Over the weekend I read a LinkedIn article about work life harmony. The author defined the term as having harmony between the two and not necessarily demanding two separate lives. This term arises after work-life balance has been a very hot topic as of recent. If you can be one with your work, then spillage into what happens outside ‘work hours’ would be far less stressful. Roger Ferguson states “The pursuit of ‘balance’ implies that work and life are two separate spheres competing for our attention in a zero-sum game. I prefer to see them as a continuum, flowing into and influencing one another.”
To shift away from work-life balance presents a topic I am eager to share and continue spreading. Work has become just that to many people. It is a job taking up many hours of the day in order to provide a paycheck to feed and house your loved ones. Individuals are not heading into the office or logging onto their remote systems because of their deep excitement. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to this statement and people who have made the self-realization about what THEY want for the future. With that said for a great number there is a serious disconnect between how twenty-four hours in the day are spent and how we actually would like to be spending the time. The concept of work-life harmony would be much more easily achieved if we enjoyed the work we did.
Enjoyment VS Passion
What makes work enjoyable? This can be a loaded question because it varies depending upon the person. It could change based on experience level, industry, geography, ethnicity and many other factors. A couple more common are company culture, good co-workers, recognition and challenges. I would consider work enjoyment a more baseline concept. The next level after enjoyment is passion for your work. The difference between enjoyment and passion is the true investment of your being in the task you’re performing. For some this may translate into moments of flow or deep-down loyalty for the concepts and tasks required. When this level of commitment is present, the concept of work begins to fade into the distance. Spending precious time on projects or new initiatives does not seem taxing or difficult. I often describe this scenario as ‘getting lost in progress’.
How do I find my passion?
Recently I had a conversation with a close friend about uncovering what her true passion is. Some individuals discover early in life what they’re meant to do and others will take more time. Either way is fine, but you cannot stop digging until you find it. So, how do you uncover your burning desire? It all comes through experience and trying different activities. It may be saying yes to something new when you would normally hang back. Or a task outside of your comfort zone demanding the use of an alternative way of thinking. The shift in mindset will occur subconsciously. Suddenly, you will reflect on the day and realize you were experiencing moments of flow where your actions and mindset were all aligned in ‘harmony’.
The best way to grasp a revelation of this magnitude is being open and honest with yourself about your intrinsic emotions towards an activity or job. If you find your dedication lies within something society deems unpopular or unattractive, have the tenacity to go for it regardless. Time is the most delicate resource we possess, so display the self-awareness to recognize when you have stumbled upon your calling.
My personal recognition of this moment knocked me on the head just over a year ago when I was down and out after surgery. I have always been a writer. It comes natural to me and I enjoy engaging and displaying emotion through words. But, I never understood just how much value I could provide with my career experience and this talent. For someone who loves words, it can even be challenging for me sometimes to truly explain how I uncovered knowing this is my true passion and how ingrained it is in me. I have always enjoyed helping people, but when it comes to career coaching, my main goal is allowing others to discover their talents through accountability and self-awareness. There is no a greater achievement for me than watching the progression of these findings while clients come to consciously understand their personal and professional value. Please leave feedback or thoughts below about this topic! I would love to hear insight from others!
Time to put gather your documents, accomplishments and awards! This resource is going to be the black and white supporting the claims made on your resume and cover letter. Each candidates’ portfolio varies, especially from industry to industry. Often containing accolades, celebratory emails from a superior, business plans, sales rankings and examples of work created leading to a positive result. To dive a bit deeper, inaccuracy among sales numbers is the most common mistake noted by recruiters. I will continue to preach until I am blue in the face, to emit only the most truthful material you possess. Rule of thumb in career development, and life, keep the details clean.
How Does this Affect my Interview Nerves?
Close your eyes for twenty seconds and think about the pre-interview nerves the majority of us feel. We are all human and about to enter an uncomfortable situation. The question is how do I walk into that room as confident, and flawlessly as possible? This brings us right back to authenticity. All the integrity you spilled into your documents will now shine through verbally across the table. Each question thrown at you comes with more ease and fluidity as you are recalling from pure facts, rather than any doctored information to make you look better on paper. You know you best, and if you’re able to conquer this one measurable chunk of the process, that is extraordinarily meaningful.
