"Travel far enough, you meet yourself."
Written by David Mitchell in Cloud Atlas, it's one of my favorite life quotes. And his perspective is so very true for those who backpack or briefcase the globe wanderlusting for adventure and meeting new, exciting and interesting people. All over.
But I challenge you to shorten your flight. And reset your compass.
What if I follow my own personal journey just for a day?
Then another day?
What will I discover about myself? What do others say about working with me? What decisions do I make? How am I navigating change? Just a few questions to consider.
But more broadly, what experiences at work (or in volunteerism) help create my story?
So often, travel is an escape and provides a deep perspective. It's a chance to reflect, discover, explore, test, and build new thinking. But with a little mindset shift...every day you awaken offers an equally insightful journey into your career story.
Why does any of this matter?
Because too often, people don't make the same daily investment in themselves and their careers as they do with so many other things—exercise, healthy living practices, volunteerism, academics, community or extracurricular activities, family outings, reading. Or truthfully, even financial planning.
And it will continue to matter for us at an exponential pace with shifts in technology, workforce, and skills needs at today's organizations—and future companies. The power of AI will create change, potentially displacing existing roles and workers.
Given this, create a different mindset. A shift from "finding a new job" to "building my career story."
Turn experiences into stories
I like to connect the dots—between career builders and employers, people and their stories, companies and client needs, and between career dreams and reality.
The truth is, building a personal brand and story isn't just an "event" that happens when preparing for an interview. Similarly, preparing for an interview isn't a "start and stop" occurrence where you "turn on" your performance, then forget about your interview answers for a few years.
You'd advance your career further, increase your job satisfaction, and feel a stronger sense of purpose and pride by taking advantage of opportunities in your life—every day. And also recognize that a brand isn't social media or a cool photo, but a way in which people experience you. The true you. The trick is to develop and refine 5–10 strong stories about who you are, where you've been, how you handle situations and where you are going.
Open-ended scenarios are a great place to start your reflections for an easy 15 minutes a day.
Consider exchanges and interactions you have up, down and across the chain in your team or organization.
a time of conflict
a proud achievement
a driven team you led
an underdog win
an initiative you took, perhaps with risk
a genuine example of empathy
an approach for turning an upset client around
instances of collaboration and cooperation
or even a time or two when you failed
So many events in work and family life shape your personal brand and what it's like to experience you. These daily examples become the foundation for your go-to stories for interviews or promotion conversations.
Personally, I'm motivated by thinking, "What if each day is your last? Have I done as much as I can do to make a difference today?"
Power of personality
Ask yourself, does your personality shine through in the actions you take, your words, and your written communication? Your contributions. Your learnings. And your stepping stones toward building your career. Your achievements. Ways you made someone's life better.
At GreenMason, we believe in Build your brand. Tell your story. Find your fit.® That's because you don't always need to travel far and wide to meet yourself. Look inside honestly. And reflect each day—on your stories, your career connections, the ways your personality impacts your outlook and how people experience you as a brand.
“Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul.” ~ Jaime Lyn Beatty
Treat each day as an adventure. It's your trip without a passport.
Connect the days as you build 5–10 strong stories. But focus as much on your journey inward toward understanding yourself better—then use these insights to build confidence, motivation and energy on where you are heading.
The more you understand yourself, the more you'll experience a sense of flow in your life.
A way forward
Many of you are seeking change. A new career, a fresh way of thinking, a revitalization of sorts.
Perhaps you're not sure "what" yet, but you know change is needed in your life. In searching stats in the USA from 2017 to 2018,* we see researchers suggest 52% to 79%+ of workers aren't totally satisfied with their work for various reasons.
Navigating the workplace in evolving technological times is challenging—but job-focused storytelling will help you through transitions. And inspire you to convey your interests, career potential and experiences. With personality. So you can find the right fit for you.
Start today generating your career stories. And build career connections between your past, present and future that authentically represent what it's like to work with you.
Enjoy traveling far enough on your journey in. Toward meeting your true self.
Photos copyright © (1) Pixabay (2) Joanne Markow (3) Pixabay (4) Snapwire (5) RawPixel.com.
* Articles referenced: Study: 71 percent of employees are looking for new jobs | 10 Shocking Workplace Stats You Need to Know | Most Americans Are Unhappy at Work | Gallup Work and Workplace