Today I’m talking about the #1 thing that people ask me about their careers.

How do I figure out what I want to do in my career.

That, my friends, is the million dollar question that we’re going to be covering today.  And if you like where this goes, then feel free to send me a million dollars. E-transfer is fine. 

And if you don’t have a million dollars… then feel free to leave me a great review on this podcast.

A lot of people who are stuck and  trying to figure out what to do next with their career are asking themselves a pretty consistent question. 

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO? 

OK, but that’s just the WRONG question.  It’s the TO DO part that’s the problem. What do I want TO DO.  Everyone wants to go right to the action… the doing … the end game without doing the background work.

And I get that.  We’re all extremely busy.  We live in a GET TO THE POINT society.  And when we take action… we feel like we’re moving forward.

But that impatient, get to the point, mentality ain’t gonna work here.  This is a pretty important decision you’re making. So you want to take your time.  Put the time into making an informed decision. Right? That’s the whole point. That’s why you’re stuck.  You don’t feel informed enough to make a decision.  

So how do you get informed? And what information do you need? 

Excellent question.

Well it all starts with changing the question you’re asking yourself.   Stop asking yourself WHAT DO I WANT TO DO. And start asking yourself WHAT DO I WANT?  

Ok? What do I want?  

The question ‘what do I want’ takes it from the functional busy work of DOING, and brings it back to a more introspective mindset.  

Now I know WHAT DO I WANT sounds like a big question. So it’s easier if you break it down into some smaller questions.  And here are the three smaller questions I recommend you answer… and these are in order. If I may be so controlling.  

What do I love doing?

What’s important to me? … and … 

What does that mean for my career?

So listen to the rest of the podcast (or skip ahead using the timecodes below) as we deep dive into how to answer these questions… or check out the transcript at the end of this post!

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Episode Highlights

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[5:36] The wrong question that you’re asking yourself

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[7:10] What are the right questions?

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[8:52] How to figure out what you love doing?

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[14:14] How to figure out what’s important to you?

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[17:14] What does this mean for your career?

Links from the Show

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Read the Transcript here

[Intro] Welcome to The Career Reset Podcast. Your One-Stop-Shop for creating a want-to-career that gives you meaning and purpose and still pays the bills. So if you’re ready for the Ultimate Mashup of Life Coaching and Career Management, stick around because you’re in the right place.

So let’s get started. I’m your host, former Corporate-lifer, turned Founder and CEO Mel Savage.

Hello and welcome back to The Career Reset podcast. It’s a big day folks. Today I am talking about the number one thing that people ask me about when we talk about their careers and that is how do I figure out what I want to do with my career? 

That, my friends is the million dollar question that I’m going to be covering today. 

And so if you like where this goes, you know what, just feel free to send me that million dollars. No problem. I’ll take it. E-transfer is totally fine. And for those of you who don’t have $1 million lying around, then you could just feel free to leave me a great review in this podcast. If you like what you hear. Okay. 

So how do you figure out what to do with your career? That’s a great question. And this is actually a part two of the podcast series that I started last week called how to take back control of your career because that’s essentially what I do in my business, right?

That’s really what this entire podcast is about. Empowering you, empowering people, take back control of their career… which essentially means that you are making career decisions for yourself with purpose on purpose. 

And last week I said there are four main stages to taking back control of your career. Okay? The first stage is about taking the time to reconnect. Really rediscover you when you’re operating at your best. When you’re showing up at your best, right? When you’re performing at your best. Because quite often what happens when we’re stuck in that job that we don’t love or we’re not connected to, our mindset, our best self essentially is the first  thing to go, right? 

We start to stop operating essentially at our best. So stage one of this process of taking back control of your career is about re-grounding yourself and how you want to show up for yourself at your best.

Okay, nevermind all the crap that’s going on in the office. Never mind all that petty BS that you have to deal with and other people’s attitudes and other people’s moods. This is about you, and how to stay focused on you and showing up at your best. Okay. 

