“Where are you professionally strong and talented?” I just read this question in a workbook I’m currently going though. And oof, I don’t know how to answer it.
I find most of us struggle to talk about our professional skills and accomplishments. Most of us want to feel like we have purpose and we want to feel like our jobs matter. I talk with many people who are unsure about their purpose and most of the time, their job is a factor. I see this theme over and over with clients. People are searching for meaningful work and trying to understand where their talents lie.
We spend our lives working so it’s natural that we want to feel good about what we’re doing. There are a lot of external pressures…sales goals, time constraints, expectations from management and more. Then the pressure we put on ourselves. Am I doing this job well enough? Is this what I want to do for the next 3 months or 3 years? What are my career goals? Could I be earning more?
Here are my suggestions for assessing where you’re at professionally. These tips have helped me immensely when I’ve had work problems.
1. Ask yourself the question at the beginning of this post. Write it down and your answers too. Was it hard to do? Did the answers come naturally? Maybe it feels weird or like you’re bragging? Sit with it. We’re often conditioned that it’s bad to talk about ourselves or acknowledge our accomplishments. It is absolutely okay to recognize the good things about your work and performance.
2. Take inventory of your work values. Maybe a short commute is important to you? Or working in teams? Maybe you need set hours? Consider jobs you’ve loved and jobs you’ve hated. Take insight from every work experience to assess your top 3 work values. If you know which aspects of a job are most important then you can make more informed choices at work. Be mindful and honor your boundaries and at-work needs.
3. YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB/CAREER/PROFESSION. Over identifying with any of these can create a lot of stress, anxiety and burn out. I have been there. When we’re passionate about what we do its easy to tie up our self worth with work. Having healthy boundaries with your work will help keep you emotionally and mentally healthy. Your job isn’t who you are; it’s what you do.
Hopefully these tips will help you find more peace regarding your work and bring you clarity. And of course, working with a therapist can be another tool to help you find professional happiness. If the stress and confusion has started taking over we would love to work with you and help you find a better work/life balance.
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