How to Develop a Career Plan that Excites You

Passionate Career

Thoughtful action to enhance your superpowers keeps your career moving upward. If you stop developing your superpowers, your career can flat line. Dead. Just roll over and give up. Unless…you can see the larger picture of how each action you take can grow your career.

Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

When you keep adding skills to your superpowers, positive thought habits to your mindset, and smart people to your network, you can create a career that excites and delights you.

The challenge is developing a focused plan that helps you have fun and also create more leverage in your career.

So, what does that mean?

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Every Action Matters

Every action I take within my career, I try to think of it as a resume builder. I either say yes because it just seems fun and I’ll figure out how to make it fit my resume or I say no because it seems boring.

This is the gauge that I use to make many of my decisions. If it seems challenging and piques my curiosity, I go for it.

I was recently asked to speak at a conference. It took me away from my normal routine and it would hold me back from completing a very important project, but I said yes because it felt like a lot of fun.

Next time you are asked to work on a project, just ask yourself,

“Will this be fun?’

If it’s a yes, then try to think about how it fits into your career, and especially notice whether it adds to your superpowers.

A Question of Passion

If the task or project you’re contemplating doesn’t seem the least bit fun, it’s going to be hard for you to get great results. Passion is important. You have to have motivation and hopefully a sense of playfulness when you do a project or task. It’s this playfulness that will make it feel easy to take action.

Ask yourself:

“How can I make this project interesting?”

If you can’t make the project interesting then it’s time to find help. If you can make it interesting then you are playing into your passions.

You know how important your passions are to your career. They can help guide your career in the direction that will make you happier. Ignoring these feelings typically does much more harm than good.

When a job stops being fun, then it’s usually time for a change. It could entail changing your objectives at work or changing your career altogether. Something has to change if you believe happiness is important to your career and life.

Create an Actionable Plan Around Your Passions

Look at what you are most curious about in your career. If you are a nurse, it might be improving patients’ happiness, or if you are teacher, it might be figuring out how to teach something like Newton’s laws of physics and actually make it interesting.

The example below was altered from a previous coaching client that implemented a similar strategy in a different field. I asked if I could use her as an example. She said yes, as long as I changed the example to a different line of work, so not to give one of her secret weapons to one of her competitors. I agreed, so here it is.

Ok, let’s begin. If you are a teacher in any sense of the word, look at where you want your students or colleagues to be after some time together. Create a goal around this idea.

Your Goal:

____________________________________

ex. I want my students to be more engaged with the material I teach.

What can I do to make my teaching material more fun and therefore this goal easier to attain?

____________________________________

ex. I can offer them two projects to choose from and put it to a vote. Whichever the majority of the class chooses “wins” and I’ll ask them to help the others with buy in and delivery as well.

What are the main tasks I need to accomplish to make this happen?

1.

2.

ex. I need to:

  1. Find two interesting ways for the students to learn the information.
  2. Create a voting system for the students.

Once we pick a project, what are the main tasks we need to accomplish to make this happen?

  1. Explain what is expected of them and ask them to try breaking the task into actionable chunks.
  2. Discuss with class and come up with milestones and timeframe.
  3. Measure success of project by asking for student feedback.

If you can run this this project and you can say 87% of the students enjoyed the project and 92% passed the exam, you are showing results that administrators can see the value in.

Once you know what your goal is and how you will reach it, it makes actually doing the project so much easier. It feels more fun and doable.

Do you want to grow your career? Check out my superpower coaching program to help you unlock your superpowers and create a plan that makes you happy and builds your resume.

Let’s Review

In the above example, she got the feedback from the students and she could see how much they liked the project. And she used these results to see how she could improve the project and increase engagement the next time she tried a similar project.

She built a great resume. She measured what percentage of her students enjoyed the project and also what percentage learned the fundamentals of Newton’s laws.

When you add actual results to your resume, you are showing people how passionate you are about your work. Instead of just telling them how much you enjoy your job, they can see (feel) it. Only people with passion for their work take the time to measure and improve their results.

A very important point I want to make is to keep your success tracking simple. If it gets too complicated you’ll stop putting it into practice.

The more fun and actionable your projects are, the better your resume will look to people who need your skills.

What can you add?

What has helped you bring more passion to your career projects and plans?

Do You Have Career Superpowers?


Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto

How do you think you would feel about your career if you believed you have superpowers that others need?

It’s an inspirational way to look at your career passions, focus and strengths.

As a kid who grew up with a German father and Icelandic mother, I had both practicality and whimsy infused into my DNA.

I love percentages. It’s why I’m so good at making decisions based off of numbers. (German side)

I also love the idea of having superpowers. Stuff that I do that others wish they could do. (Icelandic side)

You probably know how much I talk about unlocking your superpowers. In fact, I have an e-course dedicated to it.

When I first started my career coaching practice, I focused on strengths (practical), but left out the whimsical side. I also kept falling into the trap of leaving out the emotional side (passion). But I kept coming back to the idea of superpowers. It’s just a much more fun way to look at our skill set. It’s more whimsical and empowering.

