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Career Crafting: What Do I Want Next In My Career?

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

We are looking forward to longer, beautiful days outside here in the Bay as we move deeper into another great Spring season.

Conversations with clients and colleagues have increasingly focused on identifying the best next step(s) in their professional and/or personal journeys. Whether it is a significantly new/different strategic approach or a smaller, tactical move, the desire to thoughtfully and deliberately career craft is paramount. Yet, with so much in flux and the choice set often overwhelming, it can be difficult to define and implement a meaningful and tailored development plan.

In my career crafting work with clients, we focus extensively on understanding the values, strengths and motivations that are most important to them. This process is grounding; it allows us to construct a framework to direct their greatest gifts to organizations aligned to their purpose and ambitions. The rigor in this work is fundamental to discerning what truly matters most and how they can best move forward to realize their career consonance.

In this edition’s featured article, How to Figure Out What You Want Next in Your Career, Ann Hiatt offers actionable career crafting tips and perspectives. “Finding an employer and role that are value-aligned can reveal opportunities that you might not have thought about or even noticed before. You might consider taking a job with a different title than you’ve had before because of the contributions you would be making and the expertise you would gain, as well as the quality of teammates and opportunities for advancement toward where you truly want to be in life. This is how you seize opportunities that otherwise would have passed you by unnoticed.” [Additional resources can be found at this Harvard Business Review compendium, How to Find a New Job: An HBR Guide.]

I have culled a wide variety of additional reading and listening perspectives to consider. There is, by design, no particular overarching theme; just a variety of ideas that interested me and further sparked my curiosity. I will share these and others pieces over the coming editions.

As always, happy reading and listening!

Be well, take good care of your families and community.

Articles

Harvard Business Review: Good Leaders Know You Can’t Fight Reality. “…Acceptance is often misunderstood as approval or being against change, but it is neither. Acceptance is about acknowledging the facts and letting go of the time, effort, and energy wasted in the fight against reality…Whatever it is you’re facing, you can’t employ your best skills to deal with it until you stop the wrangle against reality and accept what you’ve been handed, ready to change things for the better.”

Harvard Business Review: Giving Negative Feedback Can Make Empathetic Leaders Less Effective. “…High-empathy leaders became less effective at core leadership tasks after giving negative feedback (especially if the recipient had a strong negative reaction), while low-empathy leaders actually became more effective. Based on these findings, the authors offer several strategies for organizations to better support both high- and low-empathy leaders, including encouraging more-empathetic leaders to take breaks after giving negative feedback and training less-empathetic leaders on techniques for delivering feedback more compassionately.”

Psychology Today: 10 Ways You’re Stronger Than You Think. “Within each of us are powers and abilities we underestimate, but which can carry us through many challenges. You’re stronger than you think.”

Forbes: How To Quell And Transform The Chatter And Negativity Of Your Inner Voice.Our inner voice is a remarkable tool. It allows us to keep information active in our mind, exert self-control, simulate and plan, and create stories about our lives that help shape our identity. But when this voice morphs into chatter, it can cause enormous distress. The challenge we all face is to figure out how to harness this chatter so we can free our inner voice up to do all the remarkable things it is capable of.”

Behavioral Scientist: Get Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable. “Taken cautiously, adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality when you know something will make you feel awkward, sad, scared, or uncomfortable in the short-run can boost your motivation to stick with it until it feels right.”

Fast Company: The Great Resignation has morphed into the Great Sabbatical.Mid-career sabbaticals have tripled over the past four years—and the gap year is losing its stigma.”

Blog Posts & Opinions

The New York Times: Annie Murphy Paul: How To Think Outside Your Brain. “…The days when we could do it all in our heads are over. Our knowledge is too abundant, our expertise too specialized, our challenges too enormous. The best chance we have to thrive in the extraordinarily complex world we’ve created is to allow that world to assume some of our mental labor. Our brains can’t do it alone.”

The Atlantic: How to Care Less About Work. “As we peer around the corner of the pandemic, let’s talk about what we want to do—and not do—with the rest of our lives.”

Podcasts

Freakonomics Radio Book Club: Why Do Most Ideas Fail to Scale? “In a new book called ‘The Voltage Effect,’ the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution…List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.” [This was one of the most engrossing interviews I have listened to in a while – extremely fascinating and packed with insights.]

The Ezra Klein Show: A Philosophy of Games That Is Really a Philosophy of Life. “According to the philosopher C. Thi Nguyen, games and gamified systems are everywhere in modern life…In Nguyen’s book, ‘Games: Agency as Art,’ a core insight is that we’re not simply playing these games — they are playing us, too. Our desires, motivations and behaviors are constantly being shaped and reshaped by incentives and systems that we aren’t even aware of. Whether on the internet or in the vast bureaucracies that structure our lives, we find ourselves stuck playing games over and over again that we may not even want to win — and that we aren’t able to easily walk away from.”

TEDVancouver: Do we see reality as it is? “Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.”

Arts, Music, Culture & Humor

CornerARTnews: Magritte ‘Masterpiece’ Sells for Record-Breaking $79.8 M. During Sotheby’s Sale. “The painting [L’empire des lumières] depicts a streetscape that appears to be set during the day and night simultaneously. Its composition is one that the artist returned to several times throughout the 1950s and ’60s.”

The New York Times: What a Rare, Live ‘A Love Supreme’ Reveals About John Coltrane. “A long-buried private recording of the suite, captured in October 1965, allows listeners to experience more sides of the musician than some major albums in his catalog.”

The Atlantic: It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart. “The older we get, the more we need our friends—and the harder it is to keep them.”

McSweeney’s Lists: “What Your Favorite Sad Dad Band Says About You.”

Reflections

“It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.” – May Sarton

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.” – William James

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Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan a Consultants Collective member and executive coach. He is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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