Work-Life 11/5/2015

Where I’ve Been And Where I’m Going: 3 Reasons Why We Fail To Connect The Dots To Our Future by LJA

How will you give away your life? Sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? But that’s how we measure life - through time. We put a value on that time and hope that whatever it is we get out of it is equal or greater to what effort we put out.

And, when it comes to career planning it’s no wonder that the stark realities mentioned above make it, at times, debilitating and paralyzing. As children, we fantasize about the roles we’ll get to play: the rescuer, the caretaker, the giver, the advisor, etc. But then, as we get older, we learn that there are so many implications that not just make career planning a touchy subject, but one that is hard to wrap our minds around.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be so frightening or confusing. Direction comes from knowing where we are at now on the career map and understanding how we got here. This, as simple as it seems, is where all the trouble begins. Here’s why:

1. Seeing The Difference: Quantifying Our Value

It’s hard to quantify what we give versus what we receive. And, people who can do this seem to have all the luck in getting what they want. When I am with clients, I ask them to quantify their experience in a specific and measurable way. This means, quite simply, how did things improve as a result of my specific contribution?

Why do most resumes look depressing and unappealing? Because people put more emphasis on what they do instead of why and how. For what purpose and to what end? Can’t answer that question? Believe me, you’re not alone.

When we are aware of the value we give, we’re comfortable for asking for what we need - and more. The inability to make sense of the past creates a foggy future - and guess what? That brings me to part two.

2. Connecting The Dots: Creating Meaning And Writing The Next Step

How does it all add up? Can’t’ do your own math? Don’t expect others to do it for you.

As an expert in resume and portfolio construction, I can see the story of the career and how it all adds up. People from all over the world ask me to look at their resumes because they need this perspective. This lack of perspective is expensive because it costs future opportunities and present career happiness.

Where is the need? Where were the struggles and growth opportunities? And where were the breakthroughs? They all tie together in a cohesive way, but we can sell ourselves short because of the disjointed view of our past and ultimately of ourselves. Those who do not understand their past are doomed to repeat it. Career planning is about creating new experiences - not about reliving old ones that have lost their flavor.

3. Betting On Ourselves: Developing Self Esteem Through Understanding

With that said, lacking a full understanding of the value of our past and present experiences can wreak havoc on self esteem and our ability to take risks and bet on ourselves. It’s like trying to sell something without knowing why it’s useful and how it works. The catch is, we’re selling ourselves to ourselves in hopes of convincing ourselves that we’re worth a better opportunity. Some people see their past experiences as strong of failures and others see steps along the path of personal growth. Which camp will you bet on when it comes to growing your business?

Taking steps to honor your growth experiences and glean the valuable insight and wisdom from them is key to developing career-oriented self confidence. The self confidence that stems from a deep sense of value given and wisdom attained to apply to future situations is what makes career planning easier and dare I say, joyful and exciting. Knowing where you’ve been and where you are now - and, more importantly, why - creates a peace that few have the pleasure of knowing. And it’s peace of mind that makes deciding what to experience next a fundamental cornerstone of developing new professional horizons.

When thinking about the future, take a moment to reflect on all of the resources you’ve attained and the value that you have shared. This is the launching point for future success because knowing our worth and believing in ourselves today means that we are willing to bet on our future selves for tomorrow.

Coach Leslie’s Question To Ask Yourself:

1.    When I think about planning my career do I feel overwhelmed, scared, or nervous? Where does this feeling come from? What can it tell me about what I need to know now in order to move forward?

2.    Am I able to quantify my professional experience? Can I specifically tell potential business partners/employers how I have made a difference as a result of my work?

3.    Knowing the specific, measurable value that I offer my industry, am I paid less than, equal to, or greater than the value that I give? How can I assure greater output for my contribution?

4.    Do I understand my professional history? Do I rely on others to do that job for me? What does my professional journey say about my choices and beliefs? Is there anything that needs to be emphasized or changed in order to move forward?

5.    Do I feel confident to communicate my value and wisdom attained from my growth experiences? What key areas of knowledge can I pass down? How does my contribution make a difference?

6.    Would I objectively bet on myself based on my ability to communicate my value and tell my story? Why or why not?