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How can you choose your next career and guarantee it’s one you’ll love?

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I recently attended a ‘Job Fair’, where I provided short 1-on-1 laser coaching to individuals struggling with their job search. I met so many people who are currently struggling in their search. Most of the people I spoke with wanted to choose a new career; they no longer loved what they were doing and wanted to make a change.

Karen summed it up for everyone when she asked me quite simply: “How do I discover what I can do to earn a living that I can also enjoy? Where do I begin?”

I struggled with Step 1 for many years before figuring out the answer to the question of how to choose my next career, and make sure it was something I’d also enjoy.

The first step to choose your next career is counter-intuitive for some of us. We want to start by looking at other jobs and careers available, and then figure out if we could do one of those. But in my experience, Step 1 is about looking at yourself, unearthing your own unique set of strengths and skills, and more specifically, the strengths and skills you love to use. The key is to be able to articulate them with confidence.

Brad is a former client who came to me ready for change: “I’ve been doing sales, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to figure out what else I can do, without going back to school, that uses what I already know.” When I asked Brad what he knew how to do, he replied with a sad look in his eyes and a deep sigh, “Sales.”

After doing my own research on strengths and purpose, I have come to the conclusion that the strengths we love to use reveal themselves to us throughout our life. They may be scaled back a bit, when we’re young, but they still show up. We can’t help ourselves, the things we are best at and enjoy the most, we find a way to simply do. This is a critical component to help you choose your next career.

To help Brad unearth his strengths, he began by making a list from throughout his life of accomplishments and achievements that he was most proud of and really enjoyed doing. His list included: teaching himself to ride a bike then teaching his brother and sister to ride a bike so he wouldn’t be riding alone, preparing and delivering a presentation in high school to make some changes to how the school paper was run, winning his first sales award.

Next Brad began to tell me the story of what he did to achieve each accomplishment: the steps he took, who he worked with, and how he felt at each point. These stories contain the answer to the question I asked Brad, “What do you know how to do?” Together, Brad and I were able to sift through the stories and make a list of the strengths he demonstrated over and over again. Some of the items on Brad’s list included:   teaching,  training,  presenting,  mentoring,  and communicating. People with these skills often end up in sales. But there are also many other jobs and careers that use these skills.

Brad and I continued to dig into the stories of his accomplishments to discover what he does well, and what he enjoys, as well as the environment in which he thrives. That gave us the information we needed to proceed to Step 2 – Imagine, where Brad began to imagine what his ideal job and career would be, and then to Step 3 – Create, where Brad created both a strategy and tactical plan to get the job he wanted.

Today Brad actually trains sales people for a company he loves. He loves his job, and finds it fulfilling as well as financially rewarding. He’s now able to leverage his unique set of strengths and skills, as well as his experience.

For more information on how to unearth your strengths so you can find a job you love, check out the following:
Do you bring your strengths with you?

Want a career that feels like your calling?

What are the strengths you love to use?

If you are ready to discover what you can do to earn a living that you can also enjoy, to choose your next career, I challenge you to take Step 1 today. And please share your progress to help and inspire others on my blog.



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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA