Your career – a home for what you like doing most

Are you ready?If you are constantly looking forward to your next raise, or weekend, or workplace grapevine,  this idea may sound far fetched to you.  We have come to accept work merely as a burden and as duty to be discharged.  But by this time you have begun defining success as -professional progress and health and  happiness. Having to deal with work as burden and duty will not make you happy nor it is going to do any good to your health.

If you follow lives  of successful people, you will find they have stuck to doing what they like doing. They had to overcome odds and setbacks. They had to endure failure and criticism. They made detours and took diversions -those inevitable compromises of life -only to get going in the direction which they had set for themselves.

Therefore, think of your career as a home for what you like doing most. It may take time, you may have to sequence things, you may have to bide your time, but you must set a direction.

You have found out what you like doing most. If it is ‘writing’ (for example) you know that you can keep doing it happily day in and day out even if the rewards take long to come.

If you aren’t yet sure, some tips are here and here.

So, you like to write (for example). The next question is for what purpose you wish to use your writing skills. Writing advertising copy may be one way of using your skills. Other applications of writing can be: stories, lyrics or dialog for films, news reports, business analysis etc.  These occupations are ‘homes’ for your writing skills. You need other skills as well to be ‘comfortable’ in any of these homes.

You need to decide for what purpose you will use your writing. Writing may keep you happy but it has to be ‘useful’ for others so that you get paid for it.  If you don’t like to write but like doing something else like ‘programming’ or ‘drawing’ or ‘mountaineering’ you will need to find a ‘home’ for it.

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Shaping your career -the rewards

You have figured out what you like doing most (e.g. “I like doing sums”). You can make a career out of it only if it helps you offer something which might be useful to others. You are now thinking about possible professions. Even in the age of spreadsheets and apps a proficiency with numbers can be an edge if you wish to be an accountant, or an investment wizard, or a cricket statistician or a commentator.  As we saw in one of the previous posts, each of the above professions will need additional skills.

Getting into a profession means you must make commitment to learn and improve all skills needed to be able a make a solid contribution. To be a cricket statistician you need not only be good with numbers but you also must acquire a deep knowledge of the game. You will need to develop proficiency with spreadsheets and bringing in information from different sources. You will also need the skill to synthesize available data into some kind of a ‘story’ and so on.

Your chances of success get much brighter if you like practicing almost all skills needed for your chosen career.  Your success gets almost certain -if you also enjoy learning and practicing those skills and if you are willing to do so even if financial returns are not that high. For you, doing those things are rewards in themselves. You can sustain your intensity for long periods with such rewards.

Therefore, you need to understand what kind of rewards you are looking for before you commit to a career or a profession. If the rewards almost entirely depend on others (fees, praise, salary, perks) your efforts may fizzle out before your ‘luck’ smiles on you or you might continue just plodding along without any zest.

Great careers are built on learning, improving, exploring, and experimenting activities integral to them. Read how the master batsman Sachin Tendulkar used to practice batting all alone as a kid in his autobiography ‘Playing it My Way

I will continue to discuss other factors crucial for a shaping a successful career.

About me:

I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Developing your career around what you like doing most

Right, you know pretty well what you like doing most and doing it makes you feel good. Be it writing, or making new acquaintances, or researching, or something else, you have to take it further to make a career out of it.

To keep doing those interesting things (well enough) you need some skills. In order to do counseling you need skills like active listening, emotional skills, verbal skills etc. In order to do troubleshooting you need to be good at making observations, analytical thinking, and out-of-box thinking. In order order to do programming you need to do definition of purpose, conceptual thinking on methods for fulfilling the purpose, and actual programming well. The list of skills mentioned above may not be complete, but I hope you get the idea.

You need to decide which skills you are going to need and how good you are in those skills. You will to need to set benchmarks and make learning plans to meet them.

Developing your career around what you quite like doing, is a challenge. We shall look into which other things you need to do, in future blog posts.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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No clue about what you like doing most?

There are some of us, who find it difficult to come up with an answer to the above question. If you are one of them, here are some tips. Keep a note pad or your phone with a note app handy.

Don’t reject what comes first in your mind.

“I just like to laze around” if that’s your answer, you aren’t the only one. Write it down. Of course you are not going to be paid by anyone for doing this, unless you are a Hollywood or a Bollywood celebrity. In that case, you can charge for an appearance fee.

Think more.

” I like to find faults and criticize” your chances of getting paid are getting brighter. One day you can become an influential film critic or a tech reviewer and get paid in some ways.

“I love solving puzzles” How you might get paid for solving puzzles may not be obvious, but it is possible. So don’t reject.

“I like to do sums” If you are great with numbers, it is good gift. Make a note.

“I like chatting with people” If you can strike an easy conversation even with strangers, make a note of it too.

I am sure anyone can come up with at least one answer, if not more. The trick is not to reject any ‘doing’ . The trick is to make sure it is always about ‘doing’ (an activity) something.

Making such a list will give you more ideas and clues. Do follow them up. You might well be on the verge of an interesting career.

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Are you lucky in your career?

By luck, I don’t mean just a lot of money being earned or many ego trips are there. By lucky, I mean to ask, “Are you getting to do what you like doing most and getting paid for it?”

It is hard enough to find where your heart lies. It seems  harder to make money out of it for most folks. They have chosen their careers based on money earning potential of various options or simply by following the crowds.

