb here. Guess what? I really care nothing about all resumes and professional inventories. As a career coach, I care not a whit about the job you want.
Sounds a little counter-intuitive, right? A career coach who doesn't care about jobs? How does that even work? Well, if you stay with me a few moments longer, I'll explain my pithy comments.
Here's the deal. If you want to #work4joy, it's not about your job. That's right, if you want your profession to be truly fulfilling and exploding with joy every week, you must cease chasing a job. You must decide instead how you will craft your work.
So, the questions to ask yourself are not "what experience can I showcase" or "what skill sets do I possess or need."
The only question you must answer is "What work am I doing when I feel the most professional joy?"
I'm waiting. What replies come up when you pose that question to yourself? If you're like most people, you may have a few responses, which is great! We usually get a little bored and burned out if we spend too much time on one task.
How many of you thought of your top joy-filled tasks and then dismissed them out of hand? Did you tell yourself things like "That's totally stupid. It's nothing like what I do for a living right now. I'll never get really good at the thing I love. I'm not good enough to do it full time. It's too hard. If I do that work all the time, I won't enjoy it."
There may be grains of truth in those limiting thoughts. However, right now, you're just answering a basic question. There's no external risk in setting aside the reasons why you can't do the thing. The only risks in answering the question are the internal ones--allowing yourself to dream and feel, and of course, potentially be let down.
Yet answering that pivotal question is still the key to moving forward and evolving your work out of a place you can no longer stomach. You must keep asking and answering those questions if you are to change and grow, even if your answer is "I don't know."
"I don't know" is a very productive place to be, as long as you're willing to keep asking and answering more queries.
A great follow-up question for "I don't know" is "What are you curious about?" If you're stagnating in your current job but don't know where to go next, it helps to begin listing work that makes you go "hmmm, I wonder what THAT would be like?"
Begin taking notice of the experiences--work-related or not--that have truly tugged at your soul.
In one recent example, a client of mine noticed they felt relevant, useful, and fulfilled when they were mentoring youth or making life easier for older adults through technology.
Discovering that this was true created a dramatic shift in the type of roles they began to research.
Further, one of my favorite questions to ask as a coach when someone discovers the work that lights them up is "How can you begin doing that work right now?"
This empowers my clients in a number of ways:
1. They stop seeking permission from a hiring manager or an organization to begin doing the work they choose.
2. They discover more and more about the work they love, and begin setting boundaries for how much responsibility, salary, and work-life balance they want and need while continuing to pursue professional joy.
3. Their commitment to doing the work regardless of job openings often will help them meet and network with people they never would have met had they not begun doing the work. This behavior change often results in continued opportunities to pursue the work they choose instead of a job they know how to do. Enter a pathway to #working4joy!
Incidentally, once you get a taste of crafting your work over finding a job, you'll never go back to the grind again. Your heart simply won't allow it--at least, not for very long.
Are you ready to stop looking for jobs and start crafting your work? I'm ready to help. My sessions are all Pay What You Want, from $50-$125 per one-hour session, for as many sessions as it takes. So, no more of this "I can't afford a coach" messaging. Book an appointment today, and let's get going on finding and doing the work you love.