When I first started coaching people, I was afraid to mention the word “superpowers” thinking that they would laugh at me. When I did, I would say something like, “What is your strongest superpower, AKA strength.”

I realize now that it diluted the impact of what I was trying to accomplish with my clients.

When I finally owned up to using the word “superpowers”, everything clicked. I got better results for my clients and I had a lot more fun coaching them.

Your Career Superpowers

Many of you asked how I came up with the idea of a superpower. I would explain that too many people focus on strengths at work and forget about passion and focus.

Because my parents recently just came for a visit, I see a little more clearly who I used to be and who I am today. As I sipped on a cup of coffee with my dad, I saw myself in him, and I realized something very important.

Superpowers are passed on from generation to generation. It’s how we leverage our superpowers that makes us different from our parents.

When I talk to a client that takes their past into account as they make career decisions I found they made better decisions. They try to remember why they’ve been successful in some situations and not others and how to set themselves up for better success for the upcoming project.

It’s this balanced approach that also helps them follow through with their idea. Follow through comes from understanding your superpowers and your weaknesses, so you can work with people that complement you instead of those that replicate your superpowers.

Unlock Your Superpowers

To be able to find people who complement your superpowers, you need to have a fundamental understanding of what your superpowers are. Once you know what skills you are passionate about, get in the zone with (focus), and that come easy to you (strengths), then you can add people to your team (network) who can help you and those that need your help as well.

I wrote the Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto to help you dive deeper into the idea of career superpowers, so you can connect with people that complement you instead of weaken you.

Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto Cover

You can learn more and download the Unlock Your Superpowers manifesto right here.

I hope it provides inspiration to follow your superpowers in your career choices. The world needs people with your passion, focus and strengths to make this world a better place, so go grab your favorite drink and take an hour to read the book. You should find something to help you illuminate your next career decision.

If you know someone that could use a career boost, please send them the manifesto, or even better, send them a link to download the book. Thanks!

* Want to win a career strategy session with me. Just leave a comment below, letting me know you downloaded the ebook and what your greatest career superpower is. Looking forward to reading them.

How to Create a Better Job for Yourself

Free Training Photo

This might mean that you must learn to get creative…or think outside the box…but you can use your current job to provide yourself with free training and new skills to beef up your resume in order to get a pay raise or better career position, or simply to enhance your present workplace and your relationships with your coworkers.

Here are some of the ideas I have used to successfully create a better job for myself:

I became a notary public in just a few hours online, and I did it with my boss’s permission — on company time!  He even let me pay for it on the company credit card because it would be so useful to him to have a notary on the premises.

Pitch Your Boss

The point here is to try to think of an idea you can pitch to your boss that will help him or her or the company, and therefore make you a more valuable employee.   You will have more job security and confidence, management will love you, and you can grow your resume for the future.

My most recent pitch to my boss was not for myself.  I learned that a coworker who is also a friend has a small hobby/side business that requires a lot of social media, so she is very experienced in that field.  We pay our advertising company an astronomical amount of money to have them manage our social media in addition to running our website and designing our ads.  Their contract is up next month.

I talked to my boss and presented my idea to save the company tons of money by having one of our own employees take over the social media portion of the advertising contract for next year.  We could even give my coworker a nice pay raise, but it would be SO much less than we currently spend.   The company would come out MUCH better off financially, and so would my friend.

Believe it or not, being kind and offering to help others can also be an opportunity for you to create a better job for yourself at work.  Because I volunteered to do extra work filling in for someone on maternity leave so that her boss could cope, when she decided not to come back to work after having her baby, the position was given to me…with a pay raise!

Look for Training Opportunities

Another potential way to improve your career options is to sign up for any relevant training programs offered by your employer  You can also find out if they would pay for certifications or classes.  By taking advantage of any learning opportunities available, you can become a more valuable asset to your company while also growing and improving yourself and your capacity to earn more money in the future.

For example, I learned of a fabulous program in my state offered by Workplace Development.  I discovered it through an email sent by our local Chamber of Commerce.  It is a grant offered by the state to pay for employees’ continuing education or to improve or build job skills.

I presented it to my boss and told him I would do all the work involved if he would let me apply for the grant.  (Full disclosure: If I’d realized how much work would be involved in the grant process, I’m not sure I would have been so eager to volunteer for this project!)

With the grant, I am getting approval for over a dozen of my coworkers and myself to take classes on company time for two hours, twice a week.  With our new knowledge and skills, we will then be able to get pay raises, but the company will benefit financially as we apply the new knowledge and skills.

For example, our maintenance staff will learn more intensive plumbing, air conditioning and electrical skills.  They will be able to do more of the big jobs that usually require hiring outside contractors.  Therefore, even with giving the maintenance staff pay raises, the company will come out ahead by saving money spent on contracted services.  Win-win!

For myself, I am taking accounting and Quickbooks classes so I can cover for our bookkeeper when she goes on vacation, rather than having to wait for her return every time she takes a few days off.  Perhaps one day, I’ll even want to change my career from administrative assistant to accounting. In the meantime, I have a pretty good thing going with the present job I created for myself.

