3 Essential Steps to Make Informed Career Decisions

3 Essential Steps to Make Informed Career Decisions

3 Essential Steps to Make Informed Career Decisions

Secrets to Career Success

Meet Mollie, she is a busy mid-career professional who holds a high-stress position with a large company and is struggling to define her professional identity and feel secure in her career decisions. 

She wishes she woke up feeling fulfilled and energized to tackle her goals, but there’s just one problem – she’s not entirely sure what her goals are for her future. Because of that, Mollie is often consumed by negative thoughts and worries about the uncertainty of her indecisions. She is lacking presence in her relationships and with herself and feels stuck sitting at hesitation station. 

What she really wants is to gain clarity and confidence so that she can move forward, let go of the past, and find more meaning along her career path, instead of making excuses. Ultimately Mollie wants to live her life to the fullest, get unstuck for good, and be happy and successful in her work-life.

You might be able to relate to ALL or parts of Mollie’s experience. You are not alone. Mollie took action by making the decision to invest in a career coach to help her gain clarity, confidence, and direction she needed to get unstuck and move forward. As a career coach, I wanted to share with you what I share with my career coaching clients, here are my top 3 Essential Steps to Making Informed Career Decisions!

1. Become Self-Aware

Searching for the right career path requires establishing a career plan. A critical part of the career planning process is becoming self-aware, before even identifying career options and making important career decisions. Finding a path for your career that is meaningful and satisfying requires self-assessment to gain the self-awareness you’ll need to make informed career decisions. This means exploring your true interests and passions, your values and personality preferences, as well as your strengths and transferable skills. 

WHO Before WHAT

Gaining clarity about WHO you are will naturally lead you in the right direction towards WHAT it is that you want to do. This holds true whether you are a recent graduate and just launching your career or if you are an early, mid or late-career professional who is looking for greater satisfaction in your current role or making a career change. There are several other factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to making important career decisions – Such as, what is your ideal work environment, what level of responsibility do you want and desire, and what are your salary requirements and preferences?

2. Career Planning 

Career planning helps you develop the “picture of your ideal job”. By exploring first WHO you are, followed by researching possible career and work options that fit your personality, you will be better equipped to consider economic realities and make important career decisions in a thoughtful way. 

The first step of career planning that will most certainly inform your career decisions, is to ask yourself a few questions that probably don’t initially seem very career-focused. By answering these 3 seemly simple questions, you will have more self-knowledge about your interests.

  • In your free time, what do you like to do
  • What are your hobbies? You may not have realized it until now, but many hobbies are also industries. Therefore, if you identify a favorite hobby, you may also have identified a favorite field. This applies whether you are just starting out or itching for a change. 
  • When friends come to you for help with problems or questions, what are the kinds of problems or questions for which they seek your advice?

Create The Life You Envision

It is possible to transform your interests into job targets. This is a process that I coach my career coaching clients through to help them create the kind of life that they envision for themselves. Especially those who feel like they are stuck in a rut and want to do something that feels more like they are truly making a difference at the end of the day. The focus is on both self-understanding and gaining knowledge about the job market. 

The second key step of the career planning process is to identify your strengths and transferable skills. What makes a transferable skill a strength is when you identify the skill as something you are highly proficient in and that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, and it’s not important to you, then it’s not a true strength. 

What Are Transferable Skills? 

They are the basic building blocks of a job that are not rooted in any particular field or content. A transferable skill is a developed aptitude or ability and is considered a functional skill. I help my clients identify their top 5 transferable skills through a combination of formal and informal assessments. This brings clarity, validation, and confidence to their strengths and ability to move to the next steps of career goal setting.

3. Develop An Action Plan

The third step is to know that career decision-making is a process that takes time. It involves retrieving comparative information about career options, testing assumptions and drawing conclusions, and looking at the pros and cons of the different job targets that have been identified. And finally, to develop a comprehensive action plan that showcases both your strengths and accomplishments so that you are following a career path that is meaningful and satisfying, and supports your lifestyle.

Set Yourself Up For Success

If you truly want to get a head start in your career, whether you are just starting out or making a significant career change, first you have to be willing to explore who you are on a deeper level. What you are choosing to do for a living is not just a job that provides a paycheck, it is something that inspires you and motivates you to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life

The career planning and decision-making process is not a fast-track to success; however, if you take the time to gain clarity about your requirements and preferences you will set yourself up for long-term success, not just short-term gratification. 

And lastly, feeling confident in the decisions you make about your life and your future is empowering. When you feel empowered it shows in your actions and success is accelerated along your chosen career path because you are more focused, strategic, and values-driven. 

