“If you don’t design your own life plan,
you become a part of someone else’s plan.”
We are taught to panic when we cannot offer concise confident answers when people ask, “What do you want to do with your life?”, because we believe that if we don’t “design” our lives, then we fall prey to an insidious force of nature that is called “someone else’s life.”
I have hit more arteries of satisfying career paths by accident than by design, because I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my life.
I have learned the most important thing I need to do is to identify the “strength” points of my skills compass, such that no matter what career terrain I find myself, I will know how to navigate my way through the terrain.
I realize that many of us want a google map or mapquest (anyone still use mapquest?) set-of-directions so we may feel more certain getting from point A to point B.
If you know your destination and your point of origin, great! You may stand a pretty good chance of finding a ‘google map’ set of directions to your career path. You may come close to being able to engineer your career progression in the “bigger scheme” of designing your life.
For someone like me, I have no idea where I’m destined to go.
“Not knowing” has never stopped me from falling into incredible adventures.
Internet maps don’t spit out directions when I can’t fill out the “Destination” field. So, too, do some of us get stymied and fearful when we don’t know where we are going, and we don’t have a clear grasp of where we even want to go.
I had to learn how to use my strengths compass, so that no matter if I find myself in a Tundra or a Desert of a career path, I can figure my way through.
Even if you get to print out a google map of directions, it’s always useful to learn how to use your compass.
You never know when an accident or road closure will render your map useless.
Sounds simple: knowing your strengths — but most people actually don’t know their strengths to the granular level needed to effectively develop these strengths.
For example, a person may say, “I’m a good networker. My strength is networking.” What does this mean? If you put 10 people in front of me, each claiming s/he is a good networker, how am I going to remember YOU versus 9 others who say they can do what you can do?
A strength needs to be more specific to develop in a meaningful (and some many cases, measurable) way. If you tell me, “I am told that I have an uncanny way of figuring out, using 3 questions or less, the real reason why someone shows up a a networking event,” now I find you memorable. This granularity of a “strength” can also empower you to transfer the specific skill into diverse areas, where one has to figure out the real reason why someone shows up someplace.