And like I said last week, you don’t have to nail stage one before you move on to stage two. Okay? Cause nailing stage one is a process within itself. It’s gonna take time. It’s a day to day thing, but you need to at least start that process before you move on to stage two because these, these stages aren’t really consecutive, right? They’re concurrent. 

You’re dealing with all of the stages at the same time, but if you’re starting from scratch, you really don’t want to start all of the stages at once because it can be overwhelming. So definitely start with stage one, get some practice under your belt, showing up as your best self, right? Recognizing the trigger when you want to show up as your best self because it does take practice. You’re not going to get it right immediately, right? 

It’s like learning to play piano or going to yoga or learning any new skill. It takes practice. It’s an ongoing practice and in the beginning you’re gonna blow it more than you get it, right? And that’s okay. That’s part of the practice. Just like when you’re playing piano, you’re not going to get it right the very first time you put your fingers on the keys, you’re going to blow it a lot. And that’s what practice is for and that’s perfectly normal, okay? Give yourself the space to do that. Okay? 

Especially you perfectionists out there. Give yourself this space at least a couple of weeks to give yourself time to fall down. Get back up, build up some momentum, recognize your triggers, recognize, recognize what’s triggering you.

And again, you’re not waiting to be perfect. You’re not waiting to nail this, but you do want to start to see yourself building up some momentum or at least some consistent recognition of what’s going on with you, right? Getting a bit more comfortable in that process of being aware of how you’re showing up. Okay. 

Like I said, just like yoga, career, happiness is a practice. It’s not a destination. It’s a lifestyle, right? It’s something that you need to manage and being in control of all the time. The first two or three weeks are really just about practicing, showing up as the best version of you and getting comfortable with that. Okay. 

Then you’re ready to add on. And that’s what we’re doing today. So stage two is all about figuring out what you want for your career, right? Figuring out your next move and understanding what you want.

And a lot of people who are stuck and trying to figure out what to do next with their careers are asking themselves a pretty consistent question. Right? What do I want to do? And I get that. That’s the question we often ask ourselves for a lot of different reasons. 

But in this case, that’s the wrong question. It’s not entirely the wrong question? It’s just mostly the wrong question. It’s the TO DO part that’s the problem. Okay. What do I want to do? 

Everyone wants to go right to the action, right? The doing … the end game … without doing any of the background work. We want to start doing stuff right? And I get that we’re all extremely busy. We live in this sort of get to the point society and when we take action, we feel like we’re moving forward. 

But that impatient, get to the point mentality isn’t really gonna work here. Okay? This is a pretty important decision that you’re making. So you want to take your time and put the time into really making an informed decision, right? That’s the whole point. 

That’s why you’re stuck. You don’t feel informed enough to make the decision so you don’t do anything. So how do you get informed? Right? And what information do you actually need? Well, that’s an excellent question. 

It all starts with asking yourself a different question. Okay? So instead of asking yourself, what do I want to do? Start asking yourself, what do I want? Okay, the question is what do I want? And that question takes it from the functional, busy work of doing and brings it back to a more know introspective mindset. 

You’re still taking action. You’re just not pumping out resumes and going on interviews just yet, right? You’re taking a minute to do the background work and understand what you want. Okay, so that’s the question to start asking yourself, what do you want? 

Now, I know that sounds like a big question. So in order to answer that question, you really need to break it down into some smaller questions. And I’m going to suggest three smaller questions that I recommend you answer. And I recommend that you answer them in this specific order. Okay? If I may be so controlling …

What do I love doing? 

What’s important to me 

What does that mean for my career? 

I’ll say that again…, what do I love doing, what’s important to me and what does that mean for my career? Let’s highlight each of these now, but if you are someone who’s really ready to dig into all of this, then feel free to jump right to the show notes@thecareerreset.com/04 and you can access my free Quickstart program.