Frame Your Idea in Positive Way

The first time I asked my boss if he had a few minutes to talk to me, I felt him cringe as he assumed I was going to ask for a raise.  (There was no money in the budget for that.)  I learned to ask instead, “Do you have a few minutes so I can run an idea by you?”  Now when I approach with a big grin asking if he has time to talk about a new idea, my boss is eager to hear what I have to say.

Have you ever pitched a new or creative idea to your boss that changed your job or experience?  Please share your ideas or comments!

Contributed by Deborah Shelby of Prayerful Mom.

Day 13 of Realigning My Subconscious with My Joy – The Struggle

I seriously thought this would be a lot easier than it really has become. I seem to have hit a wall.

You may be following this 30 Day Challenge  because of this post - Realigning My Joy through My Subconscious.

I had two messages to myself that I had to repeat every morning when I woke up and when I went to bed.

They were: (excerpt from original post)

The bed-time message to my subconscious is:

“I will let go of any worries and relax every muscle before and during my sleep.”

The reason I picked this is because I’ve been holding on to my stress as I’m settling down for bed. It causes me to have trouble falling asleep and waking up with a stiff neck, jaw, and/or back.

My morning message to my subconscious which I will tape to my mirror is:

“Every interaction has some joy in it. It’s up to me to find the joy and possibly expand on these feelings.”

I picked this message because I catch myself, very often, wanting the experience I am presently in to be different instead of accepting it for everything it is.

[Read more...]

Day 7 of Realigning My Subconscious My Joy – Cloud 9

30 Day ChallengeAs you may know I’m working on a 30 day Challenge. I’m on a mission to realign my joy with my subconscious.

Now I’m a pretty happy guy. I had testicular cancer a few years ago and it gave me a new lease on life. My two year check-up this past June was clean.

Yeah!

The thing is I fell back into my old habits. I was worrying about little things that really didn’t matter.

I had a few lousy night of sleep last month. I felt out of sync. I knew I needed to do something to help improve my perspective.

I decided on a 30 day challenge because of how much my no complaining challenge improved my life.
[Read more...]

How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Working Happy

I’m not actually a very big fan of the phrase “time management.” We all have the same amount of time. Some of us choose to write, others spend time with their kids, others watch movies, others go for jogs…

There are an infinite amount of things to do with our time.

We actively choose what is most important to us in each moment. Sometimes we make mistakes.

I constantly doubt my choices.
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Why 86% of People Are Looking for a New Job This Year

how-to-be-happy-at-work86% of people who have a job right now will be looking for a better job, according to Inc magazine.

Why will you be looking for a new job this year?

Because you don’t feel appreciated, that of course makes you feel unhappy.

You aren’t appreciated because you don’t have enough leverage at work. You haven’t been able to carve out a niche – a place in your company where you are the “go to” person to solve certain problems. This could be because your core values and your company’s core values aren’t in sync. This happens and figuring out how to realign your needs with your company’s will help level up your career.

Becoming a “go to” person at your company isn’t easy, but when this happens you feel needed, appreciated and useful.

That’s what a great career gives you.
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The Simple 5-Step Method to Having More Energy At Work

high-energy-300Some people will tell you “Just have a cup of coffee” when you are feeling tired. This may help for a short while, but the coffee only masks whatever underlying issues you may be having.

You may not feel a connection to your work like you once did. You may not be getting enough sleep. There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your energy level at work.

The key is to look for the underlying issues.

Last week 3 pm struck and I had hit a wall. I literally couldn’t even see straight.

I knew something wasn’t right. Usually I can work late into the day without feeling tired at all.

Then I realized that I hadn’t taken my short walk. I was so busy trying to get stuff accomplished that I forgot my walk.

I jumped up and went for my short walk, but it was too late. My routine was thrown out of whack and I never recovered.
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How to Review Your Year to Exceed Next Year’s Goals

half-fullYou look back on your year. If you are a “glass half full” type of person you probably see all the cool stuff you were able to accomplish. If you are a “glass half empty” type of person you probably see all the mistakes you’ve made over this past year.

Many people will tell you that you have to be pragmatic with how you look at your results. I feel that’s a terrible idea when trying to access a whole years worth of wins and mistakes. You can’t look back on a whole year of positives and negatives. It takes too long and it can be depressing if you focus too much on the negatives.

You need to focus on the positives.
[Read more...]

How to Get Your Workday Back on Track

Have you ever gotten into your workday and realized that the day was half over and you barely got anything done?

It’s a common trend with a lot of my coaching clients. They are creative types that just can’t get off to a fast start. Believe me I still have my days where the words aren’t flowing or I can’t seem to stay on task. These days are frustrating and when this happens I always turn to the greatest tool that the working man and women have turned to for decades.

Music that fits the mood of the task.

For example I love to write while listening to jazz. There is something energizing about jazz. When I put it on I know that I’ll have a good writing session.

Next time you are struggling to get your work accomplished try putting on some energizing music that helps lift your spirits and improves your focus.

The one catch is you can’t just put on music and let your thoughts stay distracted. You have to purposeful with what song you pick and how you expect to feel as you listen to the music. By setting this intention before you turn on the music, you are setting yourself up for getting back on track.

What type of music do you like to listen to while working?

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