I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants gal. Well, at least at my core. But, the reality of 25 years in the workforce, coaching leaders and owning my own businesses have taught me two things. One, that establishing rhythm can help with your mental and physical health. Two, that establishing processes can help you get to more creative, more impactful outcomes in the end. That rhythm and those processes can be extremely beneficial to you and your career.
The Scientific Method + Your Career
Most people I talk to want one thing – to be more fulfilled in their work. Perhaps they feel it’s not the best fit. Or they know they aren’t giving their best. Or they feel a distracting itch to do something different. Any of this sounds familiar?
Whatever the cause of the feeling, the desire to be more fulfilled is achievable. IF we approach it like a scientist would.
1. Name The Problem
If you are feeling unfulfilled at work, can’t decide what you want to be when you grow up, or are rethinking your chosen path – I feel you. At some point in my career, I’ve felt all those things. I’m not sure if I’ve met many people who haven’t?
The first step is to name the problem. If you don’t know what you’re trying to solve, you’ll be shooting in the dark and wasting energy.
So, define what feeling you’re trying to solve for. Fulfillment, recognition, money, variety, growth, prestige – the list goes on.
2. Do Your Research
You could read a book, a magazine article or Google the heck out of the topic of “careers.” Today, there are over 60,000 books about your career on Amazon. Eek!
While reading a book or looking outside your company and into your community is beneficial, the first step is to start where you are at. Why? Even if you’ve made up your mind to leave, you still have an opportunity to gain some additional experience, education and exposure before you part ways. Might as well make it intentional!
3. Form A Hypothesis
Decide where to focus and guess where it may take you. A few examples:
- “By joining an Employee Resource Group I will gain exposure to what’s going on in the organization as well as development opportunities to get to my BEST NEXT.”
- ”By asking XYZ to be my mentor, I will learn from their experience and broaden my network internally and externally.”
Test out your hypothesis. The key to testing and experimenting is effort. Yup, you heard me – effort. From you. Consistently.
Get to know people in the group, setup a regular schedule of meetings for you and your mentor, stretch yourself on the new project that is up for grabs.
I think a good hypothesis can act a lot like a carrot – something that motivates you to shift your behavior and/or mindset.
Be purposeful about recording how things are going. Keep notes in your notebook or your phone. Pay attention to the big shifts, but don’t forget about the small details.
Perhaps someone who rarely gives you praise paid you a compliment in a meeting. Or an Executive stopped you in the lunch line and asked you about a project they heard you are leading. Maybe you were asked to be part of an advisory committee on the organizations engagement. Coincidence? Perhaps. Did these things happen to you before? If not, or if the frequency has increased, perhaps your effort deserves some praise!
6. Draw Conclusions & Act
What made you feel more powerful? More in control over your career?
What gave you the results you wanted? What didn’t feel right? Consider what you learned and determine what new habits you’ll take with you and where you’d like to continue to experiment.
Don’t stop. Experiment again. Perhaps a new way of storytelling around your strengths. Or a different mentor. Use the information that you’ve gathered to increase your confidence and act!
Keep me updated on your progress, friends!
Peace and Progress,
P.S. Join the conversation on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram this week. I’d love to hear your comments on how your organization culture affects you, the ideas that I am sharing and any suggestions you have for me and our community!