This weekend I made a road trip to visit my goddaughter as she received First Holy Communion. Part of my routine for packing for trips like this is to think through what activities we will be doing each day we are gone as well as any specific items that we will need for those activities. That includes clothing, shoes, accessories and all the basics that you take for granted at your house: shampoo, hairspray, glasses, contact solution, etc. In addition to packing for myself I was also packing for a toddler which included a pack and play and a sheet, diapers and wipes, any special food, and a sippy cup. A lot of thought and preparation goes into what actually gets packed so that the trip itself can be as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. I am thankful to share that this trip was just that. It was a great visit with friends and family and a lovely celebration of my God daughter’s milestone in her faith journey.
While packing for the trip, I was thinking about how this is a metaphor for our careers. How smooth and enjoyable the ride is is dependent on how well you have planned and been intentional about the journey to get there. So often we are packing for our career journey as we are driving down a career path. We are literally throwing things into the suitcase as we go which feels rushed and hectic and often leaves us wondering “What have we forgotten?” and What impact will that have long term for us?”.
Here are 3 myths that prevent us from packing the suitcase for our career journey:
Myth #1 “I don’t have that kind of time to make plans for my career journey. My life is packed as it is”
We all lead very busy lives with often very little down time. However, if something is truly important to you, you make the time for it. We often say we don’t have time for many of the things that we know are in our best interest, but if you really look at where you spend your time, you can adjust to allocate uninterrupted time to determining a path that will lead you to more personal satisfaction in your work life.
Myth #2 “Why make a plan when I don’t really know where my journey is going to take me?”
This myth is like saying you will take a road trip simply by catching whatever bus happens to pass by you – you will be carried by the wind. While you do not need to have your ending point mapped out in your career journey, you still need an inner compass to help you determine which direction will leave you feeling fulfilled. By determining your God-given gifts, you then have something which to compare work opportunities to guide you as to whether they will be a good fit for you and for what you enjoy doing the most.
Myth #3 “I don’t know where to even start to figure out the path I want to take.”
Start with what is important to you in your life. What are your non-negotiables? For some people travel is exciting and rewarding while others view it as a painful burden that is just part of the job. Some professionals seek greater influence across a division or a corporation while others seek deeper connections with the people they are working with. Identify what those core non-negotiables are for you as a starting point. Then, couple those with your God-given gifts. Those two key data points will help you along with informational interviews.
Which myth is preventing you from packing the suitcase for your career journey? Break through the myth and experience calmness and purposeful movement along your path.
Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!