Once Mollie was able to identify and acknowledge her true strengths and values, her confidence in herself grew and her motivation for creating positive change in her life became unstoppable. She began to advocate for herself more at work and received a promotion that provided her with the level of responsibility and support that she desired. She also gained greater clarity about the skill areas that she wants to further develop and as a result, she created a short term and long-term plan for her success.

Mollie is happy in her new role and trusts that her career planning will keep her from feeling stuck. She has a renewed sense of purpose at work that has positively influenced other important areas of her life. 

You can find this level of support and success in your own career journey!

I believe in you and your success,
Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT, CCTC, CCC, GCDF, CDBS

 

Teena Evert M.A., LMFT, CCTC, CCC, GCDF, CDBS is a certified career coach, conversational intelligence coach, and licensed therapist who specializes in helping her clients create greater clarity, confidence, happiness, and success in their life and career. If you are stuck, recently graduated, dreaming of a career change and don’t know where to start, in need of interview preparation or a resume and personal branding critique, she can help.

Let’s  Talk

Related Post by Teena!

3 Essential Steps to Make Informed Career Decisions

3 Essential Steps to Make Informed Career Decisions

Do you feel like you’re waiting on success in your career? Do you want to learn more about yourself and the right career path for you? Are you interested in taking that “next step” whatever it might be? On the Love, Happiness and Success blog – Career Coach, Teena Evert shares her 3 top tips for making informed career decisions.

Do What You Love

Do What You Love

How to create a career that’s in alignment with who you are, what you enjoy, and what you’re good at, (AND that earns you a living) on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

A Self-Care Plan to Cultivate Calm

A Self-Care Plan to Cultivate Calm

You plan your day, meetings, outings, grocery list, and events – but are you taking the time to plan your self-care? We are all busy, but forgetting to take care of yourself is a sure-fire way to burnout and neglect your personal health. Here is a self-care checklist from a therapist and life coach who understands wanting to “balance it all.”

What is Self Love?

What is Self Love?

What is self-love? What is the importance of self-love? Important questions, because self-love is the key to personal empowerment. Learn how to practice radical self-love and watch the transformation in your life and relationships.

How to Build Positive Coworker Relationships

How to Build Positive Coworker Relationships

How to Build Positive Coworker Relationships

Developing Your Soft Skills

Fewer things impact your overall satisfaction with your job than the quality of the coworker relationships you have with your peers and leadership. Research into workplace satisfaction reported by MIT’s Sloan Management Review indicates that having positive coworker relationships can increase your creativity, make you more resilient emotionally, and enjoy your work more. All of these help you feel more connected to your career, your workplace and enjoy your job. 

In contrast, feeling disconnected (or worse, in conflict) with your coworkers leads to disengagement from your work, reduced sense of satisfaction with or loyalty to your organization, lower productivity, more stress, and even a toxic workplace environment.

Having positive coworker relationships is vitally important. Playing well with others matters. Here are some tips to developing soft skills that I share with my career coaching clients on how to strengthen coworker relationships– no matter where your work takes place!

Prioritize Positive Interactions

It’s true, technology has interfered with building these important relationships at work. Messaging, email, and virtual meetings often replace chatting together in the breakroom or casual conversations in the hallway. This can create an absence of friendly small talk that leads to closer connections. Particularly if you work at home, you may feel that your interactions with your coworkers are limited to “all business, all the time.”

But even those working in a traditional workplace setting find building effective relationships to be difficult to create and navigate. Particularly when your day is packed with meetings and deliverables, it can be hard to find the time to connect with a coworker on a human-to-human level.

Thankfully, the simplest, most effective relationship-building tools take almost no time at all. Smiling (emojis count), friendly greetings, expressions of empathy, words of appreciation, and questions that convey your interest in the other person as a human being will go a long way in building trust and rapport with your coworkers.

Respect Differences

Not everyone views a work project the same as you do. It’s OK to disagree. Be sure you use a respectful tone and if you are angry, slow down. Consider the best time and approach for voicing your opinion.

Think Positive

Have you ever worked with someone who pretty much killed every idea you’ve ever presented? If so, you know how tough working on their team can be and how little engagement you’ll want with this coworker. Bring good questions and bring solutions to the table for your concerns.

Acknowledge Your Coworkers

A simple “good morning” or “how was your weekend?” is often all it takes. Planning a breaktime walk or coffee together can be a great way to get to know the people you work with everyday.

Practice Listening

Hear your coworkers out, don’t interrupt in meetings, ask for clarification of ideas and let your coworkers know you’re listening. Learning to effectively listen will open conversation up organically. 

