When was the last time you considered what really lights your fire when it comes to work?
Daily family life is full of distractions, emergencies, and the priorities of people other than you. Amongst the beautiful madness that is parenting, finding the space to consider what really floats your boat when it comes to work may seem close to impossible sometimes. It can feel big, and it can feel confusing, and this is why it often gets put into the “too hard basket”.
The bad news is, it may never feel like there’s time to figure this out.
The good news is, the process is more straight-forward than you think, and the fulfilment that follows is great fuel for your soul that can make the entire work/home juggle feel more palatable and worthwhile.
If, like me, you weren’t born with the divine knowledge of the perfect career for your personality, family situation, professional history or values, or you feel that becoming a parent has changed your perspective on work and life, the following five strategies have been designed with you in mind. Creating some time to engage with them will get you started on a path towards career clarity.
1. Re-discover what matters most.
What do you really care about when it comes to work? Is it creating stuff? Fixing stuff? Solving problems? Organising stuff? Knowing what is important to you when it comes to work (in addition to flexibility which is a given for working parents), can be an important and revealing first step. Think back to your previous and current roles (parenting included) and capture down what kinds of work tends to tickle your pickle the most.
2. Reconnect with what helps you to thrive.
One of the benefits of reflecting on your past work experiences is the knowledge of the types of people and work environments that tend to bring out the best (and worst) in you. Consider the types of people who inspire and support you to do your best work. Are they detail-oriented? Creative? Straight-shooters? Innovators? What work environments light you up? High-pressure? Deadline-driven? Friendly? Dynamic? Stable? Do you prefer working on your own or in a team?
3. Re-acquaint yourself with your unique strengths.
One of the smartest things you can do is to get re-acquainted with your signature strengths. And I don't mean run-of-the-mill, everyone-says-the-same-thing on their CV kinds of strengths, I mean the capabilities and qualities that make you, an obvious fit for some jobs, and not others.
Re-acquainting with your signature strengths is not only a smart strategy to help you to figure out potential jobs with a great fit for someone with your character, it is also confidence building. And being clear on your unique strengths will be very handy when down the track you need to convince a sceptical stranger that you’re the best person for a job that you’ve got your heart set on.
4. Become au fait with your knowledge and interests.
With life experience comes the accumulation of knowledge and a number of interests. Sometimes, there’s gold to be found in exploring both of these areas. You might have lost touch with the knowledge you have gained during your career (which may have spanned up to 20 years pre-kids), and you may have even lost touch with your personal interests outside of your children. Some hobbies should remain as hobbies, but others may hold little nuggets of insight into industries or roles that you’d absolutely thrive in.
5. Be a curious explorer.
Strategies 1-4 involve a lot of discovery, and adopting a mindset of curiosity and exploration will serve you well as you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together. As you explore, look for overlaps in the insights you’re uncovering. Research as much as you can about the career options that emerge – dig around online, speak to friends, shadow someone who is doing what you are interested in doing.
Discovering and finding work that feeds your soul and pays the bills isn’t always easy, and there never seems enough time to figure it out effectively. But we believe that there is always time to do what matters most, and that being fulfilled at work and at home is the best foundation to thrive as a working parent.
Some people report getting clarity about their career in one divine moment of inspiration. For the rest of us, there's a process we can follow to help us to get clearer, faster. In our Career Clarity program, we walk you through this process step-by-step over 4 chapters, and give you the discovery tools and support to put it all into action. If you like the idea of being supported with knowledge, inspiration, evidence-based strategies and downloadable discovery tools, access a free episode of our Career Clarity Program today and get started on the first step towards career clarity!