Harmony with Your Gifts
by Lynn Matlock Hicks, Certified Professional Coach (She can be reached at 281-493-9420, email at email@example.com or visit her website at www.transformbydesign.com)
How do you design a vocation where you can bring more of your best self to your work? Well, it can be done by following some exploratory steps and allowing the pattern to emerge. It requires persistence to stay the course and patience to allow the process to unfold and present itself. The pieces of the puzzle are a combination of identifying and understanding your 1) core values, 2) top 8-10 skills, 3) career interests and 4) personality temperament.
1. Core Values How do you identify your core values? Values represent who you are at the present time. This is not the typical definition of values tied in with morals. Values are intrinsic to who you are and principles that are important in your life. Some examples of values I have found common among many of my clients are: People (relationships, connections), growing and learning, challenge, making a difference, peace, and joy. A way to go ‘mining for values’ is through exploring your best moments in life. This can be a powerful process if you have someone else asking you a few simple questions and exploring your experiences with you. Either a friend who is skilled at listening and being curious or a professional coach can help you unearth your core values.
Some questions to explore your values are: Tell me about one of your best moments, either personal or professional. A time where you felt most engaged, most productive. It could have been a big project you accomplished or a meaningful moment in nature (i.e., it does not have to be a big Olympic event.). What made it so meaningful for you? Who was there? What were you doing? Who were you being to make it happen? Identifying your top 10 current values is an important foundation in determining what will create a fulfilling career and life for you.
The next step is to explore how you can design your life to meet these values. For example, some core values for one of my clients are: action, flexibility, adventure, creating moments to savor, continual learning, and making a difference. One of his lifestyle interests is traveling with his work. He immensely enjoys meeting people in other areas of the country, other cultures and learning new things. So, he has identified three regions in the world in which he wants to live and work at different times of the year. He is actively creating his life and work in concert with his values.
2. Top Skills. There are several ways to identify your skills and key competencies. I usually suggest identifying 8-10 top skills and one method I use with clients is the ‘STAR’ model: S-Situation, T-Task, A-Action, R-Results. Identify at least three accomplishments you are proud of from your work history. Using the STAR model, write out your accomplishments. Situation: What was the specific situation you were faced with? What challenges did you encounter? Task: What was your role or task? Action: What specific steps did you take? What did you do? How did you involve or influence others? The Action is one of the most important parts. Many people step over their actions, thinking they were just doing their job. Results: What were the results? Quantify these as much as you can in terms of money saved, procedures improved, efficiencies gained, employee morale improved, etc. Once you have written these, you can identify the skills that you used to make it happen. Some examples of skill areas can be: organizing, handling details, numerical, influencing/persuading, management, leadership, communications, teaching/educating, planning, research, analysis, mechanical, operating, and artistic.
3. Career Interests. One question I often ask clients is: "What is fun and easy for you? Something that you would find it hard to believe you get paid to do." I like to use different approaches to explore this area. One exercise you can do to prompt your thinking is to go through the Yellow Pages and jot down anything and everything that captures your interest, whether or not you have the skill to pursue it. Do not evaluate your thoughts; just write down topics based on your gut instincts. Once you have your list, then look over it and see what patterns you can identify. What are the themes? See if you can cluster some of the items together. For example, a client, I’ll call Carol, discovered the following items of interest: health care centers, exercise and fitness programs, nutritionist, physical therapist, and sports instruction. She called this category Health & Fitness. Carol was not aware of her interest in these areas until she did this exercise. She was selling furniture in a family business and was not completely happy. Carol went on to get certified as a personal trainer and explore working in an all-female health club, supporting an on-staff nutritionist, and teaching sessions on health. The next step after you get clear about certain areas of interest is to do some informational interviews with people in those fields to find out what it is really like. Informational interviews are usually about twenty to thirty minutes where you ask questions in a conversational manner to gather pros and cons of working in that field, how one gets started, training required, etc.
4. Personality Temperament. If you have had your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessed professionally, this is a helpful piece of the puzzle. If not, you can draw upon some of the principles of temperament to help you determine what is important to you in your work environment and the type of work you most enjoy. Where do you get your energy? Do you prefer being around groups of people or one-on-one? Or do you prefer a balance of both? Do you need a lot of variety and change or do you like to know what to expect? Is it important for you to be in an innovative and intellectual environment? Are you drawn to doing work that is focused on helping others or dedicated to a cause that has personal meaning to you? Think about positive work experiences from the past and identify what made those experiences enjoyable. What can you identify as important aspects that are unique to your natural personality and temperament. Write these down and discuss them with someone who knows you well to uncover any other aspects worth identifying. A great book for understanding MBTI and careers is "Do What You Are", by Tieger and Tieger.
By exploring your core values, your top skills, career interests and personality temperament, you can begin identify career areas which are in line with the best of who you are. When you bring the best of you, everyone wins and work has more joy and ease – you can’t believe you get paid for what you’re doing!
Lynn Matlock Hicks is a certified professional coach and Myers-Briggs practitioner. She is passionate about helping individuals discover their best-fit careers and assisting leaders to lead with impact and leave a legacy. She can be reached at 281-493-9420, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.transformbydesign.com Home | Archives | Contact Us | Advertising Rates | Writers Guidelines | Mission Statement
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