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Your Journey Begins

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

Say it isn’t so! I actually am going to ask you, the reader, to begin doing some self-reflection. Don’t stop reading, please! Have some fun with it, and look at it as an opportunity to take some time just for you. We all know there is absolutely no time in this 24/7 environment for us to take time for ourselves. There are the kids, the partner, the parents, the work, the friends, the obligations. UGH…just thinking about it makes my head spin! My vote… take some time for YOU. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, at least you know it’s time for you and no one else. Heck, how are you going to determine what might be next for you in your career if you don’t take some time to work on yourself? I promise it will not be painful. Who knows, you might even learn something about yourself. Oh no! Say it isn’t so!!

Before we begin our journey through The Get Real Guide to Your Career, let’s get something clear up front. As I coach people who are looking for new work, I often hear them say, “I want to find my passion,” or, “I want to absolutely love my work,” or, “I want to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed because I can’t wait to get to my work.” Now, this may come as a surprise to most; however, my response is, Why? Don’t get me wrong…if people can find their passion like Bruce Springsteen and others have, I am all for it. That’s a gift, and very difficult to get. Only a very small segment of the population can claim absolute love and devotion to their work. So why set yourself up for failure right from the beginning?

What’s wrong with truly liking your work AND liking your entire, full life? If Oprah heard me say this I am sure she would not be very happy with me. She has been very fortunate to find her passion and to create her entire life around that passion, and to do wonderful things along the way. Good for her!!! With that said… I get tired of hearing: find your passion and the money will come or, once you find your passion, your life will be complete or, live your passion and success will follow. Are ya kidding me?

How about finding work that is very satisfying, and uses the skills and natural talents you have and want to use? I am proposing that you can actually look at your work as only one aspect of your life. Don’t forget about the other parts – your relationship with family and friends – your health and fitness – your fun time – your spiritual self – your ‘you’ time – your volunteer time – your hobby time – your whatever-you-want time. Let’s face it, there are more things in life than our work. My guess is that when you are ready for the final roundup, you won’t be wishing you’d spent more time at work. My hope is that you can allow yourself to have a full life with a rewarding career that enhances your life and doesn’t detract from it.

Let the journey begin…


As we begin our walk through The Get Real Guide, keep in mind that we want you to do these exercises from the perspective of where you are today. Think of it as starting from a fresh place. Many of you will have done some of this work in the past and may think, why should I do it again? The reason is…because you are at a different point in your life now. As you go through these exercises, think about your future, and the possibilities that lie ahead. Don’t get stuck in what you’ve done, or what has happened in the past. Look at this as a new adventure – one that will provide you something new in your life. Have some fun with it, and please don’t stop reading…

Okey…dokey…first things first…your values. Feeling fulfilled and happy in your work has a lot to do with whether that work aligns with your values. What are values? Your core beliefs. The things you must have in order to be your best. Some examples – trust, harmony, excellence, innovation, fun, risk-taking, collaboration, connection. Take a moment and list your top five values.

What are those things about which you will absolutely not compromise? Yes, it is hard. And yes, it is worth it. If it is tough to list just five, list as many as you can and then review and evaluate them. Then narrow your list down to your five core values.
Why is it so important to define your values when looking for new work? As you meet with new people and consider new organizations, it is imperative that you are able to determine whether your values are in sync. Think about it, have you ever worked for an organization where your values and the values of that organization were no longer aligned? What happened for you? Eventually, the realization is so clear that it is difficult to come to work and do your job in the best way possible. This is exactly what happened to me, and why I hold so strongly to this belief of mapping values.

I worked for a large organization for 13 years and probably stayed 2 years too long. When I joined, my values and the organization’s values were completely aligned. It was about doing whatever it takes to get the job done. It was about feeling connected with my colleagues and challenged to always do the best possible job. People truly were the number one asset for this company and they were treated as such. It wasn’t just a cliché. As the organization grew, the values became diluted. It was still a good organization, I just kept wondering, why am I not as excited to come to work each day? I couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t imagine what was going on for me. Of course, I attempted to ignore it, thinking it might go away and that I was reading something into the situation. Isn’t it fun to do that? Well…eventually it was obvious. I was so sad, too. I left an organization where I thought I would spend my entire career. I didn’t want to believe it. And, as I said, I probably stayed 2 years too long. So, pay attention to your values.

Be certain that your values are a key factor in your decision to accept an opportunity and join an organization. Or you can do what I did…and just start your own business. Now if my values don’t map to the values of PeopleThink, I am in deep trouble!! Tee-hee…tee-hee…

I’d say this is enough for one sitting. I’ll see you soon, when we look at the skills you want to use…and the natural talents you must use.

By the way, I would love to hear from you on the passion topic. Do you believe people have to find their passion in their work to have a successful life?

Till the next time…Don’t Stop Believing!

Karen

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