Let's start with a popular Talking Heads lyric from the song "Once in a Lifetime"...
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well...How did I get here?
You could easily superimpose some of the words as a relates to where you are in your life, career - education major, profession, job...
Life has a way....
As someone shared with me and my wife, Mary Martha, when we had two infants (now 12 and 13) - "The days are long…the years are short."
When you tell a young person they can expect to work 80,000 hours in a career, it seems daunting. Yet, before they know it, they'll be years into a career / job wondering not only "how did I get here?" but "How do I get out of here?!?"
So let's address the question, "How did I get here?"
It starts innocently enough. Go to elementary, middle, and high school. Accumulate book knowledge sprinkled with a healthy dose of life lessons.
When it comes time to choose the path after high school, the options are do nothing, get a job, select a trade, or, go to a vocational / technical school, community college or a four year program.
The process of choosing a major, can be daunting and many times when it comes time to select a major, the selection is heavily weighted towards interest. After you graduate, you then have to make sense of a landing spot for yourself in the workforce. (Unless of course it's a highly specialized major where your career options are clearly identified.)
You end up getting an entry-level position. Do well in it. Get promoted. You may date someone. Get serious. Get married. Start accumulating stuff. Buy a house. Start a family. In other words, things are bit more complicated than when you finished your secondary education. Which is why you bite your lip and forge on.
What was once an interest – based decision to choose a major has led to a situation where you feel "professionally typecast" and not engaged in your role. This is not surprising since over 70% of employees are disengaged. (Gallup)
So, you start envisioning a job or career change. But wait! You now have more responsibilities - the family – a mortgage – stuff! Choosing an option appears to be more limiting because that choice now needs to have a high degree of practicality in it. In other words, it "needs" to support your lifestyle, income, and wealth accumulation / preservation goals.
If you had a chance to do it all over again, chances are you probably would! (Age and experience can do that!)
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Chinese Proverb
So what it "could" have looked like...
In middle school you are made aware of your NATURAL gifts / talents beyond the obvious (academic subjects, sports, hobbies, interests). These include more generic categories such as: achieving; caring; confidence; competing; curiosity; dependability; futuristic; relating; or thinker. Like milk being "churned", certain gifts / attributes start to bubble to the top. With a sensitivity to those gifts / attributes someone parented, taught, influenced you to how to "lean in" on your dominant themes.
In high school, the reflection / assessment / on-going coaching became more granular. The outcome would identify whether or not the previous gifts / themes continue to be dominant, or, more natural than other attributes. With that level of insight / direction, you begin to channel your energies towards those natural tendencies and continue to focus / be given opportunities to develop and enhance them.
When it comes time to determine what you do after high school…you choose a course of action where you'll thrive by leaning in on your gifts.
That may mean choosing a trade, vocational school, community college, or four-year program where you'd be empowered to further develop your knowledge / skills / capabilities. All the while, your being enhanced by your natural gifts identified years earlier.
Back to reality...
All well and good for someone coming of age but what about it if you're beyond the middle, high school, secondary education and you are well on your way through your 80000 hours of a career? Stay tuned...in my next blog, we'll address a process for how you can achieve that clarity, regardless of where you are in your 80000 run!
NAME, CLAIM & AIM!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
Interested to Learn About Yourself or Your Team? Mark is a Certified CliftonStrengths Coach, Facet5 and TotalSDI Facilitator and happy to discuss your situation.
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About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
Can meet at other Roam locations if appropriate: Alpharetta; Dunwoody; or Galleria