It’s going to help you get underneath all of these questions, okay? Exercises and everything, so you can go check that out@thecareerreset.com/04 and it will link you to that program. 

But for now, let’s start with what do I love doing? And you be thinking, you know what lady? If I knew what I loved doing that I would be out there doing it. Got it. 

But I’m not talking about, you know, that one big all consuming thing that you love doing. That’s not what I’m talking about at all. I’m talking about all the little tasks that you do in a day that you really love doing and more precisely what makes you feel strong. 

Okay. A long time ago. I read this book by Marcus Buckingham, and honestly, I can’t remember the name of the book, but I will link to it in the show notes.

And what he talks about are your true strengths. Okay. Not the traditional definition of strengths, but really what your true strengths are and the way he talks about it is that your true strengths are the things that make you feel strong when you’re doing them. Okay? 

So when you’re doing them, you really enjoy it. You feel powerful, energized, excited, right? Maybe you lose time, you’re really, really into it because you really like doing it. And it can be anything. Okay? It doesn’t  need to be that one all consuming thing. It can be anything from organizing a meeting to writing a presentation. Maybe you like negotiating deals or selling things to clients or to senior management, right? It doesn’t have to just be work stuff, right? 

It can be personal stuff too. Gardening, journaling, holding dinner parties, volunteering a bunch of things. Anything really that goes on in your work or your life that makes you feel strong.

And the important thing to understand here that’s very different from how we traditionally look at strengths is you don’t necessarily have to be good at these things. Okay. You can be, it can be something that you’re good at and makes you feel strong. But it can also be something that you’re not so skilled at yet but still makes you feel strong. Okay. 

Being good at something is not a prerequisite of something making you feel strong. 

So for instance, I really love biking, right? I do it a lot where I live, we have a lot of trails around here, really beautiful. And you know, we’re out in nature all the time, except in the winter where it’s freezing. But in the summer I’d rather bike the six kilometers to the grocery store versus take my car. Right? That’s 12 kilometers return. But I do it because I love doing it.

It energizes me. I feel great being out in nature. Am I a great cyclist? Not so much. Right. I don’t quite get the gears on my bike. I just found out this year that there’s a front gear and back gear. Right? I’m not the person who puts on the cycling shoes and the shorts and the top right. I’m not professional. I’m not good enough to race. Okay. I just like to get out and ride. It makes me feel strong. 

So I would say that cycling for me or biking is a strength. Alright, so what are the things that you do every day? Work or personal that make you feel strong? Whether you’re good at them or not. 

I want to give you one heads up on this and it’s important because I don’t want you to confuse being on a learning curve with something not making you feel strong.

And here’s what I mean by that. Sometimes when you’re on a learning curve, you will struggle and it’s not quite as enjoyable as you would like it to be. You’re struggling. It’s taking up a bit more of your energy. But that’s because you’re on a learning curve, not because you don’t enjoying what you’re doing. Okay? 

So it’s important to make that distinction. And I’ll give you an example. My own example of this. Writing is a big part of my job and I love doing it, but I struggle with it. Okay. Even though I’m getting better and better all the time, it’s not easy yet. I’m not mastering it. I still struggle with it mostly because my perfectionism kicks in and my brain starts to tell me stories that, you know, I’m not a very good writer and why am I even trying to do this and what makes me think I can do this right … full on imposter syndrome.

So you know, I start to struggle with that imposter syndrome and because that’s difficult. Struggling with that impostor mindset. I distract myself. I procrastinate. I do all the kinds of stuff that you do when something is hard to do. 

So it’d be easy for me to think that writing doesn’t make me feel strong. But it’s not because I don’t love writing. It’s because I’m not great at it yet. And I’m judging myself too much because I’m on this learning curve, because I’m struggling and it’s not as easy as I would like it to be. 

So I wanted to give you that heads-up when you’re thinking about the things that make you feel strong, make sure that you’re thinking about the things you’re good at, as well as the things that you may not quite be skilled at yet.  And make the distinction in your own mind between things that you really just don’t love doing and things that you’re just on a learning curve.

