Happy New Year!
I hope that you enjoyed the holiday season and are looking forward to great things in the coming year!
I am not big on New Year’s resolutions since it’s too easy to set yourself up for failure by reaching for unrealistic goals. Instead, I encourage people to reflect on the important areas of their lives and assess where they are and what they would like to accomplish over the course of the year.
A good place to start is with your career.
No matter where you are in your career– whether you are busily engaged in work that you enjoy or are in transition or would like to make a change and are wondering about next steps—the new year is a great time to take stock of where you are and where you would like to be.
Career satisfaction can seem like an overwhelming and complicated subject but the trick is to break down your career into different areas. There are a number of areas to consider when assessing your career, ranging from the practical like your finances to the more subtle like your values and your need for balance.
8 Areas of That Contribute to Career Satisfaction
Creating financial sustainability and a plan for getting there
Values and Passions:
Aligning your career with your top principles and engaging in the things that you love.
Purpose and Mission:
Feeling fulfilled and full of purpose and having an impact on an audience that matters to you
Having balance and a clear sense of priorities.
Strengths and Talents:
Using your favorite and top strengths.
Health & Wellness:
Enjoying physical, mental and emotional health and well-being
Having quality people in your professional sphere
Learning and improving your professional skills
The Career Assessment Wheel of Life
I love visuals so here is a helpful way to view these 8 areas:
Let’s take a closer look at how to use the Wheel to assess your career and help you achieve greater career satisfaction.
Define Each Segment
First, define what each area means to you make sure that the definition is one that resonates for you.
For example, for some people, that area of Finances means making a lot of money, whereas for others, it means financial sustainability so that you can do what you love and earn enough to support yourself.
What about relationships?
This can mean the people with whom you work on a daily basis while for others it encompasses your extended network or it may include mentors and mentees.
Substitute and/or Add Segments
Next, look at the 8 areas and make sure that they are important to you!
Perhaps there are other aspects of your career that you would like to focus on like leadership, mentoring, travel or personal development. Feel free to substitute a new area or add it onto the wheel.
Rate Your Segments
Once you have your 8 areas, review each one and decide how important that area is to your career satisfaction. It helps to rate these areas on a scale of 1 to 10 with “1” meaning “not important” and 10 meaning “vitally important.”
Now, rate how satisfied you are with each of these areas, using the same rating scale of 1 to 10.
This is where the exercise becomes interesting.
Notice the gaps. If you see a gap of 2 or more points between how important an area is and how satisfied you are, this is a signal that you could improve on this area. Then, you can set a goal on what you would like to achieve in that area.
Suppose you are at the stage of your career where you are able to make a living as a musician and you would like to expand your activities but you are not sure of where to turn. You zero in on a few areas that could use improvement.
Let’s take Relationships.
You define this area to mean not only the people with whom you work but also those in your extended network. You rated this as a “10” because you thrive on having close relationships in your professional life. Yet your level of satisfaction is at a “6” because you fee that your extended network is too narrow and you would like to know people outside the music industry.
Set a Goal
Now that you have zeroed in on relationships, what would you like to achieve in this area?
Set a goal for yourself of what you would like to improve in the next 6 months (be sure to include a time period in order to motivate yourself to achieve that goal!).
You decide that you would like to form a personal board of directors in order to have a close circle of trusted advisors to whom you can turn for good advice, as well as help in figuring our solutions to your challenges.
You would like to know some young professionals from a variety of industry sectors who are interested in music and could help you to create an expanded vision and an action plan. It would be a big help to you to know some people in law, finance and marketing. Therefore, you set a 6-month goal of getting to know 1 person each in the legal financial and marketing sectors.
Make A Plan and Take Action
For your action plan, you decide that your first step is to review your current network and identify the people who might be able to make some introductions.
You decide to call a few friends and send out a series of emails in the next 3 weeks. You then commit to following up on any introductions by scheduling meetings and informal coffee, lunch or dinner dates to get acquainted with these new people over a 3-month period. After you meet a number of these new people, you can use your intuition to figure out with whom you click and you can deepen that relationship by inviting people to your concerts and events.
Voila! You are on your way to improving your career!
Take a look at your other top-rated areas and notice the gaps. Limit yourself to 3 areas that you would like to improve and then set your goals and make your action plan.
Each week, be sure to take one action that will move you ahead.
Do this exercise periodically both to assess your progress as well as check in with yourself on what areas matter to you.
And enjoy making progress on your career satisfaction!