ABCs Of Your Career Journey – Q Is For Quest

by E. Elizabeth Carter

Usually when one thinks about going on a quest, one can envision a romantic or adventurous expedition. However when some think of their career journey, they can only picture a quagmire. So how is it possible to view and more importantly act in a more positive and forward thinking manner?

Many research studies state that we tend to pay more attention to negative thoughts versus positive. For that reason, it makes sense then that we focus more on what we are doing wrong in our jobs/careers versus what is working well for us. To combat this, we need to change our perceptions and more importantly our attitudes and look at our life more holistically.

To start, what are some of your accomplishments in the last 3-5 years? Think both personally and professionally. Maybe you landscaped your property, finished a difficult puzzle, helped a friend going through a crisis, completed a project on time and under budget, and/or you landed a new client. Did you give yourself time to really think about how difficult it was to get through this and what obstacles you faced? Or instead did you just move on to something else?

If you analyze your processes, mindset, and even your motivators on how you were able to achieve this goal, you may realize that you can apply this same drive and resilience in other situations. Instead many of us scrutinize what went wrong or how it may have been done faster, cheaper, etc. Stop being so hard on yourself! It will not help you in any way.

Successful people work on their emotional intelligence. EI (also known as EQ) is how we identify, understand, and control our emotions. By recognizing our emotions, we can better deal with them and hopefully overcome the ones that are holding us back. As an example, certain emotions like fear and frustration can paralyze us so we need to identify coping mechanisms to minimize these emotions.

Practicing gratitude can also help you in your career journey. Although most people are seeking new challenges and in turn greater rewards in their careers, they should also be thankful for what they already have. The issue is that most are never satisfied so by turning that attitude around they recognize that they really do have abundance in their lives. This is not just about money and material goods but good health, a wonderful support system of friends and family members, a helpful boss, etc. In turn, they should also show gratitude towards others who have helped them. When one of my coaching clients has an informational interview, I always tell them that the last question they should ask is “you have been kind enough to spend time with me today, what can I do to help you?” It is surprising what the responses are to that question but it makes you memorable, and more importantly, it makes you feel good.

Life is not stagnant and if it is then it is boring and unfulfilling. Instead see your career as an exciting quest in which you have the ability to really succeed and enjoy.