Career Development

Your future begins here. Check out these self-assessment tools.

‘… One cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths…  These strengths are the true opportunities’ (Drucker, 1967)

The Theory from Gallup:

Strengths-Based Career Development: Seven Checkpoints
1. Move from strength.
A. Assess your talents, knowledge, experience and capabilities. Sort out what you can learn from that which is innate and enduring.
B. Don’t rule out a career possibility because you lack knowledge or experience. Those things can almost always be acquired. Evaluate whether you have the needed strengths or talents instead.
C. Take a close look at why the role seems attractive to you. Resist being drawn to a role for the wrong reasons (for example, by prestige, glamour, or power). Make sure you love to do what the role requires.
2. Consider the possibilities.
A. Roles, organizations, and even entire industries are changing rapidly, so building flexibility into your career plan is more important than ever. Spend time considering the choices before you. This exploratory phase will help you become more aware of possible career options.
B. Ask for help if you are unsure of opportunities that exist inside your organization or community.
C. Seek the advice of others whose career progression has been broader than your own or whose work allows them to work with people in many different roles.
3. Define the expectations.
A. Once you have selected one or two possibilities, define specific expectations for each role.
B. Consider the talent, knowledge, and experience your target role requires. What tasks would you have to accomplish? What talents and knowledge will it take to be successful? What would you do in that role every day?
C. Sometimes, getting the role you want requires a different set of strengths than the role itself. Getting elected is one such example — the talents and skills needed to hold an office may differ from those required to run for office. Managing salespeople may be another: The skills required to succeed at sales are not the skills needed to manage highly successful salespeople. Consider what has to be accomplished to acquire the role. How well can you meet that challenge?
4. Candidly consider your “fit.”
A. Don’t gloss over the parts of the role you dislike or wouldn’t enjoy. While no role will “fit” you perfectly, the parts that don’t “fit” should be kept to a minimum, and they should reflect the more negotiable aspects of the job.
B. Ask yourself, what tasks would you perform every day? How closely are those aligned with what you do best?
C. Don’t attempt this step alone. Seek input from your Career Board or from individuals who know you well and who are willing to help you with this process.
5. Define an action plan.
A. Once you’ve locked onto your goal, it’s time to plan. What are the things you must you do to prepare for this position? And how can you attain it, once you are ready?
6. Build a constituency.
A. Think about the people who can help you land your target role. Do you already know those people, or do you need to find ways to connect with them?
B. Identify the support you will need to be successful. Whose help will you need once you’ve attained your target role?
7. Measure your performance.
A. Chart your progress on your action plan. As you check off your current steps, identify the next three.
B. If your long-term goal requires interim steps, you may need to celebrate smaller successes as you go. These are excellent times to connect with your Career Board and other supporters.
C. Finally, continually reassess how your long-term goals relate to your career plan. At each step, consider whether you’re still happy with your overall direction, or whether you might have learned some things about the role or about yourself that might cause you to change your course. Failure to self-correct may lead you to token success — you may achieve your initial goal, but discover your priorities have changed in the interim.

Success comes from habits

There is a short, but excellent article summarizing Tom Corley’s research he published in his best-selling book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,” on what financially successful people do in comparison to lower earning individuals. I have added my own commentary to several, but do read his article.

  • They get up early
    Well begun, half done, so goes the saying. It is not getting up early that matters as much as what you do when you are up. Getting up early allows for several other habits take hold–exercise, reading, quiet contemplation. One excellent practice is known as morning pages whereby you aim to write 750 words fist thing.
  • They spend 15 to 30 minutes each day on focused thinking
    Perhaps this can be split into two parts: Focused thing vis-a-vis your goals and tasks at hand, and focused attending to yourself such as a mindful practice. Tim Ferris figures 85% of his guests on his excellent podcast have some sort of contemplative practice.
  • They make exercise a priority
    Research shows Cardio exercise is not just good for the heart and waist, but your brain as well from stress and anxiety to depression and many others. Watch John Ratey explain

And exercising is very good for the brain:

    • They spend time with people who inspire them
      Role models and mentors are powerful inspiration. Chris Peterson famously summed a life worth living as “Other People Matter:

The Greater Good Society reports that “Results from some studies—as well as end-of-life conversations—indicate that many people count their relationships as the most meaningful part of their lives, even when those relationships are difficult or strained.” There is one special relationship that matters: Mentors:

  • They pursue their own goals
    The Ritz Carelton has curated seven great TED Talks  on goal-setting and how to follow through on your dreams.

1) Keep your goals to yourself by Derek Sivers

In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares psychological evidence about the importance of keeping your goals quiet. You’ll have a better chance of following through on your plans if you don’t share them with others.

2) Try Something New for 30 Days by Matt Cutts

In this three-minute TED Talk, the speaker shows how small steps can lead to big adventures. Inviting activity into your life seems to lead to a richer experience.

3) 5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams by Bel Pesce

In this six-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares five lines of thought that will keep you from reaching your goals, and she also emphasizes the significance of the journey.

4) Four Keys for Setting and Achieving Goals by William Barr

In this eight-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how he was able to build one of the nation’s largest home improvement companies.

5) If You Want to Achieve Your Goals, Don’t Focus on Them by Reggie Rivers

In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how focusing on the goals can actually prevent you from achieving your goals. By focusing on your behaviors, you will be more driven to follow through.

6) The Key to Success? Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth

In this 6-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how grit is a key ingredient for success. She encourages the audience to live life as a marathon and not a sprint.

7) The Power of Believing That You Can Improve by Carol Dweck

In this 11-minute TED Talk, the speaker shares how adopting a growth mindset can open you up to greater success. She encourages the audience to see a challenge as a “yet” opportunity.

  • They get enough sleep
    You need sleep to draw on vitality. Tom Rath explains getting Fully Charged:

  • They have multiple incomes
    Obviously financial wealth requires income. Multiple incomes take precedence especially if they are self-sustaining. Tim Ferris explains in his book the Four Hour Work Week.

  • They avoid times wasters
    Hopefully you do not see this blog as a time waster. Even the pope has spoken out against Digital Media filters: “When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously,” he wrote in the letter.