So it’s not so easy yet, but you still love doing it. 

Next, I want you to explore what’s important to you. Okay. This is the biggie. This is a big part of what you want and what’s important to you starts with what you value, okay? What are your values? 

And your values are guideposts, really, for how you live your life. But most people don’t really know what their values are or the role their values play in how they live their life or how they show up in their career. 

In fact, when I ask people what their values are, they often just get stumped, right? It’s cause that’s kind of a stumper people normally what? Just sort of stop and think about what a value is first and then they think for a second. And usually the first thing everyone says is, okay, I value family.

And then after that, some random thoughts come up, right? 

Most people don’t really think about what their values are, even though your values are guideposts and drive what you believe and how you think about your life. And a lot of the time people have been holding onto certain values since they were little kids. Or they’re letting certain values take over their life and they don’t even know that they’re doing it. 

Now values are going to have a big impact on how you show up every day and how you think and feel about your career now when a situation isn’t working for you in your life, like say you’re not connecting with your career quite often it’s because you’re not living in a way or you’re not showing up in a way that’s aligned with your values, right? 

So if you don’t know what your values are, you got a problem because you don’t really know what you’re out of alignment with.

Got it. 

So the first thing with understanding what’s important to you is getting underneath what your values are. What your top top values are and why you value them and what role they play in your life or what role you want them to play in your life. 

And how do they serve as guideposts for how you make decisions. 

So you could say that you value family, but how do you define family? Because family is going to be different for you than it is for me. You might say, you might define your family as your immediate family. I might define family as the people who count on me in my life. It could extend to my friends, it could extend to the people I work with or the people who I mentor or the people who report to me, right? Everyone will define their family differently.

So how do you define family and why do you value it? What role does family play in your life and how do you use your value of family as a guidepost for how you make decisions? You really want to give that some thought, really sit down and think about what is an ideal day in the life for me and how do my values frame my ideal life? What role do they play? 

That’s definitely something you want to sit down and journal out. And again, if you want a primer on values, then check out the link in the show notes to the make your move quick start program. It’s a free program and is going to help you start getting underneath all of this stuff. Okay. 

And then once you have a sense of your strengths, which we said is what makes you feel strong and what you love doing and you have a good understanding of what you value, then you can really dig into what all of that means for your career.

And that’s what I recommend everyone needs to do the want to career self assessment. Okay. I go through this in a lot of detail in episode one of this podcast because it’s so foundational and of course it is also part of the Quickstart program. But just in case you’re here with me now and you’re kind of a do it yourselfer, let me walk you through what I’m talking about so that you can really start to absorb the information and start thinking about it for yourself. 

Oftentimes when people start to think about what they want for their careers, right, what they want to do, they go right to the job role, right? What is the job role that I want? And I kind of get that because the role is a big part of the job and it’s a thing you do every day and it’s the thing that you have to prove that you can do when you go out interviewing for a job.

But there’s a lot more to career happiness and the role itself. And if you want to start understanding what’s really important to you, I could exercise is exploring all the boxes that your next career move needs to tick before you make the decision. Okay. And I kind of compare this to buying a new house or looking for a place to live. 

When your looking to buy a new house, you generally have a long list of boxes that you need to have ticked, right? The house itself is important to a point how many bedrooms does it have? How much square footage? How big is, the kitchen? Does it have a garage? All that stuff. But as you know, when you’re looking to buy a house, the requirements go way beyond the house itself. In fact, you probably would be willing to trade bedrooms or a garage or square footage for some of the other things that might be on your list.

So things like where is this house? What’s the commute to work? What’s the commute to school? What’s the light? How many windows are there? How much does it cost? Is there a space for the kids to play? Is there a space for dogs to play or dogs to walk, you know, what neighborhood is it in? What school district is it in? How close is it to family of brands? How does that align with your lifestyle? And on and on and on. 

