5 Career Critical Questions
We ask ourselves dozens of questions each day: what will I have for lunch, have I got time for exercise, what will I wear to the meeting? These questions are all important. They shape who we are and influence the type of life we lead day by day.
But we often don’t pause to think about the big questions; the real questions that allow us to create a life that if we were to look back on, 10 years from now, would fill us with a sense of pride and fulfillment.
We get busy and consumed by the day to day. We get caught up in raising a family, meeting deadlines, racing from one commitment to the next without critically assessing whether this is what we really want.
Here are 5 career critical questions I ask my clients to help them to examine their career. Take a few moments now to ask these questions of yourself. (Warning: You might be surprised by some of the answers.)
1. How happy and fulfilled am I with my current job, out of 10?
I love this question. Be honest with yourself when you consider this one. It is ok whatever the number is. If the number is frighteningly low then we know we have some work to do and some changes to make. At least now we know what we are working with and you can get real about what you can do to increase it.
2. What, more than anything, do I want from my career?
Think about where you want your career to be 10 year from now. What will you be doing? Will it be exactly the same as what you are doing now? If it is not…. what steps will you need to take to achieve this shift in your career?
Will you be leading a team? What will others be saying about how you lead and what you contribute to the team, the organisation or even the industry?
Visualising your future is a powerful strategy for identifying a clear pathway forward.
3. What does success look like to me?
Our “criteria for success” is different for all of us. For some it is to secure a high paying role, for others it is achieving happy harmony at home while also contributing to a challenging role at work. Whatever it is, it is just perfect for you. Don’t let anyone else’s definition of success cloud your own judgment and the path you take.
4. What specific aspects of my work do I love?
Get clear about what you are great at and what you love to do. They are very often the same … but not always. We some times become really good at tasks that we actually don’t enjoy. Some years ago I became known for my expertise in preparing for safety audits. I was very good at it … but found the work tedious and uninspiring.
When we find the “Sweet Spot” between what we are good at, what we love to do and what is our purpose in life… we become unstoppable. I wonder what your “Sweet Spot” is?
5. What can I do in the next 2 weeks to bring more joy, passion and fulfillment to my work?
This is where the rubber hits the road. Life is too short to merely drift along. Creating a career and life you love takes answering the tough questions of what you really want, then going out there and taking action.
Start small. It is often the 1% shifts that make the big difference in how much joy, passion and fulfillment we experience from our work.
So what can you do today, tomorrow or sometime in the next 2 weeks to create the changes you would like to see in your career? It might mean having a conversation with your boss about a project you would really love to work on, having coffee with a potential mentor or creating a 5 year plan for your career.
Life is too short to not be happy and fulfilled by your work. We spend so much of our time engaged in our work… we may as well enjoy it. Take the time now to reflect on how you would like it to be and start today to take the small (or giant leaps) to move toward creating a career and life you love.