At one point or another in their career, everyone asks themselves: ‘is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?’ It could be out of a moment of frustration, or perfect clarity that they are meant to do something more.
I’ve really enjoyed aspects of consulting, but when asking myself that question, I thought there was more fulfilling work I could be doing. One that not only brought me happiness and excitement to go to each morning but also one that helped others to feel and do the same.
So, I hired a career coach. I needed clarity and someone who I could talk this through with and start figuring it out what to do. We started by understanding my likes and dislikes, my strengths and weaknesses, my values, and work I’d consider passion projects.
This discovery went down many different possible career paths – I went from exploring going to law school, to being an acupuncturist (you’re inspired by good people around you and I have a very good acupuncturist), to start my own retail business, and finally – being a corporate coach.
In exploring my likes and dislikes of my consulting role, I realized what I loved about the job was one-on-one meetings with Clients, where we work through their challenges. The trust they placed in me by sharing their career hopes and fears and my suggestions on how they can move forward showed me the impact I could have on their business and in their personal lives.
CHANGING MY MINDSET
One great discovery I made with my coach was, if I was to go into a coaching role, I’d have to approach it differently than consulting. Consulting is all about gathering the information, analyzing and providing a recommendation. Coaching is about listening, asking the questions to get your Client to think and guiding them to making their own conclusions.
Personal journeys like this are often fraught with self-doubt. When applying to coach school, I questioned whether at my age, am I even in any position to coach others? Shouldn’t I have my own shit together? Coaching itself is an ongoing journey of self-improvement, by practicing what I’m helping others with, I can help myself reach my greatest potential. The cycle continues with each new person I help.
EMBRACING YOUR CHANGE
I recall coaching my first Client and remembering how energized I felt after the session. It was clear that it was the feeling I want to have every day. Clients were so thankful to have a dedicated hour focused on them, to work through their biggest challenges and have a sounding board they could share with. That gave me a new purpose that consulting wasn’t able to fulfill and at that moment, I could feel the self-doubt start to fade away.
As I noted in my blog, “Setting Vision Made Personal Computing Possible,” having a personal vision is just as important as establishing a business vision for your team and organization. Without a personal vision, you can begin to lose steam in your personal life and career and could result in you getting stuck in a rut. Here is a reminder on the four steps to help you get started on building your personal vision:
- Let go– Be in the mind frame of anything is possible and worry about the how later. A common mistake with weak visions is not thinking big enough and not challenging yourself.
- Understand what you don’t want– Sometimes its easier to start with what you don’t want the future to look or feel like before figuring out where you could be.
- Envision Success– Avoid generic visions that can be owned by anyone – what is your gut telling you about where are you in the future, what does it look like, how do you feel about that being accomplished?
- Own it – Communicate it to yourself on a regular basis. It’s not one and done, you need to constantly remind yourself and keep it on the forefront. Create a few goals to get you to move you closer to the vision.
For me, creating a personal vision went hand in hand with this career change. Now that it was clear that being an Executive Coach was want I wanted to do, I wanted to create a five-year plan in which I moved away from consulting. I have created clear goals for myself to build up my coaching skills by attracting more Clients. It helps give me direction and discipline to spend each week working on myself and getting closer to those goals.
With your personal vision, there are other factors you have to think about as well – where are you with your finances, your health, and your relationships? Also important are asking yourself the questions: what have I accomplished and contributed to the world and what do I have left to accomplish and contribute. All of these will factor into how you craft that personal vision.