I was chatting to a good friend this week, were talking about our careers and how we have arrived at where we are now. If you stopped a few people along the street and asked them the same question, I can not imagine that their responses would be the same?
Since then, I've given this some more thought and spoken to some of the people in my circle to find out their journey story. Bear in mind that the people I spoke to were from a real mix of backgrounds. For some, their career was a high flying city job, others it was being a parent. I quickly realized that even though people may have ended up in different vocations, we typically find ourselves driven and motivated by different things and this in turn determinates our approach to work (in whatever format!)
I've outlined what I think are the 3 main approaches (although there are many in between) and also included some activities for you to try at the end of the article.
Striving for a challenge?
This is the person who notices that over time the task is getting easier and more comfortable. They tend to start lose interest at this point if the activity loses its challenge – this could have been in a job or hobby, or other activity. For some people this is viewed in a different way. They 'get the hang' of something and then step it up a gear. They decide that it's time for a change or new challenge and take action to do something about it. This could be to take on extra responsibility, a promotion or looking for a new opportunity elsewhere.
Ticking along nicely?
There are some people who would think the above type of person above is driven, ambitious and frankly a bit too fast paced! For the person who is content to tick along nicely, their preferred approach is to coast along, comfortable and highly capable in whatever they work at.
This is a conscious decision – maintaining is not bad. This tend to be a favorite way for some because it's easy and can achieve a good work / life balance. They are competent and wont get stressed when faced with obstacles. They may only decide to make a change when their life circumstances force them, or they become angry or resentful towards their employer.
Always looking for something else?
Some people are never really sure what they want.
They'll go with the flow if partnered with someone who seeks challenge, enjoying the ride and the excitement that goes with it. They might think about pursuing different career paths frequently trying to find their dream job. They might even try two or three different options in quick success, hoping to get lucky and find the activity that is the right one for them.
So, why bother thinking about this? Surely we all have a different approach to life, careers and activities for enjoyment?
It got me thinking about my personal journey. If I had made some alternative choices in my life, what would be different? Anything? Nothing?
Ultimately, my view is that in each of the scenarios, each of the three have their own personal characteristics that will mean that they will reach their destination; they may have already (for now).
The route they take and the length of the journey may vary, but does this matter?
Take a moment to consider where you are on your personal journey
- Can you identify with any of the approaches above?
- Are you happy with how you are progressing on your journey?
- Do you wish you could take a quicker or more effective route?
- What, if anything are you willing to do about it?
Just taking a few moments to stop and take stock of what is happening in your life is enough to give you the space to recognize your achievements. Give yourself the pat on the back you deserve.
Consider what you want to stop, start or keep doing to help you get from where you are now – to where you want to be.