There’s so many things that you think about and as you’re thinking about everything on your list, you know that you have to make compromises when you’re looking for this house. So you have to decide things like, would you trade a bedroom for a school district or would you trade a garage? We’re a trendy neighborhood or a walk to a coffee shop or something like that.

It all depends on what’s right for you and the people who count on you. And it’s the same for your career. And in episode one, I talk about the eight cornerstone categories of your career. So role, the people, the location, the environment, the lifestyle, the culture, the pay, and the alignment. Okay? 

And all of those will be in the show notes because I know that I went fast through that. Now, each of these categories represent an important element of what drives job satisfaction and happiness, okay? And your ultimate job is to find the balance that best suits you. 

And if you dig into each of these cornerstone categories and really start to articulate what you want and what you don’t want, you’re going to start to get a really good sense of what your deal breakers are. And the deal breakers are things that you can absolutely not live without.

These are your non negotiables. 

It’s like saying, you know what? I will not buy a house without a backyard or without a garage or I absolutely will not buy a house that’s not within walking distance of a beach or a coffee shop or my kid’s school. Okay? You have to decide what your deal breakers are and then you can prioritize them and that’s going to give you a really good scope on your next career move. 

And you might be saying, okay, all that sounds great, but it’s not going to tell me exactly what I need to do next for my next career move. And you know what? You’re right. There are a few more steps that you can take if you really need to, but this is an excellent starting place. 

You’d be surprised how just asking themselves the three questions that we’ve covered off in this podcast helps because once you open up the floodgates and you get your brain working on what you really want, your brain is going to start to do the work for you in the brat, in the background and you’re going to be more open to the opportunities that come into your path. 

So really that’s the fundamentals of stage two of taking back control of your career, which is essentially knowing what you want. Want to start with you and really doing the background work on you, spending the time getting underneath what you love doing, what’s important to you and what all of that means for your career. And don’t forget to go back to episode three if you haven’t listened to it yet. And listened to stage one of taking back control of your career, which is all about rediscovering your best self, what you look like when you’re showing up at your best.

And honestly, after these two stages alone, stage one in stage two, you are going to be in a completely different mindset. Okay? You’re going to be excited. You’re going to be open. You’re already going to have a lot more clarity than you do right now about your next career move. And you’re going to be mentally ready to go out there and be motivated to kick butt going after what you want. Okay? 

So you’re gonna have some momentum. You’re going to have some clarity, and you’re gonna have a determination that you need to go and find your next career move. I want to thank you so much for tuning today because I know you have a lot of podcasts out there to choose from. 

So if you’re finding this information useful to you, then please go ahead and subscribe to this podcast by going to thecareerreset.com/podcast . And just choose the app that you want to subscribe with and if you like what you’re hearing them, please leave me a review because that’s so helpful to me in making sure this podcast gets to people. 

And for those of you who do, leave me a review, I want you to know that once a month I’m going to be pulling a name from all the reviews and that person will win a three month free access pass to my ultimate career reset membership program. Okay? 

I want that to be you. So please leave me a review and remember to join me next week when I’m talking about stage three of taking back control of your career, which is planning for your success. We’re going to be talking about the fundamentals of building your 360 degree career plan. Okay?

I will talk to you next week. In the meantime, have a great one.

[close] If you’re someone who’s looking to go after your want to career, but you have some questions that I’m going to give you some options right now. 

First, open up your email right now on your computer or on your phone and typed and this email address mouth@thecareerreset.com that’s my personal email and then in the subject line I want you to type, I want more. Okay. Tell me a little bit about your situation or asking me a question and me or someone on my team. We’ll get back to you. 

Number two, if you’re ready to start figuring out your next career moves, the check-out my FREE quick start program called Make Your Move. It’s essentially an 8-day mini-course delivered to your inbox to help you get clear on your career. And you can check that out @ thecareerreset.com 

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