Having a satisfying career is a continuing process of checking in and being self-aware. A career is not something you set and forget. It requires periodic checks to ensure you are still on course for accomplishing what you’re uniquely designed to do. So what does life want from you?
What happens often is people spend most of their lives laboring at work, often in jobs that don’t fulfill them.
This misalignment with work and self happens in stages. Signs can include an undefined yearning for change, an unshakable restlessness or a profound sense of emptiness.
We get comfortable in the routines that characterize our daily lives, and we miss the inner signals and cues to what we need to become for the next stage of our career. What’s lacking for many of us is taking the time to be still and consider if our daily routines are the right ones and if our daily work aligns with our deepest values.
Our deepest held values are critical to understanding ourselves. Without clarity about who we are, we will never know whether what we’re doing is aligned with what we have been designed to do. By seeking unity between and among our core values, our efforts and pursuits will align, and our development guided.
True thinking is driven by questions. Be curious about yourself. Observe and don’t analyze. Allocate time on your calendar to take stock of your current career situation regularly. Is some vital part of you going unused?
Success, by its number of definitions, is not certain. Leading a fulfilling career may mean living an unspectacular life. The journey may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and may take many twists and turns. It’s not about the personal benefits. It’s about the good you add to the world.
When we choose career courage over career comfort, the fulfillment of knowing we are doing what we are uniquely qualified to do is worth it in inexplicable ways. So what are you willing to give up to lead a fulfilling career?
Thinking bravely about your career takes place within the context of community — where we discover and live out our unique qualifications. Others often see our unique capabilities before we do. We tend to take the things that come quickly to us for granted.
Career change of any sort can be frightening because it forces us to confront the elements of the unknown. However, the mind is not binary. Given a chance, it can consider multiple options and provide us with just enough practice to move from small steps to bigger, braver ones.
You will know you are on the right track when you feel a deep sense of knowing when you feel alive in your actions and moving toward something, rather than away from something.
So make it a regular occurrence to make time for stillness and career clarity. Check alignment through introspection, hard work and perseverance. Do these things, and you will avoid losing your way.
Jennifer Zach is a national coach, speaker and trainer who resides in the Corridor. www.jennifer-zach.com