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Only You Can Identify Success

When a client comes to me, often that first thing that they want me to help with is to fix their resume or to help them with interviewing. When this happens, the first thing that I do is ask the “Who is the audience that you want to talk to?” Often, this results in blank stares and mumbles, resulting in the “I don’t know” answer. Getting a sense of what your goal is is the key to being able to take the further actions that you need to. The problem is that few people actually know how to start attacking this question.

What this takes in order to knowing what you want to do starts off with listening to yourself, the small still voice inside you. Often, we go through life having experiences instead of considering how it affects us and how we feel about those situations. We think about how it looks to other people or what we are supposed to do in the eyes of our culture. Additionally, it is the expectations of our family, parents, spouse, or any other group that we are apart of that tends to have more sway with us in our decision-making. The less that we listen to our own needs and really consider what we want, the less likely it is that we will know what we want.

This is a relatively new cultural phenomenon. In the past, when things were more dire in the need for putting bread on the table, fewer people even considered this question. It was tough enough just to get through the day and to get to the end where you had all your basics met. In our modern culture, this is not really the case. For a vast majority of people in our country, we can at least have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat to be able to get through a day. But even for these people, it is not out of the question for people to even have the conversation with themselves about what is it that they truly want.

As we are growing up, the question of what we want to be when we grew up is usually looking for a defined answer, like a fireman or a ballerina (to use western culturally-defined appropriate answers to this question for boys and girls). What I think is really missing is for us to think about what we like, what we want to have happen, and what we enjoy doing. We don’t need to come up with the end name of a job that does that, but we do need to know what are these things that make us happy. Given the volatility of our working world, whatever job that we would think of when we were 10 years old probably won’t be there when we turn 23. It is much better for us to consider what is: 1) we do as a day-to-day function and keeps us busy, 2) who we interact with and 3) what result we want to find in the world. When we consider these things we can then come up with questions that we can then investigate in the rest of the world and talk with people to find out what the current reality is and where these gifts of ours can be utilized.

That being said, everyone has to decide for themselves what success looks like. If we take what is considered successful by others, such as our parents and our culture, we may get a result that looks like success in other people’s eyes, but makes us miserable. I have had many clients who have been able to answer the “what do I want to be when I grow up question”, yet when I ask the why do they want to do that, they usually look at their feet and mumble, because they don’t have a clear answer to that. That answer has come out from somebody else and not been generated by their own wants and needs.

As I’ve stated before, often you just need to think about what is inside you; listen to what your body is saying, and be present to that and don’t deny it. The concept of holistic career consulting is that people will take all the parts of them together when they’re making decisions about what direction their lives will take and what actions they will pursue to make that happen. If we are not present to our own needs and to our own joys we cannot really be fully are cells and engaged in the world, and therefore we will never be as successful as we could be.

I will be having a free webinar on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to discuss the matter of What Gift Are You Giving Yourself This Season where we will do some exercises to address this issue. To go deeper, I will be also having a whole-day workshop/retreat on Integrating Your Life and Work in January 2019. To get more information and register, go to the Resonare Consulting calendar.

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