The Silencing of Career Vision

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Most of us keep our wildest career dreams under wraps.

I’m convinced this is completely normal. What we value most — is always the most heavily protected.

However, most of us have a story to tell.

When I decided to become a psychologist, I really didn’t know my own mind or what I had to offer. Over the years that picture has become more defined. It has also pivoted away from the original dream that flashed through my mind’s eye at 17.

That is also completely normal.

When we are young, everyone asks about our career “dreams”. Where we want to go, what we would like to contribute.

As we get older — not as much.

That’s where organizations can fall flat. Either managers do not have the time to discuss such things or contributors aren’t encouraged to force the conversation.

The best places to work, get things done. But career vision is always in the corner of their eye. It isn’t ignored. They acknowledge that when work life begins to markedly depart from our vision, we can disengage.

That is why it is critical to share those dreams.

In that way, we can flesh out what is there (or not). In that way we can hammer out a path or at least away to incorporate that passion into our lives.

I challenge you to share your next dream chapter with 3 people.

Consider how that vision can become (at least in part) a reality.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

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Designing Your Life

When I look at a Parsons table (designed at Parsons Paris in the 1930s) — I see a thing of great beauty.

Fresh simplicity.

Lines that sing.

A presence that cannot be ignored.

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Legend has it, the iconic design emerged from a design class where its instructor, Jean Michael Frank, challenged students to design a table that would retain its design integrity sheathed in various materials, such as mica, burlap, etc. From Frank’s sketches and student participation came the elegant minimalist design. (Read more of its history here.)

It was the product of an inspired design moment.

It is a thing of beauty.

What if we could take the same engine that drove this type of creation — and apply it to our own lives?

What if you could design a life that sings for you?

I’ve spoken to countless people who are less than thrilled with their lives. Something seems off. Something isn’t working. But, the more telling question must be posed — is there something better? The authors of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life explore the dysfunctional beliefs that stifle the answer to that question. The answer is likely a resounding “yes”.

But how?

We are rarely offered the tools to unpack such a problem.

However, that is changing.

At Stanford University, students have had the opportunity to explore their life as a design challenge, in a course named: Designing Your Life. The crux of the course involves applying design principles to build a happy, fulfilling, post-student life — prototypes and all. Initially an experiment (the brainchild of the book’s authors Bill Burnett & Dave Evans), the class became such a campus phenomenon within the engineering department — that it was then offered to all Stanford students. (The information is now being shared with other universities – from Harvard to Cal State Dominguez Hills to Trinity College, serving students across the country. That works.)

The most important element of the course is to build a life that holds meaning. What might you want to build or leave behind? That exploration is much more than money — or a job. It is about living a coherent life; congruent with whom you are.

So, this is where the book comes in. It is jam-packed with observations concerning the history of this now 10-year-old course experiment.

Interestingly, the concepts in the book are now being offered to the public in a workshop format and there is one version especially tailored to women. (See the dates below — you can still register). Course instructor Susan Burnett, describes the workshop as perfect for anyone who finds they are at an “inflection point”. Whether that is leaving college, a marriage, job or career, or just being ready to try something new. As Stanford Life Design Lab’s Kathy Davies describes, “the course for women was born from the observation that women engaged with the process with a different perspective. The workshops provide the time, space and a community of support to have those life design conversations.”

Hooray. We all require help with inflection points.

So, pick up the book or register for the course and get ready to break down that petrified view of your life — and then put it back together again.

Only better.

Now do it again.

And again.

What do you see?

Click on book icon to learn more:

The Designing ​​Your ​​Life ​​for ​​Women Workshop

Overview: Designing Your Life for Women is an intensive, hands-on workshop experience where you will learn and apply the Life Design© method to your own life.  We will focus on balance and energy, use ideation techniques to help get you unstuck, build Odyssey Plans for three potential futures, and define ways to prototype the compelling parts of these futures. Best of all, you will do this in a community of women who have come together with a common purpose and who will support you on this life design journey.

UPCOMING SESSION: Click to register

Nov 11-12, 2017 in San Diego, CA

How to Make the “Own Your Career” Mantra Viable

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Owning our own careers has long served as a rallying cry — echoing down the halls of organizations worldwide. Indeed, individuals should be empowered to take the helm of their own ship. However, we must acknowledge the needed elements required for this to work. These vital elements serve to “inform” the process; capturing contributor qualifications, communicating possible roles and describing organizational initiatives.

Organizations vary in their ability to support the process. Yet, these elements could help complete the career puzzle facing contributors. (As organizations increase in size, the challenge to deliver these elements can become increasingly difficult.) Organizations are becoming cognizant of the issue — and realize that employees are stymied to handle the challenge on their own. However, managers are often not in a position to help and supporting systems aren’t able to accommodate the load.

While “owning your own career” is a formidable tag line, it remains wrought with problems. Respectfully — the dynamic relies on more than self-knowledge, motivation and “exuding positive energy“.

The truth is this: contributors are often left alone to fight the battle.

