Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Most Valuable Question for Career Advancement

Many people place importance on their career. They want to have a comfortable living, make use of their talents, and make a notable contribution in their field of work.

We all have the common career goal of achievement, yet most of us do not have the results we desire. Why? With the age of information, we have access to the tools and training we need to reach the desired destination. We have access to mentors and networks that can share valuable wisdom and advice. Yet there is a sense of frustration with lack of progress. People are unhappy in their jobs, but feel stuck. People are unhappy with their title, but have no plan of action to change it. 

If you are disappointed with the direction of your career, it can usually be mapped back to a question. A single question, yet a powerful one. Questions are often an underestimated tool for growth. A good answer to a powerful question can illicit a response; one that can cause a mind shift, which leads to a change in action, and a change in results.

The most valuable question for career advancement is…..

What is your next career move?

How you answer this question can shed insight into the current state of your career.

When I ask this question, I usually get the following responses…..

I want to move into leadership, but I am not sure if I want to deal with personnel problems.

The problem with that statement is that it is conflicting. Any leadership position will have you working with people. Mentally you will subconsciously hold back on your own goal because of conflicting thoughts. What happens in this case? Your thoughts cancel each other out and no results are gained.

I want to be promoted with my current company, but I do not like the direction that the company is going in.

Another conflicting answer. Your goal is promotion, but you are not aligned with the company vision. It is like saying I want to go to the Olive Garden restaurant, but I do not like salad. Your mind will be confused, and a confused mind does not achieve desired results.

One of the most common responses is “I do not know my next career move”. That response indicates that you either have a job that pays the bills and you are content with that status, or you would benefit from some self-reflection/self-discovery work to determine your next career move.

In order to confidently answer what your next career move is, it requires some self-reflection. You have to really sit down and think what you want in your next role, why you want it, and mentally commit to your decision. Any wavering will delay progress. A person that is confident, aware of what they want and why they want it will surpass someone who is undecided.

Engaging in a self-discovery exercise is critical to understanding and choosing a career path that is right for you.  Invest in the time to research your strengths, wants and desires. People will be willing to help you achieve your goals if you can give them a clear vision of your future.

Jewels Bolden
Jewels Bolden is a profound believer in the journey of self-discovery. She has dedicated herself to helping others find their own paths. If you’d like to work with Jewels, please check out her workshops and speaking opportunities, view her coaching services, or contact her directly to learn more.

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