5 Tips to Mindful Career Development

Rows of very tall evergreen trees in the dog park

One of my best places to think.

 

The dog park is my thinking place. Whenever I have something on my mind, the dog park just seems to be the best place for mulling, analyzing and creating. Well, the park and the shower – but walks in the park are much longer than showers.

So there I was the other day wondering what I should blog about. I threw out different options – helicoptering parents, how to use social media when looking for a job and the role empathy plays in our world.

Nothing stuck. As I meandered through the woods one thing DID stick – mindful career development. Yes, I confirmed, that is my next blog post.

But I thought, what really is that? How can career development be mindful?

Here are 5 tips to mindful career development:

1)     Self-awareness – the bottom line is you need to know who you are. That is why for some younger people career development can be a real challenge. They may not know who they are; what makes them tick and what they are really good at. Or what would sap their energy if they had to do it all day. There are plenty of fantastic resources out there – I love using this one from Charity Village and of course, True Colors.

 

2)     Listen – listen to when you are feeling the best – or the worst. Listen to the clues that you are given. Pay attention. When are you in the zone? You know, like when you are doing that thing you could do for hours. Einstein was in the zone when he was cooking up mathematical equations. Martha Stewart is probably in her zone when she is giving helpful advice on the best way to create an adult grilled cheese bar. A veterinarian is in the zone when she is examining a patient and helping figure out what is wrong with someone’s special canine companion. It’s about listening to what makes you feel great.

 

3)     Talk to people – aka network. Take any opportunity to talk, listen and learn from others. Ask people why they chose their particular career. What is their favourite part of their day-to-day job? How did they get into it? Learn more about different careers. You say you always wanted to be a lawyer, but you can’t stand the politics that come with working in a traditional law office. Why not set up a meeting with a legal professional who started her own legal firm? Learn from her about the pros and cons of doing what she did. Maybe you will be excited – or maybe it will confirm for you that nope, you don’t want to go the legal route. Or you could ask for the name of another person to chat with.

 

4)     Be intentional – don’t just bounce around from job to job. Consider where you feel the best and what you are doing when you feel that way. Don’t think that any job will be perfect – because it won’t be. Do your research and know why you are doing what you are doing.  I believe that job hopping usually happens when you don’t know your purpose in the world. I promise, once you figure out your purpose all sorts of wonderful things will start happening for you.

 

5)     Be true to yourself – be honest and don’t settle. I know my purpose in life. It’s to help other people find their purpose and show them how they can contribute to the world. That’s really it for me. So I know that coaching and teaching are integral in my work. Wherever I land, I have to be doing those things. I know this from the incredible feeling I got when I read the words from one of my former adult education students. In my thank you card she wrote “I may not say this every day, but your inspirational words will play an important role in shaping my destiny and the future of my family. Thank you for everything.”

 

If I read that and just thought “oh, that’s nice” and moved on, that would be a huge sign. But so is the way I reacted to her words; I felt immense joy and pride in my heart. I believe in the ripple effect and her words just confirmed to me  I need to keep doing what I am doing. Maybe some people get that same feeling when they make a million dollar deal or remove a tumour or land a plane safely. That’s the feeling one should get when you are living your purpose. (By the way, this can change over a lifetime. It’s not like that scene in Sex and the City when Charlotte tells her friends that we only get two great loves in our lives.) Nope. As long as we are on this planet, we can change, evolve, create and become.

It’s all about being mindful.

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