Developing Your Career
Your career is important! Don’t limit your career based on what you think is possible.
Navigating a career in mental health can be challenging. When I taught graduate students for 10 years as an adjunct faculty member in a counseling program, the students were naturally most concerned with their career options.
A number of them wanted to go into private practice or start a non-profit organization. Many of those ideas shift for students after they complete their internship and gain experience in the field. Their career opportunities at that point largely stemmed from work they had experienced pre-graduate school or from their practicum/internship sites.
Many people find that post-education – whether K-12, associates degree, bachelors, masters, specialist, doctorate or technical training – they still face a journey toward work they enjoy and find fulfilling. The truth is that some people will never settle into a career that they enjoy.
In my experience the biggest barrier to career and/or business development is one’s imagination.
What Do You Want?
I spend a fair amount of time asking people to think about what they want. Not just what they want…but what they really want.
When asked, most people offer an explanation for how they reached the current point in their journey and what they think is possible based on the trajectory they have been on. They might also include what they are planning to do that involves more training and education.
These summations lead to numerous possibilities…some differing wildly from one another. In fact, it can be difficult to track what the person really wants in their career based on their various responses.
Instead of answering the question about what they want…they are really answering the question “What do you think you can have?”
Order Off Menu!
My favorite department store is Nordstrom’s. They are not as expensive as many people think. In fact they really cater to a variety of price points. They are many things I like about Nordy’s:
- How organized their stores are;
- How helpful their sales representatives are;
- How they never kick you out or rush you at closing time;
- How their rewards system works (go check it out);
- And last but not least…I love their restaurants.
The best thing about the Nordy’s Bistro’s and Cafe’s is a secret: They have off menu items. Items you can get if you just know to ask.
For example, I don’t drink caffeine. So most of the time I drink water when I’m out. I also like to get fresh squeezed lemonade at places that serve it. While Nordy’s does not have lemonade on the menu…I discovered they had it one day because I asked.
And I asked because it was what I wanted.
How can you get what you want if you don’t know what it is and you don’t ask?
Now, of course, they could have just as easily not carried it. I had no idea when I was asking if it was an option. At the time I didn’t know about their off menu items at all.
What I did have, and what I always maintain, is a connection to what I truly want…not a connection to what appears to be available.
When it comes to your career, don’t limit your thinking to what you see others doing, creating or having. What you want is so specific to you that by relying solely on what you see in others, you miss the opportunity to create or find something that is truly meant for you.
How to Uncover What You Want
Often what people really want is something they have been unwilling to say out loud. They keep these thoughts to themselves because they think that what they want in their career or their life is silly or unattainable.
They don’t want to sound stupid or unrealistic. They don’t want to hear the potential un-supportive or negative reactions from others. So they keep their thoughts about what they really want to themselves.
The innovative careers and companies that exist today were once someone’s zany idea. An idea that they were willing to speak aloud. Ideas that they then pursued and created, such as:
- The home computer;
- Uber car service;
- Air B&B;
- Walt Disney Studios and Resorts;
- and even McDonald’s fast food…
These were all things no one could have imagined…until someone did and then they built and/or created them.
I know that not everyone’s career will be entrepreneurial in nature. But we can all learn a lot from entrepreneurs in terms of innovative thinking.
Even the development of innovative thinking and passion for your field of choice makes you a desirable candidate for positions/jobs.
You might bring your talent, skills or expertise as a consultant to an industry that can benefit from what you have to offer.
Career and Life Fulfillment
Having a fulfilling career contributes to a life well lived. We spend much of our time on work, at work or in some cases thinking about work…therefore your career shapes many elements of your life.
Specifically, your availability for other things that matter to you. Your life and your career are interconnected. Careers can be a way for us to fulfill elements of our purpose.
Your purpose should never be limited to what other people have chosen before you.
If you are interested in consultation or coaching around career development and you are a independently licensed mental health professional contact me for more information. Distance options are available.
Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.