Even if it is so, all is not lost. One can do interesting things on the sides of an ongoing paying career -like teaching, writing…. Or one can simply add an element of work which one likes in an the present career -like taking on the role of chief troubleshooter or of a mentor… The idea is to do more of what one likes to do or start liking what one is doing a bit more.

Having done the above, you need some luck. The question is, “Are you lucky?”

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Doing what you like most

If you ask a child what she likes doing most, pat come will her answer -“I like to draw” or “I like to dance” or ”I like to ride a bicycle” or ” I like to mimic my friends”. If she is little shy, you won’t get an answer but it’ll be easy to figure out what she enjoys most. Another kid might say “I like to play football”, or “I like to solve puzzles” or “I a like to tell jokes”

Ask this question to a room full of seasoned executives and you will get an uncomfortable silence. Burdened that we are with not just earning a livelihood but also with the never ending tasks of acquiring assets, commanding respect, and satisfying our ego we have more or less forgotten what we like to be doing most.  The kids surely do what they like doing most and as grown ups we have to think hard about it.

Yet really the most enduring successes are built on activities people enjoy doing most. This should really be our quest at all times -to find out what we we like doing most and then being at it.

 

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Career: things to do while waiting for ‘luck’

Are you ready?You work hard at your job. You spend late hours on working days and you and work on weekends. You ignore family and friends. You develop early signs of health issues -loss of concentration, bouts of irritability, mood swings, and a general wariness. You have received occasional bonuses and recognition, yet your career doesn’t seem to be all right.

If you are like many others, in prime years of their careers, you are living on hope, waiting for a stroke of luck. While luck is always welcome and even essential, it is not a great strategy. Best course of action is do what is in your hands while you are ‘waiting’.

Consider improving some widely needed skills like leadership. Leadership is not just charisma and having many people reporting to you. Leadership is bringing change for better. It is not just a behavioral skill, it is a thinking skill and it also involves mastering work areas. In modern businesses, it means extending your influence (for change ) far beyond your area of ‘control’.

People should see you to be ready for higher level of responsibility.

Read this to get idea about what you need to do while you are ‘waiting’ for your next break.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Other than being ‘young and foolish’ or ‘old and wise’

You are adventurous. Or, you are a very cautious person. No matter what, there are times when you consider career jumping. Doing things which are very different as compared what you have been doing. It is thrilling to think that you will not be tethered to your desk and that you will roaming the streets capturing events and sharing them with the world. Or to think that instead of churning code and filling time logs, you will be writing a book.

Talking to people close to you doesn’t pan out as you expect. Either you get ‘think of plan B and of your family’ kind of wise counsel or you get ‘follow your heart, leap’ kind of stuff. Nothing else.

So what does one do?

Make a list of activities which make you feel good and you feel they are worth your while -no matter how good the results are or are not.  Think in terms of verbs (doing things, instead owning things or achieving milestones or rewards). You will then need to start doing them by allocating some of your time and resources. Invest in learning them better. Invest in meeting people who might be of help. Invest in helping others in doing them.

Read more about career jumping

You may also undergo a self learning program in the book Lead to Regenerate for a systematic discovery of your (life) leadership skills and improvement practice.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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Leaving it to your boss? 5 reasons why it’s not a bright idea

If you are like lots of knowledge workers, chances are that you leave your career in the hands of your boss and bosses. By career, I mean not just your next raise or a promotion. Your career will hopefully outlast your boss. You will want to be doing different things in future. If so, it is not a wise to leave your career in the hands of your boss. To understand what can happen, read this story of Reema

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t take things as they come:

1. Your boss may leave: you will then have to establish a good working relation with your new boss and hope she or he will take care of you.

2. Your boss doesn’t recognize your need for new skills for next career step.

3. Everybody, your boss and your other bosses, are busy in delivering results all the time

4. You have done well so far without much need for a new skills. Your talent has seen you through. This may not be always realistic.

5. You may yet get promotion due to circumstances and because your are doing well in your current job. If this happens you may get into hot water. You may continue doing your old job and will get exposed for lack of skills needed to handle a new responsibility.

The trend is that more and more alert knowledge workers are taking control of their careers. They identify what additional technical or domain skills they will need for their progress. Some of them go one step further and they invest in learning some generic skills like leadership. They rightly think that leadership skills will become more and more critical to have even when they plan to advance in specialist roles.

What are your thoughts? Did you already invest in yourself?

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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What if teamwork is going for a toss?

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your people quibble, argue, and back bite over petty issues. May be you have tried pep talks, outdoor and indoor team games etc.

So work it must be. The cause of lack of teamwork. The other cause might be the values. Run these checks:

1. Do you have your project goals well defined? Are there any formal project plans. If yes, task the team to improve the plans for risk mitigation.

2. If your team is running processes (repetitive work cycles), check if they work according a defined work flow. Task the team to improve process performance. Caution: this may involve process redesign. Be ready.

3. Check if people, their tasks, skills and attitudes all match. Act to close gaps if any. It may involve training, job rotation, counseling etc.

4. Check your reward systems. Are they fair? Are they skewed more towards individual performances at the cost of others?

5. Check if straight talk is encouraged. Best way to check it is to find out how many times people come to you and disagree with you or criticize you.

Try the above. Throw good work at your people. Lead. You will be surprised.

About me:

I help people and businesses in developing themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Do keep in touch with me either here, or on Google+ , onTwitter, or through my blog Regenerate!

I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design.

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