This Tuesday I am continuing the career and self-discovery theme started at the beginning of the month by providing you with some ideas - more precisely three key steps - to identifying and evaluating new career possibilities.
I start from the premise that you have completed the process I suggested in my earlier blog (if you have not, well, just click on the link as you are still in time!) just because that process will provide you with the necessary understanding about your priorities, your values and what motivates you. As a coach I know by experience that is almost impossible to start discussing career options when you do not have absolute clarity about who you are!
Whether alone or with a friend, colleague or partner try to come up with all of kind of possible ideas around career. These ideas must remain fairly general, but can also be totally ' off the wall' because for this first steps you are not going to reject anything that can remotely interest you, motivate you and meet your identified values (partially or fully).
If you decide to engage in this brainstorming alone, make sure you do not stop at the obvious, but challenge yourself to think 'out of the box'.
If you are asking somebody else to join you for this exercise (which I would recommend), then you must make sure that your relationship with the person in question is good enough for you not to feel judged or uncomfortable in any way. If you think that the person may somehow limit your ability to think differently, change the person!
While you want to make sure that your early list contains options that are diverse and challenging, always make sure that any idea you generate for a new career is attractive enough for you to think that - at least in principle - it would be a viable outcome. Thus, disregard career options that would have an obvious negative impact on your values and your drivers. Instead, think about and built upon your perceived strengths especially if you feel that they currently not being maximised.
#2 Get Feedback on Your List
For this second step you need the support of at least another person that will act as your challenger and feedback provider. The purpose is to run through the newly created list of options and explain each one in turn.
The person providing feedback is tasked with questioning the options - one way of doing this could be to repeatedly ask the question '...And if you achieved this (new career) what would it mean for you?' but also its opposite formulation '...And if you did not achieve this (new career) what would it mean for you? In so doing helping you understand the pros and cons of each career option and whether it is a viable one for you.
Once again here, a note of caution. If the person providing feedback knows you well the risk is that he/she may be biased in whichever way. Thus, make sure you keep an objective view of yourself and really try to stick to your identified strengths, motivations, values, drivers etc. when it comes to challenging or supporting an option. If the person is relatively removed from you, make sure you do not underestimate your skills and attributes as this could mean losing out on viable options.
#3 Score Options and Select Priorities for further Investigation
Once step 2 is completed, the next step is to score each option on your list from 1 to 10 (1 being least interesting/attractive and 10 being most interesting/attractive). When scoring, think about matching options to values and motivations. Next think about the practicalities. For example, one of your values can be to travel internationally, but if the job in question requires you to be on a plane 3 out of 4 weeks how realistic, feasible and attractive doe that become? Another example could be around the financial aspect of an option, thus, could you viably start a new career in an area that did not pay enough even if all other values were met?
Once the asssessment is complete you will be able to identify your top 5 or top 3 options for further investigations.this will require a greater and more in depth understanding of these options, what is involved and what is required. For this investigation internet, books, websites, friends and family, former colleagues and broader networks can all be helpful. Once enough information has been gathered and anyalysed you will be in a good place to identify your top scorer and hopefully begin to put in place the practical next steps to make it happen.
It is quite possible that this process will be iterative, thus it may well take you sometimes before you can reach the stage of assessment and decision-making. If you encounter resistence within yourself it is possibly because the analysis has not been fully undertaken or you are not convinced of an option or its attractivenesss. If that is the case, either park the option or go back to step 2 to identify the extent to which it meets your needs and values. Repeating the process is likely to provide new insights into this option but also in yourself, which ultimately will empower you to make more informed choices.
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieveing their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.