“What am I doing with my life? Why am I doing it?”
If you’ve asked yourself these questions – recently or in the distant past – Frank DiGiammarino wants you to know you are certainly not alone. Figuring out what you want to do is key to achieving real success in life, but that’s easier said than done.
During a breakout session at the NextGen conference today, DiGiammarino explained that it is important to stop jumping from job to job and start focusing on building a career.
You can achieve this, he explained, by picking a specific job that you want to do and then identifying skills that you need to do that job. After you figure this out, you should be honest with yourself based on what you’re good at, not good at, what you like to do, and what you don’t like to do. This will enable you to identify the skills you need to develop, and that is the first step toward being able to really identify what you want to do.
But DiGiammarino wants to remind you that there is no magic bullet solution, “There really aren’t any easy answers. There are tools that can help you, but its really all about you. You’re the only one who can make yourself happy.”
Tools like the Myers-Briggs test can help, however.
Additionally, keeping certain definitions in mind can focus your thought process:
• Talents - naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior
• Knowledge - facts and lessons learned
• Skills - steps of an activity
And keep this formula in mind: Talents + Knowledge + Skills = Strengths
Once you calculate your strengths, you should then focus on your “value chain” and think about what you are really optimizing for. What is really important to you in your life outside of work? Things like standard of living, location, family, and your health are just as important to pay attention to as your work-related skills.
Be honest with yourself and recognize that you can’t focus on everything all the time. Learning how to prioritize is essential if you want to achieve a balanced life.
DiGiammarino says it is important to keep in mind that today’s workforce will have over 10 jobs over the course of their careers. This is why it is essential to have a benchmark and think about your work life as a marathon with a changing end point. If you can get the “who” and “why” right, the “what” will come.
He reminds you to fight the myths of being able to do it all and excel at everything. Focus on who you are and why you’re doing something.
And remember: there is no quick fix.
You are the only person who can really manage your career for yourself. It is, in fact, a career to manage your career, DiGiammarino says. You can either have your career happen to you, or you can drive your career and be in control.