If you follow LinkedIn or read self-help books and magazines you'll have come across the sage advice of 'experts' to just follow your career dream. Whether you want to earn your living as a teacher, a songwriter or a professional footballer, you should just follow your dream (and the jury's still out on whether following your dream as a way to make a living is good or bad advice!). Either way, these articles relate to those people who have something they're passionate about and want to make a living from. But what if you're one of the many people who don't have a career dream?
Goal setting is an essential part of most coaching programmes. But it is also an important activity to carry out in our day-to-day lives when we want to achieve things and enjoy a sense of purpose.
When we are feeling aimless, dissatisfied and lacking a sense of control, it is often because we haven't given thought to our goals. If we want to change those frustrations to feeling purposeful, content and focused, the process of goal setting itself, and not just the goals that result, is valuable:
“People who set goals are more likely to succeed than people who do not.” Tal Ben Shahar, Harvard University
If you would like to discuss how coaching can help you to discover a sense of purpose, a clear sense of direction and set goals, get in touch for an initial exploratory conversation.
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If I could look into the future and tell you confidently that in ten years from now your life would be the same as it is now, would you be happy about it? Specifically, if I told you that you’d be in the same career, perhaps the same job, as you are now, does that fill you with satisfaction or horror?
For most of us, by the time we are in our thirties our careers are reasonably well set. Not necessarily as successful as you hoped but such that you identify as being a software engineer, a teacher, a GP, a town planner, or whatever. You are also by that age more likely to be reasonably settled at home too. You might have a mortgage, a partner, children and so on. All of these things can cause you to take your eye off the career satisfaction theme. Until, that is, there comes a day when, for whatever reason, you realise that your career no longer (or has never) given you the satisfaction you would like.
When I work with clients who find themselves in this situation they will often express their frustration about the time they have wasted in the wrong career. Their experiences have made me very aware that to effectively manage our careers – no matter what else is going on in our lives – we should periodically ‘check in’ with ourselves and ask 4 key questions:
1. Am I happy/fulfilled in this job/career?
2. Am I still getting the enjoyment and progress from my career that I initially desired?
3. Do I have a direction in mind and in prospect that keeps me motivated and keen?
4. Do I have a sense that I would like to be doing something else?
How would you answer these questions?
When I am working with clients on career direction I am sometimes reminded of a client from many years ago who came to see me having been in a particular career for over twenty years. At that time in his mid-forties he told me that he had neverbeen happy in his job. It had supported him, paid off his mortgage and provided for nice holidays but looking back he felt he had nothing of a non-material nature to show for the time. What he really valued was a sense of achievement, of having done something meaningful: something of which he could be proud. He was dejected and sad when he told me that he couldn’t honestly say he’d achieved that.
It is never too late to take stock, assess your situation and career, and make changes. I have worked successfully with people into their sixties to help them achieve satisfying career changes; how much more rewarding it would have been for them to have taken control of the situation at an earlier time? As a professional coach I can help you to take stock, assess your career and, where appropriate, define a new direction. With ongoing support, confidence-building and encouragement I can also help you to develop and implement a plan with which to achieve it.
For further details about my Career Direction programme or working with me generally, do get in touch. Don’t wait for that career to knock on your door…