Here are a few of the issues we should consider:

  • Time. With the dizzying pace of career life, committing quality time to plan next steps can be difficult. This leaves many of us without time to reflect on where we’d like to land and how we should evolve to really get there (knowing our weaknesses is vital). In fact as our careers progress, there may be less and less discussion of career vision. Moreover, this process cannot be completed in a vacuum. We should be actively discussing our career vision with people that can offer guidance — beyond our own managers.
  • Internal information. If the general goal is to have talent freely flowing toward organizational needs & goals — the quality of outbound communication concerning these topics becomes critical. This includes the information available internally concerning roles, team opportunities and initiatives that have been launched. However, if employees are left with an informational void, none of this works. Sadly, many contributors leave for external opportunities (even for a lateral move).
  • Capturing how contributors evolve. To match skills with roles, we have to do a better job of documenting how employees are evolving. This includes not only training & experience gained in-house, but evolving interests and personal career goals. In this case, the contributor is the expert that must be involved — and we must somehow collect this information.
  • The role of HR technology. We cannot address either of the above issues without talking about technology solutions. Platforms that have the ability to collect, track and share this information are vital. Although the landscape of HR tech applications is expansive — it is unclear if they handle all of these challenges simultaneously. (Ultimately, consolidation may be the solution). Elements that would prove useful include useful recommendations for training, future team memberships, internal mentors/sponsors and flexible internal postings. (Platforms such as Jostle for example are building the ability to lend a hand.)

Has your organization struggled with career development? Have you found solutions? Share them here.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz, The World Economic Forum and The Huffington Post.

 

 

Ready for a Playlist About Time Management? Pencil it in.

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I’ve had many clients express there just isn’t enough time in the day. I first captured my observations about their overwhelm (and behavior) in the post The Ugly Truth About Time Management. The post starts with the somewhat harsh premise, that time issues begin with our own imperfect perspective. Interestingly, it stands as one of my most shared posts.

However, what resonates concerning time management. will vary across individuals. Luckily, there are quite a few TED speakers who have shared their take on the issue. They each offer a unique view of our ever-present tangle with time.

Here are 3 talks to help you to further understand your “time” relationship. (See the playlist at our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPobAd0urxAGPaVu4PNWsIQ)

Greg McKweown. Essentialsm. Time and focus are highly interlaced topics. In his talk at Google, McKeown explores how we often hold ourselves back by having too many “good things” in our lives. The result? Even success can actually lead us down a cluttered path — and less, is often better.

Rory Vaden. How to Multiply Your Time. A self-discipline strategist, explains that everything we’ve learned about time management is likely wrong. From the 1950’s on, we have developed a view of time that doesn’t really help us become more effective. The problem? Time management requires us to consider a new, critical construct.

Laura Vanderkam. How to Gain Control of Your Free Time. Somehow when we must make something a priority, we suddenly have the time. Laura Vanderkam unpacks an interesting dynamic, that plays out day after day in our lives.

How do you manage time? Weigh in on the topic in comments.

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Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

 

What Might Have Happened at Uber: Protecting Leaders From Hubris

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There is an accepted Peter Drucker adage — “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

I do agree.

We’ve watched countless organizations suffer at the hands of their own culture. There are clear examples where the culture has morphed into such as incredibly difficult beast, that it leaves an organization at the brink of demise (think General Motors, News of the World, etc.) This week, we’ve learned in grave detail how Uber has seemingly turned a corner and driven directly into the muck — and at first glace we might place all blame on its culture.

However, we must recognize that culture is created by the leaders who shape that organization. Uber is no different. Those who have a hand in molding the mores, accepted practices, methods and mechanisms to support those practices. Leaders fail. They fail because they fall prey to the most human of mistakes. Mistakes of perspective that we have likely all made — but on a much grander scale that promises a widespread effect on countless individuals.

Culture can operate like a precarious game of dominoes. It is always a delicate game of balance. Once out of alignment, the entire game is halted. Ultimately, leaders have the responsibility to monitor that balance.

One element which affects this balance is hubris. A state when a leader passes into a “loss of objectivity zone” that can forever mark a company. Hubris is a disease of perspective — defined as “excessive pride or self confidence” — and the impact within an organization can be devastating.

I’ve written previously about why and how leaders fail. From Abercrombie to Wells Fargo to Volkswagen , the rise of leaders only seems to be matched by their cataclysmic demise. From falling prey to bias, to losing touch with customers — when looking back at the signs and symptoms, diagnosing a growing problem seems simple.

Hubris, you see — is a disease of perspective.

In a recent Atlantic article, Jerry Useem eloquently explores this damning by-product of leadership success. Borne of power and fueled by bias, hubris is an over-confidence that can only come from power that insulates. Research has captured the phenomenon, which is characterized by a lack of “mirroring” or empathy for others. They stop doing what likely helped them attain success. Power, it seems, can stop leaders from remaining effective.

But this question looms: How do we protect leaders from hubris?

I have my own ideas.

