Finding your “sweet spot”

Look at it, if the pathway to careers are different today than ever before, why do we still continue to coach people into career paths the same old way? Rather than charting a pathway that is being reshaped constantly in the present workplace, why not build a positive framework that leads to exploration, engagement, and enthusiasm.

 venn diagram

Passion: What is that thing that you would do for the rest of your life even if you didn’t get paid?

Skills/Abilities: What are the talents that uniquely set you apart from others?

Experience/Opportunities: What trends are presently occurring in the marketplace and what opportunities and experiences have you engaged?

My own self-model earlier in life would have been – “I want to be a lawyer because I like to talk and I want to make money”. Yet, a life in law could have proved to be a great detriment, particularly if I had no passion for the law, no desire to study, and expected that every lawyer comes right out of school making great money.

Or what about the quintessential juvenile ambition of being a pro athlete, singer, actor – it is wonderful that I am passionate for these things, but what if I lack talent – it isn’t a fit! Further, when I recognize that very few people ever “make” it in these performance industries – I have to come to grips with the reality that likely is not my fit either.

Fit is not about a job, it is about a pathway. I have been a politico, event coordinator, communications specialist, recruiter, minister, coach, and teamwork facilitator. Each of those jobs was a fit because I am passionate about helping people as they work to achieve their potential. Each of those jobs was a fit because the skills I hold are Strong Communication Skills, Initiative, Flexibility, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Passion for Learning, and Listening Skills. Further this pathway was a fit because I continued there were opportunities available and I was able to build a growing level of experience through volunteering, education, and training.

Whether you are 6 or 60, it is never too early or too late to begin exploring the realities of yourself and the world you inhabit. I encourage you to Dream Big, Know Yourself, and Investigate the World Around You! In doing so, you will find the “sweet spot” for your work life, it may not be a specific career but it will be a place where you can thrive!

What work discoveries have you made that allowed you to find your “sweet spot”? Share below!

I owe my soul to the company store

“You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store”

Most famously, these words were sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, but for a generation or more of workers, this song was the reality of life. You didn’t have a choice, the company store owned you. For the generation that followed things started to change. People didn’t owe their soul, so to speak, to the company store but they still worked their entire career at a single employer. And when they retired they received a golden watch and a pat on the back. The generation that followed that has found themselves in a shifting workplace, mergers and acquisitions, plant closings, businesses going bankrupt, but largely a single (or few) career path(s) in their career. And then it all changed.

Recently I came across an estimate that Millennials would change careers on average approximately 7 times – CAREER change, not job change! How do you prepare for a career, when the likelihood is that path won’t even last very long? Further, with estimates that of the jobs present in the marketplace in about 10 years, only half currently exist, how do you plan?

This was part of the conversation I had with a group of 8th graders at a local middle school during a recent “Career Fair”. If we want to prepare for the future, we can’t afford to think like the past. Rather than preparing for a particular job, the workers of the future, have to work to better understand themselves.

The framework I approach is pretty simple and is represented in the following Venn diagram:

venn diagram

Tomorrow, more on the model.