It is officially the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Therefore, I have a powerful question for you this week. This question can be obvious. For many it can be life-changing. This Career Happiness Question is not only good for today's self-reflection but to check once in a while if not every single day. Why it's so powerful? Let me tell you a real-life story.
Last week we had a follow-up meeting with my coachee where we looked back to the year, her insights, changes and progresses during her coaching journey. We had started exploring her priorities and how to combine them to create a more fulfilling career while increasing work-life balance (her desired outcome). When her values, interests, skills and strengths was being clarified we worked on how she would take the next purposeful steps to reach her desired situation. She put on the effort going after the opportunities that were aligned with her dreams and was able to communicate about her talents and targets. So, she landed her dream job which is now exceeding her expectations. I could not be happier for her and walking alongside her career progression.
What she named as one of the biggest realisations from her journey was to focus on what she WANTS to do instead of what she CAN do. This distinction can sound small but there is actually a remarkable difference. Therefore I want to share you this insight inspired by my client's key to her successful career shift.
This reminded me of my own career progression challenges; and how it is not obvious to follow our dreams in career planning just because we are not wired to do so. Throughout my life, and I believe in yours too, I'm being praised of what I'm good at which feeds to do more of what I'm already doing well. We live for this feedback and it's good for our self-esteem. But it's not enough in career planning. We need to take another approach to be happier.
It's very easy, human, to do career planning based on what you can do: what are your natural skills and traits and previous experiences. This is where most professionals start the planning and it also sounds logical — why not focus on your strong assets, right?
Here comes the but; when we look at what we already know and master, we might miss what is truly important to us — the key to ultimate happiness and success.
This can mean for example finding your calling, your bigger purpose and what impact you want to make for others. And this can be something totally different what you've been doing before. For me it has been changing during my career. So by opening your horizon and exploring your innermost desires you can find clues of what would make you happy. So we want to identify what would make us feel excited to wake up and get on with your work that feels meaningful to you. This might take some time and deep self-exploration work but would it be worth the effort to actually feel excited about what you do about 90,000 hours in your lifetime? Quite many hours to make them count for you and your happiness. But why not to focus on happiness in the first place?
Harward Business Review reminds us why it's important to focus on meaning rather than what makes us happy: seeking happiness just makes us feeling unhappy. Enjoying the journey instead of the end result will unlock your happiness too. In a survey of 12,000 employees, 50 % of the recipients said they didn’t get a feeling of meaning and significance from their work, but the ones who did, reported 1.7 times greater job satisfaction, were 1.4 times more engaged and were three times as likely to remain with their current employer.
Remember from last week's Career Happiness Question #1 up to 95 % of talents are looking to change their jobs or field because they are not happy and one of the biggest reasons being that they are not getting opportunities for professional growth.
So, how can you find your significance and the feeling of doing something meaningful?
One way is to practise growth mindset.
Tchiki Davis shares 15 ways how to build your growth mindset to increase your chances of succeeding. From a career exploration perspective, her explanation works well: "a “fixed mindset” person shies away from challenges, possibly from fear of failure, and may go into hiding as a way to avoid responsibilities. In contrast, the “growth mindset” person finds challenges to be exciting and engaging knowing that they will learn something valuable from their experiences." Now you can ask yourself are you looking for challenges and opportunities for growth or walking away from them? In any case, you can practice a new attitude by making gradual changes: what is the smallest challenge you can take on now?
On top of taking new challenges bravely, Davis also highlights becoming your authentic self and cultivating your purpose are ways to develop your growth mindset — practises sparking experiences of joy, happiness and fulfilment — what LIVIO JOY career coaching is all about.
To help many talents in need, the Career Happiness Lab offers workshops on these and other topics guiding you to make the most of your career progression.
Before next week's workshops, I'll give you this Career Happiness Question
When I'm exploring new career opportunities, I focus on
what I can do
what I want to do
something else? Your purpose, mission, superpower?
And as a manager or leader, how can you support your team members to cultivate their passions, what they want to give and learn? Let me know your insights in the comments.
So much happiness potential (and pure money) is wasted because talents don't feel excited and engaged in their work. Good news is that this disengagement trend can be turned around and the potential in your team can spark future success. There are many ways so let's find what it means for your team. Let's chat more about your potential!
Career Growth Coach | LIVIO JOY
Kaisa's career was building on her plan B. When it wasn't supporting her anymore, Kaisa started exploring new opportunities. Having faced the challenges of navigating through overwhelm, stress and panic, she sought help and came up with a purpose-driven plan aligned to her priorities. So, began her transitioning into a new field, profession and entrepreneurship. With her example, Kaisa wants to inspire others to follow their career dreams and goals. Now she's guiding change-makers to succeed in their careers, roles and responsibilities with joy — the core element of LIVIO JOY.