What defines you? If you’re like most people it’s what you do for a living.
As children, we’re often asked what we want to be when we grow up. Then for most of our adult lives we answer the question: What do you do?
Have you ever thought any of the following statements?
- I’d like to try a new career but I’m afraid I’d have to take a pay cut
- I just don’t have time to look for another job
- I don’t think I’m qualified to do anything new
If so, you’ve probably already abandoned who you are to what you do as you strive to for success.
Career coach, trainer and speaker Tori Stevens has interviewed over 12,000 candidates for corporations and higher education over the last 13 years. In that time, she’s learned a few things about how people present themselves. She’s convinced most of us are showing up the wrong way.
When you lose yourself to your career, you then focus on external things to give you a boost of happiness. But these external distractions only bring temporary relief. When you don’t know who you are internally, it shows externally. This fact can impact your current job as well as prevent you from moving forward in your career.
Tori teaches her clients to Think, Talk, and Walk their way through career changes. Here’s how:
Most of us don’t really think about who we are until we’re at a breaking point. Then, we look for someone to blame for our unhappiness, rarely taking time to explore our own role in the situation.
Two of Tori’s favorite interview questions can help guide you to think more about how you’re showing up:
- Think of a time when you were in a follower role but led from behind.
- Have you had to change your personality or behavior traits in order to work with a person or a group?
Think about how you show up when working with others. Recall past rough patches in your career. Were you quick to point the finger at others for your failures or did you explore your own role? Most employers don’t want to invest in someone who is just going to be great at the job. They want someone they can train, someone willing to commit to the success of the organization.
When you take time to think about what your role has been in past organizations, you’ll discover more about who you are.
Whether you’re aiming for the lead on a new project, a promotion or a whole new career, you need to present who you are and why you want it, not what you think someone wants to hear. Often when we want something, we tell a story that may not be our own in order to get ahead. Then we wonder how we landed a role or a job we don’t even want in the first place.
Ask yourself – Why am I doing this? What do I really want from the experience? Bring the answers to these questions with you to the interview or meeting.
Finally, give yourself a pep talk. Talk your truth before you enter the room and you’ll be able to show up as your true self.
Once you know who you are, others will be drawn to you. This can help you widen your circle. You need ambassadors, advocates, and champions if you’re going to find success. All too often, we only network when we need a job. But in truth, you should be networking all the time.
So take a walk, get to know others. Develop your circle and stop simply chasing the achievement.
When you do, you’ll discover what you like and don’t like about your current job. You’ll also learn the types of people you work best with – their talents, abilities, and work styles – and if you’re being honest, your own as well. Then you’ll know when it’s time to move on and how to do so.
Don’t let your career define you. Discover who are really are and get ready for success.