Being strategic now can save you a lot of agony later.
You know what it’s like. You’ve had a long day at the office, in the field, travelling for work. You return home, or to a hotel somewhere, and you feel exhausted. Not so much physically tired as mentally and emotionally tired. You just take this to be part of the job, part of the grind, part of the sacrifice you must make day in and out to stay on top of your job. Exhaustion is just one of the many sacrifices you need to make to stay employed and achieve your personal, family and career goals.
But what if that exhaustion was really trying to tell you something about how you feel emotionally, and unconsciously, about your work and career?
Our unconscious selves are telling us things all the time. If you aren’t energized by your work, career, and the people around you, it could mean you aren’t truly aligned to your career. Meaning, your personality is fundamentally misfit to the career you’re in.
Let me give you an example.
A recent coaching client of mine came to me and complained of being over-tired and unhappy with their career. This person was a senior executive and on paper had an impressive resume. So impressed with her, her work ethic, and her competency, her employers wanted to elevate her into an even more senior executive role, with more responsibility, more pay, and more of the prestige we associate with climbing the corporate ladder. Her peers would envy her success. To her friends, she was a success. Her family was proud of her achievements. She herself was a nervous wreck, hollowed out of happiness, and dreading the promotion she didn’t want, and ultimately declined.
How can someone like this be so outwardly successful but feel like they are failing inside and dreading the success they created? Because they are misaligned to the roles they’ve taken, which means stretching one’s personality so far off centre that instead of happiness there is dread, instead of fulfillment, exhaustion, instead of worth, worthlessness.
But how can this be? It’s precisely because the misalignment between inherent personality and career choice are too far apart. The result is damaging to the person in question and can create a toxic mix of bad feelings that become harder and harder to overcome and ignore.
Most of us ignore these signs. We say to ourselves, work is separate from life. I go do the work, but that’s not who I am. That idea couldn’t be more wrong. No, you aren’t what you do for a living. But, yes, what you do for a living needs to reflect who you are. Why? Because who you are defines your response to everything in life, and if you aren’t aligned in your career with who you are as a person and personality, you are going to feel the weight, the wear and tear on you, the wear and tear on relationships, and the ultimate outcomes for you in all aspects of your life.
If you feel exhausted by your career at the end of every day. If you have trouble sleeping. If you feel anxiety or even panic about the next day at work, it’s time to look more deeply into where those feelings are coming from and fix them. It doesn’t do to stay with something you don’t enjoy and can’t be passionate about. If you really love what you do, that’s excellent. But if you don’t it’s time to start defining what a great career for you would be.
Every ProFound coaching client goes through a program of success, to identify what’s happening in your life and career right now, and to see where the weaknesses in your life’s balance are. Part of these exercises include scientifically valid personality and job fit assessments, which are the culmination of over three decades of personality and career fit data gathered from millions of people. What ProFound’s job fit and personality assessments and analysis will show you is how far you are stretching your natural personality to fit the needs of your career at work. All of us make some adjustments to who we are at work, but some of us really take it to an extreme. When you adjust your behaviour at work too far away from who you really are, it can turn you into a different person. For instance, if you really are the type who doesn’t like confrontation, but you are forced to mediate confrontation in your career, you might behave differently on the job or at home. You might be more prone to explosive outburst if pushed too far off your main line. You might become more remote and isolate yourself. You might find ways to cope with this adjustment in negative ways with alcohol and drugs to soothe yourself back to centre. You might even begin to hate your job or yourself. In so many ways it’s hard to see that who we are and what we need to be for others need to be the same things as much as possible for us to be as happy and fulfilled as we can be.
I’ve seen this time and again with our coaching clients, who, once they see who they are, and how they have to modify their baseline personality for their chosen career, begin to understand what kinds of unconscious sacrifices they’re making every day for their profession of choice, compromises that hurt them in little ways every day until, in some cases, it’s too much. The too much hurts their relationships with others beyond the job and into their personal relationships with friends, families, loves ones, and themselves.
Assessing your personality and job fit is an easy and fun thing to do and will reveal things about you and your career of choice. It will reveal the kinds of careers that fit you best, and will show you some of the skills you need and the things you need to watch for when you’re pushed too far off your centre-line personality. You’ll see new career options for you that potentially fit your personality ever better than the career you might be in today. And it will give you the gift of knowing yourself in ways you might have never thought before.
If you’re struggling in your career and don’t know what to do next, reach out to us here. We are in the business of helping you achieve your dreams.
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