Keep Your Commitments

Your work affects everyone on the team. If you commit to a timeline for completing a project, make it happen. Coworkers quickly learn who can be trusted to get their work finished on time.

Share Credit Where Credit is Due

Nothing kills trust like stealing coworkers’ ideas and presenting them as your own. It will be tough to rebuild trust, and your teammates may begin to withhold important ideas and information from you as a result. If it’s your idea, shine. If it’s not, let someone else shine.

What skill will you practice this week? Share with us in the comments section below!

Wishing you success,
Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT

Linda Pounds, M.A, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach at Growing Self. She works with individuals and couples who face the challenge of merging their work lives with personal lives and the impact each has on the other. Her work with leaders and leadership teams includes Emotional Intelligence (EI) Coaching and assessments, leading to a positive impact on individuals and organizations.

Let’s  Talk

Read More by Linda

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How to Find Your Purpose in Life

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Living Intentionally

In addition to my role as a therapist and life coach here at Growing Self, I absolutely love hearing your questions and answering them on The Love, Happiness and Success Blog and Podcast. Late summer is a transformational season, and  I know that many people are asking themselves hard questions about who they are, and what they want to do with their lives. I know this for a fact, actually, because lately we’ve had listeners of the blog and podcast reaching out with specific questions like:

“How do you find your purpose in life?”

“What to do when you feel you have no purpose in life?”

“I want to find a meaningful job/direction in my life, but I don’t know how to work out what that would be!”

“I would like to know more about how to know your on the right path. And not making decisions out of fear.”

“I want to feel alive and excited about life again but I’m so used to isolating and hiding/numbing out. How do I find happiness? Nothing’s bad but nothings great- it’s all just kind of blah.”

How do you find your calling/purpose?” 

These are big questions, but important ones. If you too have been looking for clarity and direction about your life’s purpose, your career, or who you fundamentally are as a person (and how to create the life you want) today I have a treat for you!

Embracing Your Power + Finding Your Purpose

On today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m talking all about how to not JUST find your purpose and highest calling, but how to start living your life with self-awareness and intention. Specifically, we’re discussing:

  • Why your ultimate purpose in life is bigger than your career
  • How to fully embrace the amount of power you already have to design the life you want
  • How to uncover the unconscious beliefs and messages that have been leading to life circumstances you don’t want
  • Targeted questions to help you get clear about what your truth is
  • The importance of deliberately living in congruence with your highest and best
  • How to develop self-awareness and mindfulness strategies that will allow you to take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • How living intentionally and in congruence with your values leads to authentic happiness

If you have been feeling stuck lately and are struggling to find clarity and direction in life, I hope you listen to this episode.

With love and respect,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Ps: One of the strategies I offered on this episode involves thinking about times that you experience “flow” and using that as a clue to where your passions and talents lie. What are your “flow moments?” Share with us!

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Fruit & Flowers, Inside Decides”

Enjoy This Episode?

Please Rate, Review, and Share The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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The Impact of Emotional Intelligence

The Impact of Emotional Intelligence

The Impact of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is The Game-Changer

 

UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AT WORK: Emotional intelligence (or, “EI” for short) drives your success at work. On a personal level, your career aspirations can stall or get entirely off track without emotional intelligence. However, emotional intelligence impacts entire organizations too. Without leaders who have high levels of emotional intelligence, organizations are negatively impacted through strained employee and customer relationships, higher turnover rates, and often lower bottom line results.

One Leader’s Journey to Emotional Intelligence

As a career coach and leadership coach, I have a front row seat to observe just how impactful the presence or absence of emotional intelligence can be. I know from my work with individual leaders as well as organizations and management teams, that having even just one leader committed to improving their levels of emotional intelligence will affect your entire group. 

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Here’s a real-world example of how to develop emotional intelligence.

I once had a leadership coaching client I’ll call Jim, who was in a leadership position at a large, successful tech organization. Showing toughness and determination were obvious strengths for this leader and had played a huge part in his advancing to high levels in the tech industry.

But, after a certain level, what Jim knew how to do — being firm and direct, hardheaded and focused on results — wasn’t working out for him anymore. It was easy to see that this 46-year-old leader had stopped moving forward and was stalled out in their current mid-management job, unhappy, and constantly wondering why the VP position wasn’t offered.

Even though Jim was working as hard as ever and driving his team towards even greater goals, there had been no mention of moving into levels of higher responsibility since joining the company 3 years ago. Jim was genuinely mystified: Couldn’t everyone see his advanced tech skills, his grinding work ethic, his name brand school, and impressive resume?

“Company sales were up, my team likes me, I make sure we do a happy hour every week— so why no promotions?” this executive questioned.  “And it was all but stated in my interviews that with hard work, meeting quotas and building a strong sales team, a promotion to VP was an opportunity that would be there.”

