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Episode 006

Episode 6: Three ways to figure out your next career move

by Gillian Fox

Listen To The Full Episode:

Maybe you can’t stand your boss, you’re bored and badly want a change or maybe you’re just not fulfilled anymore. If that is you, it is probably time to figure out your next career move….because SOMETHING needs to change.

You are listening to Your Brilliant Career. I’m your host, Gillian Fox – executive coach, women’s career expert, and entrepreneur. The podcast that teaches you how to get the most out of your career. We talk tactics, tools, and stories that all help incredible women like you achieve the success you deserve.

If you’re a woman who values her career and wants 2022 to be great – a very different kind of year to the last two – then boy do I have the masterclass is for you.

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Hi everyone. Welcome to the show. This is episode 6 and yes, we are starting to understand how this podcasting stuff works. It is so exciting. I want to say thank everyone who has listened the podcast so far and a HUGE thanks to those that have left a review. This means the world to me and there are messages there that make me feel very proud.

This podcast and everything we do is driven by the desire to help women lead more gratifying careers. I want women to feel like they are achieving at work. I want them to back themselves more. I want them to feel confident in their own skin and have a brilliant career.

So, if you’re enjoying the podcast – and you’d like to write a short review or give us a 5 star rating – please, please don’t hold back. We would love it.

As one of the newest kids to the block, it really helps. Thank you.

So today, we are talking about finding your next career move.

Now I’m sure you’ve had that experience of feeling unmotivated or unenthused about your job. Quite often this feeling – particularly if it’s unattended too long – it can make us feel depleted, really flat. It can make us feel restless as well or maybe even agitated. It can also leave us feeling very confused. You start asking… “Should I be hanging in here, am I really valued here, what does my career trajectory look like – do I have one here?” This frustration stimulates lots of questions but not much action.

So, when we are flirting with the idea of a career move – at that front end of the process – the experience is like being on a career plateau – that place where you’re not going forward but your also not going backwards … and it feels a bit like walking around with a pebble in your shoe. Frustrating.

And this is why I thought today we will explore the 3 ways to figure out your next career move. Now, it may not be 100% relevant to you today because you might be really happy where you are but I think you’ll still find these insights helpful and potentially very relevant down the track if you want to figure out your next career move.

One of the things people think about immediately when you’re talking about a next move is updating your CV and LinkedIn profile. This is very important, and I want to take the time to talk about these things in a future episode. I feel it deserves a deeper dive and a dedicated conversation.

So here’s the first way to figure out your next career move – and it is going to sound like I’ve snuck in two points in one but here it is… DREAM then research. And you’re about to see how intertwined these two actions are.

We need to start somewhere. I think this is the hardest part for people – getting moving. The fact is we get stuck sometimes, and we don’t know what to do – so we do nothing. We land in that place where we are worried or frustrated but we are not doing much.

So step one is pretty easy – DREAM! I know this sounds fanciful but just run with me for a moment.

Simply imagine the possibilities for you. What are the roles, the professions that intrigue – that attract you – that you think about – that you admire – that can see yourself doing? Despite the many perceived limitations.

The idea is to open your mind to new possibilities and explore your options. Now you will put your business head on at some point and evaluate, but for now think big. Dream of the roles and the career that engage you in a positive way.

I get that it can be intimidating to pursue something new, so writing down something entirely different from what you’re doing today will feel awkward. But don’t let that stop you…. and remind yourself that people change careers and continue to be very successful. I jumped from magazines to running a leadership consultancy in six weeks. And I’m still going all these years later, so it can be done.

The idea of DREAMING is allowing yourself to really discover the possibilities available to you. Not the ones that ‘you should be doing’ or ‘your family wants you to do’ but what is the kind of career and job that would light you up and fulfil you for possibly the next two or three decades. This career caper is long term – we work for a very long time.

Did you know that most careers span 40 – 50 years? So, if you’re thinking about your next career move because you’re not that happy – you have time on your side – you even have time to experiment and make a few mistakes. It is not deal breaker so don’t come at this full of fear. Dream with curiosity and joy. Enjoy the idea of being in a career and place that feels completely you.