Similar to volleyball on the weekends, refurbing a dresser or knitting a scarf, practice makes perfect. Practicing and displaying authenticity will subject your technique to a new level of calmness. It is recommended to practice verbalizing before entering the interview, and it will also shake out any loose nuts or bolts. Not only will interviewers be impressed by your undeniable composure, you will leave them committed to the chunk of integrity you laid on the table. Check back next Monday for a new post about reducing stress throughout the job search process! I would love to hear your feedback below! Feel free to leave a comment.
So, where do I begin? If you checked out My Story you already have a bit of my background under your belt. For those who have not, no problem. I’d like to start with my ‘why’. It is important to recognize the meaning behind your actions and my intent is to share my meaning with you. I am personally motivated by the climb and watching others hearts and eyes open to their own climb.
‘Cut’ The Cookie Cutter
The nature of cookie cutter career coaching is to help clients through documents, such as resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn accounts. Many services offer these documents and then send clients off on their merry way to handle the rest of the lifelong career process by themselves. Some also turn clients away for gaps on their resumes or unclear work history for concerns it may blemish their statistics. I am not saying any of these methods are incorrect, but it is not my viewpoint on how career coaching should be handled.
I take a career advisement standpoint and recognize this process should be an infinite investment to engage in our best and most fulfilled lives. Building off that main pillar, we are all human, so everything is not perfect and that is okay. Imperfections are simply obstacles we work through. Constructing this state of actions begins with engaging in conscious behavior about our careers. We spend the largest part of our lives working and often find ourselves in a cylindrical process not truly gaining purpose through these actions. If you’re employment creates a sense of flow from within and motivates you daily, then I am proud to say you are winning. If not, let’s have a conversation about what steps you could take to gain more fulfillment from your work.
To my clients who are on the job hunt, there are steps you can take to simplify the somewhat grueling process. I have been in the situation where you’re working a full-time job and then come home at night to sit with your computer and continue the job search which in itself also feels like a full commitment. It is not fun and can be discouraging to take the plunge.
It is important to lay out short and long goals from the beginning as to what roles you are applying for. The first crucial piece of this puzzle is what are you looking for? What do you want that you are not currently receiving? Is it more challenge? Do you want a leadership position? What about work life balance, or a raise? The list is endless, but each one is personalized. If you’re going to take on the job search process by the horns, know what you want. Further down the line when the interview arrives, it is important to be prepared to also interview the company stating your expectations up front. Now, before I go off too much on these thoughts, your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn (to name a few resources) are the essential pillars representing who you are and what has driven you thus far. It is common knowledge recruiters take a limited time to review resources before moving on to the next candidate, so making an impact is key.
For those of you who are doubtlessly happy with your work, take a second and entertain this scenario. It is common practice to go to the doctor or your chosen financial institution for a check-up, correct? But, when is the last time you had a career check-up?
The role of a career adviser (or my actions, anyway) are to support you through your entire career. So, how does that work considering I’m on the outside? Each month or quarter it is vital to discuss and document extra job functions you have taken on, accolades received, projects completed, etc. The purpose is to develop a personal portfolio prepared with each and every step you have taken to make yourself a more well-rounded professional. Some industries refer to this document as a brag book, but whatever you want to call it, it’s important. The second purpose of your personal portfolio is to create accountability for your goals. When your actions and goals are organized, it is much easier to track progress and question when things are not fitting the timeline. Lastly, with a documented personal portfolio you are always prepared to walk into a meeting with the leadership team, your boss or even a client to prove your worth right before their eyes. Not only will they be impressed by your accomplishments, they will be floored by your initiative and organizational skills to keep everything up to date.
Heartfelt Thank You
This is just the beginning of the assistance I plan to provide to my clients. If there is value I can share, it will be shared. I am personally rewarded by witnessing clients recognize and become conscious as to where they are with their careers, what they can do to celebrate the small wins and how to propel forward. In advance I want to say thank you for your engagement and recognition of your own true abilities. Stay tuned for more in depth tips and tricks to mastering control over your personal and professional development.
Rebecca Wagner - I actively find flow through unparalleled focus on propelling the careers of others. These posts will help to share my thought processes about development, self-awareness and growth.