As if the frustration and disappointment that was mounting at work weren’t enough, Jim’s relationships at home with his wife and kids were unhappy. His wife suggested they try couples counseling. (Jim felt this was entirely unnecessary…. at first).  

Emotional Intelligence is Often a Blind Spot For Leaders

What was creating so many problems for Jim was that he had zero awareness around how other people were feeling in their interactions with him. This was true for his co-workers, reports, leadership, and his wife and kids too.

Yes, Jim had a lot of impressive tech knowledge, skills, and fun personality (in a back-slapping kind of way) but these positives were overshadowed by his inability to be aware of and manage strong emotions or show empathy to those on the team. He had always viewed his fist pounding, demands, and tendency to talk over peers and customers instead of listening as “his style.”  He did not understand that his way of relating to other people was getting in the way of forming collaborative relationships, goodwill, and cooperation — both at work, and at home. 

Emotional Intelligence Coaching: The Lightbulb Goes Off

The organization had also reached its limits with this leader and suggested that emotional intelligence (EI) coaching and leadership coaching would be beneficial.  Not particularly a happy camper during our first meeting, this changed over time and good things started happening!

Before getting involved in Emotional Intelligence coaching, Jim, like many, genuinely believed that his outgoing personality, and drive for success,  paired with a strong set of software development skills and experience should be enough to advance his career. However, Jim was also a smart guy, and he was open to trying something different when he could see for himself that his usual way of doing things wasn’t working out. [For more on this, check out “How to Get Ahead at Work“]

The first step of our emotional intelligence coaching work consisted of  360 emotional intelligence survey assessment called the ESCI, which would help us to understand the impact Jim was having on those around him. As part of my assessment process, I interviewed Jim’s current manager and had his sales team, peers, and several customers all complete an online survey providing invaluable (anonymous) feedback.

In the first meeting to review survey results, a lightbulb went on for this leader.  Though it was tough to hear that the ambition, drive, and force that were self-described strengths could also be viewed as limitations, it was obvious that this leader’s behaviors were getting in the way of a high-level promotion and success at work. It wasn’t the ambition and drive that was negative; it was the expression of those (impatience, yelling, over-focus on output at the expense of people) that was a problem. However, with Jim’s newfound self-awareness he could now understand them as the career-limiting behaviors that they were and change could begin.

Emotional Intelligence Can Be Learned

Through coaching and determined practice, this manager improved key leadership skills. One skill area that was notably low on the assessment (and a total “blind spot”) was mentoring and coaching employees. What a great change on the sales team when they began to see their leader had more interest in how they could each grow at work and made sure they got what they needed to be successful. Jim’s sincere interest in how people were doing (and the ability to listen and understand) went much further towards building moral and positive relationships than his happy hour.

Most importantly, Jim learned that leaders need to manage conflict effectively.  This manager’s emotional intelligence survey results were clear: a better way to handle inevitable work conflicts needed to happen, especially with the sales team and customers. (Interestingly, survey outcomes showed this leader managed conflicts more effectively with peers and with his own manager.) Being more self-aware meant better self-management, which meant no more fist-pounding or loud-voiced demands, which meant far better workplace relationships. Instead, Jim learned to recognize and manage his own feelings, and show (and feel) empathy and consideration for the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of others.

It took a lot of practice to change old habits and stitch together change, but Jim was able to put his core strengths of intelligence, determination, and hard work to great use. He was successful.

The Benefit of Emotional Intelligence Coaching

As is my process in emotional intelligence coaching and leadership coaching, I checked back in with Jim and his company. According to the organization some months later, company-wide positive changes had been experienced because of Jim’s turnaround. Customers were more satisfied (at least in part) as a result of this one leader’s understanding of their impact in the workplace. Key employees were more productive. They’d reduced turnover. Leadership was happy.

Jim was happy too. Because of his long-standing ability to be resilient and manage change, he was able to drive his career to the next level. He got that promotion. But perhaps even more importantly, he’d also strengthened relationships with his wife and family. Jim’s new understanding of the importance of emotions, how to be more sensitive to the feelings of others, ability to listen, and to communicate more respectfully touched every area of his life in a very positive way. 

Jim can do it, and you can too! I hope this story inspires you to develop emotional intelligence in yourself. It’s worth it.

Sincerely,

Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT, Certified EI Coach

 

HEALTHY PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS | Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT is a relationship expert and certified emotional intelligence coachwith years of experience as a marriage counselor, executive coach, and leadership coach. She’s here to help you cultivate positive relationships in every area of your life. Learn more about Linda…

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