Last year was an unusual year for all of us. Yet I worked with so many more women in 2021! This was on top of the hundreds of women who joined our programs or saw me speaking at events.

One of the women I worked with – let’s just call her Patricia for today – came to me almost in the depths of despair about her job. She was bored and unhappy.

She recognised that she was definitely not in the right place –in fact she could not be clearer. She didn’t like the culture, and she couldn’t imagine doing her boss’s job and she was uninspired by the work she was doing.

But the problem was she had no idea what she wanted to do – AND no idea where to start.

In our first 1:1 executive coaching session together, I pulled a blank A3 sheet of paper out and popped it in front of her. I asked Patricia to put a small circle on the page and write her current role inside that circle. She did that and then we brainstormed and DREAMT other possible job options. It was quite fun once we got some momentum around it.

Some of the jobs she came up with were pretty out there in that they were very different to her current role. At the end conversation, we had a collection of six circles, including her current job, looking at us on this A3 page. We had captured 6 next career move job options – all available for us to explore.

Now you might be wondering why include the current job – because clearly Patricia doesn’t like it – but I feel it’s part of this process of getting very clear what we want and what we don’t want.

Sometimes I see in my coaching sessions that women, it would be men as well I’m sure, crave major change, but as the discussion unfolds, it doesn’t have to translate to changing everything, including their job – so I like to exhaust this option. Qualify there’s no unfinished business in the existing role or organisation… and then move on.

The next step is to start qualifying the other options on the page. We got it down to two possibilities through the coaching conversation and a series of questions. This meant we focused on 2 of the 6 circles on the A3 page.

This is where the research part kicks in. Remember DREAM and research.

To really understand if a job is going to light you up, fulfil your expectations, and if it is indeed a good business fit for you, you need to understand more about it. You need to research. Of course, you can do this online and learn a lot… but I always recommend my coaching participants to speak with people.

It’s incredibly useful to spend time with people that do that job or have done that or have a good knowledge about it.

With Patricia, we talked about who would be a good fit and who she could reach out to. Over a few conversations, we got a great list together. The list came from her own business contacts – some friends, a school parent. I made one intro.

The idea was to set up meetings and use them to research – to walk away with a clearer understanding of what Patricia’s experience might look like if she made the leap.

If you’re going to do this… you need to prepare some decent questions – and be really curious – you might ask, what’s the most rewarding part of doing this job? What is the toughest part of the job? What you dislike the most about it? What changes do you foresee in the industry in the next 12 months? What are the skills most valued in this job right now?

Get your questions prepared and interview these people.

And just a side word here, if this is something you’re interested in doing – when you set up these meetings, do it thoughtfully – be eloquent and professional. Even if the contact is a family friend and you’re guaranteed of the meeting, you want to be taken seriously. You want the meeting to be taken seriously to get the best information.

So, approach it like you would a client meeting but obviously with more warmth and informality. The point is to take every part of the process seriously. You’re putting in this extra energy – you want to yield good results.

When I sent Patricia out to the market, as you might expect…. she was a little uncomfortable, but she got some great meetings in the diary. Once she had these meetings and met with these people, she couldn’t believe how much she enjoyed them – the enjoyment aspect just wasn’t expected. After all, the mission was collecting data to help her think about her options. Just pure research.

It was not what she anticipated – these research meetings gave her such a shot of much needed energy and motivation. I knew they would. There is so much joy to be gained from spending time with new people, having interesting conversations, and learning something new. Particularly if you’re stuck – it can be that circuit breaker – it can be incredibly helpful.

For Patricia – it got her enthused, it got her moving – and it gave her a greater sense of urgency around figuring out her next career move.

She emerged from these meetings with new perspectives, which she needed; she felt a deep sense of gratitude to the people who she met with, and gratitude always puts us in a better mood – it’s impossible to be cranky if we are thankful and appreciative. And Patricia learnt new things which allowed her to have more conversations for possibility and rationalise her career options intelligently.

