Everyone wants a career they’re satisfied with. But it’s one of the great mysteries of the working world — what’s the secret to a satisfying career?
In our experience, the answer tends to surprise people.
Author, leadership expert, and co-founder of GiANT Jeremie Kubicek put it best when he said, “You have to know yourself to lead yourself.”
In other words, the key to a satisfying career is self-awareness.
So many people who are struggling in work — whether it’s being stuck in a job they hate or not knowing the next best step to take in their career — are struggling because they lack a true understanding of who they are in the workplace. They don’t truly understand their strengths and weaknesses, so they spend a lot of time doing what they think they’re “supposed” to do, working outside of their zone of genius, or striving to be someone they’re not.
And that, my friend, is the recipe for a dissatisfying career.
If you want to be happy and fulfilled with your career, it’s not about doing what everyone else is doing or what someone told you you had to do in order to be “successful”. It’s about understanding how you can use your unique skills and gifts — the things that only you can bring to the table — to build a career that feels right for you.
Everyone — including you — is a completely unique person with their own unique blend of talents, skills, preferences, and strengths. If you can harness your own innate uniqueness and use it as a guiding force in your career, not only will you be successful — but you’ll be happy, too. Think of it as working in your “business sweet spot”: when your job is aligned with your natural talents, gifts, and preferences, you’ll be in the right zone to get things done — and have a good time while you’re doing them.
Think about it like this: if you put a Clydesdale in the Kentucky Derby, it would fail miserably. Because racing isn’t a good use of a Clydesdale’s unique gifts and talents. But if you put a Clydesdale to work out in the field? It’ll put all those racing horses to shame, because that’s the work it was uniquely created to do.
The key for you to have a successful, satisfying career is to find the work you were uniquely created to do. And the way to find that work is through self-awareness.
Here are 3 ways self-awareness can lead to a more satisfying career:
Having a satisfying career is not just about financial success or moving up the corporate ladder. It’s about waking up every morning and feeling good about what you’re doing.
Fulfillment in your career is just as important as success. And when you gain self-awareness and understand what type of career is the best fit for your unique set of skills and talents, you’ll be able to create a career that offers both success AND fulfillment.
It’s like the one-two punch of career satisfaction.
No matter what career path you decide to pursue, you’ll have to work within a team. And when you learn how to become more self-aware, you’ll gain invaluable insights into how you can best work with other people and fit into a team — and what kind of team would be the best fit for you.
When you really know and understand yourself, you’ll get a better sense of how you best work with other people. Having a strong sense of self-awareness will also help you communicate better with the people on your team; when a team isn’t working, it’s most often because the different personalities on the team don’t know how to communicate and work together towards a common goal. But when you know yourself, it’s easier to know other people, and you can work to create a more positive, open, communicative working environment that will feel more satisfying to you — not to mention everyone else on your team.
Cultivating self-awareness will also help you choose a team that is the right fit for you; when you know your goals and values, you can seek out a team that aligns with those goals and values.
The consensus in the working world is that most people are motivated by money; pay people a lot of money, and they’ll be more satisfied at work.
But not everyone is motivated by money (in fact, according to motivation expert Daniel Pink, money can actually be de-motivating to certain people). People are motivated by all sorts of different things, and understanding what motivates you will help you choose a career path that will keep you excited and engaged every day.
For example, maybe you’re motivated by a sense of community in the workplace. Or maybe you’re motivated by a strong corporate mission or a generous time-off policy that allows you to pursue your passions outside of work… Whatever the case, when you understand what you’re motivated by, it allows you to align yourself with a career or company that offers that type of motivation, which will make you more satisfied and more successful.
Here’s the tricky thing about self-awareness: if you were never taught how to develop self-awareness, you might not know you’re missing it. But there are some definite telltale signs to look out for.
The first is finding yourself in a continuous state of frustration at work. If something just feels “off”, or you’re completely disconnected and disengaged, you’re not connected with who you are and what you want at work.
The second is finding yourself dealing with the same conflicts over and over. For example, we used to work with someone who was extremely direct — sometimes to a fault. His directness was continually perceived as aggressive and caused conflict with his team, but he had no idea why. He honestly didn’t realize his directness might be perceived as negative — he just didn’t have the self-awareness, and as a result, he kept facing needless conflict.
But if you worry you’re lacking self-awareness, it’s okay! There are steps you can take to get to know yourself better:
Sometimes, we’re so close to our own situation that we can’t see the forest for the trees. In those cases, getting an outsider’s perspective can be super helpful.
Find out how the world perceives you. Ask people you know and trust how they would describe you. Ask them what they feel your strengths and weaknesses are.
Understanding how others see you can help you see things about yourself you might have missed.
One of the trademark qualities of people with a strong self-awareness is their ability to pause and understand how their actions might affect other people. They have a keen ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes and look at things through their eyes.
If you want to cultivate a sense of self-awareness, next time you find yourself in a conflict, pause and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How are they reacting to you and why? When you understand how you’re received, you can better understand your behaviors, where they’re coming from — and, if necessary, how to change them.
Everyone is blind to aspects of their personality. Even the best athletes need coaches to improve. In business/life/career, success means we need the same type of coach to help us see our blind spots but also the areas where we can have the greatest success.
Many people have spent so much time doing what others said they should do they no longer are able to see their gifts and skills. The personality assessment helps us to see ourselves from a “different angle” and thus a new perspective.
Developing self-awareness is crucial to building a career you love. If you’re ready to take the next step and figure out the career that’s right for you, make sure to check out Crown’s Career Direct Guidance System.
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