You may be one of the really lucky people who can say you work for a company that offers all kinds of employee engagement opportunities and flexible work schedules. Maybe you can say that your company has worked hard to create a culture where you are invited to explore different aspects of your strengths and skills. However, it’s probably more likely that you are rolling your eyes, thinking, “My company doesn’t even get it; they’re still in the dark ages.”
It doesn’t matter which of those categories your current work situation falls into, or if it falls somewhere in between, what matters is that you become aware that nobody is in charge of your career wellness but you.
A healthy career has no room for victims.
Some of you may not be employed at the moment for many different reasons. Some of you may be employed, but miserable. Regardless of your situation, the first step is always the same step. Awareness. Self-awareness plus career awareness equals career wellness. It is the truth about how career fulfillment works.
But what does career awareness mean?
What we’re really talking about here is an awareness that your career happiness is up to you – all of it. Awareness and ownership are the first steps to career fulfillment. The good things that happen, the not-so-good things that happen, the victories and the setbacks. When I talk with clients about awareness as step number one, I definitely mean awareness of values, of interests, of natural behavioral style, skills, and strengths. I also mean awareness that you can’t be a bystander and hope that it all works out like you want.
How do you achieve awareness?
If you want to be aware, you’re going to need to get down-and-dirty honest about all of it. You will need to take responsibility, be bold, brave, decide to take risks (or not) and get very clear with yourself about whether you want to participate in this constantly evolving thing which is your career. You will need to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you and to the things you are curious about. You will need to tune in to what your intuition is telling you.
Stop Shying Away from the Touchy-Feely
One of the biggest challenges employees and employers face when trying to transform their careers, or supporting the career development of their employees, is dealing with the reality of awareness. The language itself can border on therapy-like words. You’ll need to deal with that, or find your own words that make you less squeamish. Part of the courage needed to self-actualize your career is moving past your own judgment about how you get to awareness.
If you don’t, you’ll be handing that power over. You’ll be allowing some company or whatever current circumstances you’re in, decide for you.
Awareness means never giving your power away.
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