When we sat down and reviewed the contents of these meetings, Patricia was incredibly clear on her evaluation, and she steered the direction. She learned things from meetings that she could not have learnt by just researching online. The process got her moving, energised her and yes, she did move to a new job and a new industry – and that was 8 months ago now and she is doing great.

So, DREAM and research is one way of finding your next career move.

The second way is to connect with WHAT YOU DO BEST. If you’re not clear about the value that you bring – your special strengths – how will others know what makes you great? It’s a fair question. If you don’t know your value, how will others even know what makes you unique or great?

Your special strengths are that place where your interests and your skills meet. If you have no idea what your special strengths be, it’s okay. You can figure all this out. I am going to give you a couple of tools today. You can do this asking 4 or 5 people – what do you see as my greatest strengths or talents? And hear what they have to say.

A great way of qualifying are they useful strengths to my next career move, is to ask yourself these things.

When I think about this strength:

  • Am our passionate about it?
  • Will it deliver an ROI? And by that I mean is it relevant, is it aligned to the work I do and will it help produce results?

I think it’s really important to tick both of those off. The passion will give you the energy and the ROI makes it commercially relevant.

There’s no use in having a strength that says you a strong influencer if you’re an individual contributor and you don’t need to get results through others.

But if you can tick those things – you’re passionate and it has an ROI– it’s a strength you want to invest in.

You could also do a VIA strengths survey. That’s another way of finding out what your special strengths are.

This a FREE self-assessment that takes 10-15 minutes to complete. It provides you with a report that outlines your strengths.

Go to viacharacter.org/survey/account/register

If you can’t remember because you’re driving or out for a walk, just google VIA strengths survey and you’ll find it. If you want a really comprehensive VIA strengths report, spend $50 on the expanded version of the report. It’s terrific!

Knowing your strengths and articulating them is incredibly powerful – it helps you to have more confident business conversations and who doesn’t want more of those.

So think about when someone asks you …what do you bring to the table … imagine responding to that with ease and confidence. That would feel pretty good.

For example, what if you responded (and of course this is just an example) but what if you if said… “well, one of MY greatest strengths is critical thinking. Thinking things through and examining them from all sides. From a business standpoint, this allows me to see different perspectives that can add real value to my stakeholders and the decisions they make”.

Snappy few sentences, it’s clear, articulate and very quickly showcases your contribution.

This is some of work we do in the RISE Program because I love the idea of women being VERY clear on their value and being able to articulate it.

Okay, let’s talk about the third way to figure out your next career move. This involves creating mini experiences. What do I mean by this?

You want to intentionally do different things – trial new things, road test, chat to new people. Otherwise, we are all at risk of just intellectualising everything – you need to create new experiences that get you out of your routine out of your head – little experiences that stretch you.

A woman on the RISE Program last year – for our new listeners, Rise is our 4 month women’s career advancement program and enrolments are almost open – as in any day now – for our first program of the year – starting March 8.

So this participant was thinking about her next move internally which she would like to happen within the next 12 months. During the program she had an opportunity to have a meeting with the CFO of her organisation. Based on some of things she learnt in the program, she added on to that discission some thoughts about her career and her desire to progress in the company.

The outcome of that meeting is that the CFO ended up hiring her for a position that wasn’t even created yet! So, you never know where conversations can lead. It all happened because she created this new experience – no one else.

Thinking about your next career move is exciting …. but it also requires motivation. The truth is that everyone has experienced a career move at some point in their lives.

Think about what mini experiences you need to create to get you moving.

That’s a wrap. I hope you found these tips helpful today.

  1. Dream and research
  2. Connect with what you do best
  3. Create mini experiences

Thank you for listening. Have a great week everyone.

Before you go, don’t forget to sign up to my free training session on how to land your next promotion. This course is going to give you a close look at the three reasons why people don’t land their next promotion and what you can do differently to ensure you succeed. I think you’ll love it. Head over to yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/land-your-promotion/ and if you want some inspiration and tips during the week, join us on Instagram – Gillian Fox Group. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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