Saturday, March 15, 2008

Designing Your Future: Re-Visited

At the beginning of the year I wrote an entry that focused on the three competencies necessary for “Thriving at Work in 2008.” I want to re-visit and discuss more fully the second of these, Designing. My reason is that most of us pay attention to designing our futures only when we are worried or anxious about the present, and in my experience this is not the most effective way to manage a career.

Designing is the ability to picture and create a future built around our talents, values, and aspirations. We need to be designing our future, not just when needing to change jobs or careers, but as a consistent and regular part of our work lives. The skills needed to develop this competency include: Values clarification, goal setting, gap analysis, decision making, development planning, and market research. When fully developed, this competency leads us to a sense of clarity and confidence, enabling us to be fully ready to move into the future.

To begin with, how well do you know or understand your talents? Talents are those qualities and gifts each of us is born with that may or may not have nurtured over the years. However, as we build our work lives around our talents, we find ourselves not only being more successful, but work feels easier, more natural, and we more often experience a sense of “flow.”

Next, how clear are you on your values? When you think about what’s most important to you in your work and career or what gives you a sense of satisfaction at the end of a day or week, can you identify and articulate what that is? As you come to know and claim your values, you are to likely to derive both meaning and satisfaction from your work, and future job and career decisions will be easier to make.

Finally, what do you dream about and what can you really see yourself doing in the future? You may have chosen your job or career path for pragmatic or security reasons, but perhaps it’s time to sit down and ask yourself what it is you most want to do with your work life. Even if you don’t change anything about your job or career, I believe it is worthwhile to ask yourself now and then, “What do I most want to do with my work life?”

We are offering a new, two session course, Thriving in the Changing Work Place, that focuses on how to develop these competencies and the attitudes that support them. I’d like to invite you to join us so please check out the web site for specific times, locations, and fees.

Mark Guterman