This week I taught a one-day workshop entitled How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. It was a career planning and development workshop.
I always start with class introductions and the two questions I want to know are:
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What do you need to take away from this workshop?
The first question is a fun one. The answers are usually a bit outlandish, like a princess, or an actor. Rarely does someone do the job now that they wished for as a child. It does provide a bit of perspective for me thought.
The second one is helpful for me as a facilitator. I need to know what my audience wants. For this one the answers are largely the same: I want to know if I’m on the right path.
This is one that all of us have or all of us will wrestle with. It comes from a wake-up moment when you realize how fast time has gone and how little you may have left. Then you want to know how to make the most of it.
If you’re wondering if you’re on the right path, I’d suggest asking yourself the following questions:
- How did you wind up in the job or career you have now? This is a big one. Did you pick this job or career as a stepping stone to something else or did you end up here?
- Have you identified a clear career goal that involves, as a foundation, something that’s really important to you? Most satisfying careers are aligned with a passion you have for something. Mine is aimed toward developing the next great generation of managers.
- Is the career or job you’re in aligned with your values? Your values are those things that define you and influence your decisions. Values come from our upbringing and the shaping forces from that upbringing. If those align with your job or career, you probably have some peace about where you’re at. If not, then it’s probably a big reason you’re unhappy.
- Who selected the career you’re in now? If it was a person or a circumstance, go back to that moment and reflect on what happened. My first career, a dental assistant in the Navy was selected for me through the circumstance of a poor economy and a somewhat deceitful Navy recruiter. Had I stayed that course I’m certain I’d be wondering if I was on the right path today.
These four questions are a starting point. The workshop I teach fleshes all of these questions out and more. You can begin to get some clarity by honestly answering the four questions.
Your work and career occupy the majority of your best hours. Why not take some steps today to figure out if it’s the best fit for you?