However, I would like to learn yours.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Being Human at Work

Relaxed Businessman

When our oldest child entered middle school we found it necessary to meet with his principal. At that time of course, school was his full-time job — and there were developing signs that it was the wrong job. As parents, we felt the need to discuss a strategy to address the job-person fit. To be frank, the over-riding goal was not to boost his grades, but to protect him as a developing individual.

As things stood, his role was clearly a frustrating exercise. Sadly, he was showing signs of complete exhaustion. One very astute teacher put it this way: “He actually has 7 bosses and they all want something a little different. That’s not an easy task.” I couldn’t have put it better. He was drowning in the midst of the demands he faced. None of this emphasized his strengths — only his clear weaknesses in the executive functioning realm.

Our son brought himself to his role as student. But more importantly, he was a human being that was faced with the learning environment as it was presented. We held no judgements as to what was “right” or “wrong” about that environment — only that his experience with that environment was both unique and challenging.

What we asked of his principal was quite simple: 1.) That he had an opportunity to explore/discover something that brought him feelings of competence and 2.) that he still loved (or at the very least, respected) the process of learning when he left her care. She was the needed glue to help him to sift through the noise and find the signals.

Being human at work poses a related challenge.

When you ponder your work life, what immediately comes to mind? Do you feel supported? Respected? Are you challenged? Are you developing in a manner that is meaningful? Are the unique qualities that define the positive foundation of you, a part of that work life? Or like our son, are you faced with poor job-person fit?

These may sound like unusual questions. But, they shouldn’t be.

When I discuss negative work experiences with clients, expressions of feeling “drained, “lost” or “frustrated” are mentioned. When we are fighting for the elements that uniquely define who we are, we suffer. Our employers may miss out on our strengths. Our customers do not benefit from our talents.

We wage a talent war that no one can win.

This realization drove me to take a step back.

What might help explain why this dynamic — that when ignored can become utterly devastating. I recalled humanistic psychology. A reaction to behaviorism and the tenets of psychoanalytic thought (made known by Freud), humanistic theory offers an interesting framework as we approach the job-person fit. Humanism explains that we posses a drive toward becoming self-actualized. In other words, a drive to maximize our creative potential. (This line of thought came to the forefront through the work of psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.)

Its direction and tenor could easily apply to work life:

  • When considering people — the whole is greater than than the sum of the parts.
  • There is a drive to achieve congruence between our “real self” and the “ideal self”.
  • Some measure of unconditional positive regard is necessary to fully develop as an individual.
  • An individual is greatly influenced by his/her environment. Social interaction is key to development.
  • We are fully aware and have the ability to make a conscious choice. Our past experienced help drive future behavior.
  • Human beings are uniquely capable of intentional thought and goal directed behaviors.

I wonder how we can build this respect for individuals into every organization. How might current trends in HR support this effort?

I know there are many of us fighting for this. Is one of them you?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

To Move Forward — Be Constructively Critical (of Yourself)

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We all like to think that we do things well — and a strong belief that we have the skills to succeed helps us in most workplace situations. However, there can be unwanted “glare” that can create a gap in self-knowledge. In fact, our own confidence can impede us from looking at our own behavior with a constructively critical eye.

Succumbing to bias concerning our own workplace strengths is an easy road to travel. Moreover, the areas that we value the most (and derive the most satisfaction) — can be the most heavily protected. As a result, we are less likely to look for opportunities to examine our skills critically. In fact, research has shown that we tend to view our own skills more positively than our peers see us. So it is possible to be unaware that a problem may be on the horizon.

Organizations that have enjoyed success, can blindly stop looking toward the future. People that have proven expertise, can also stop looking for avenues to grow. It is a looming weakness that we all should consider. It is important to realize that meeting our goals, does not ensure our continued competence. Only a keen eye and professional development, can help us stay in the groove.

So I’ll pose these questions:

  1. What skill (that you possess) do you personally value most at work?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be highly competent?
  3. Have you paused to critically examine your performance in this area recently?
  4. Can you identify a component of this skill set that could improve?
  5. How would you improve? What actions would you take?

I challenge you to look at your own skills critically and find a strategy to stay “skill healthy” longer-term.

What did you identify?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and workplace strategist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Let’s Face It: Gen Y Still Has it Right

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In 2011, I drafted my first blog post entitled: Gen Y Has it Right. I wrote the post because of discussions claiming that Millenials were completely different from other groups at work. On some level, I thought this was an excuse to ignore workplace elements in dire need of revision. On another level, there was a clear lack of respect for one important principle: individual differences. It simply wasn’t accurate to characterize all Millenials as entitled or disloyal.

Well, I am still detecting a subtle undertone that Millenials (all 75 million of them) are somehow markedly different from others at work — and I remain baffled. I simply will not subscribe to stereotypes, when discussing people at work. I will concede that groups carry “context” with them to the workplace; shared experiences of their generation. I’ll also concede that we can look for trends, to guide how we interact with employees (or future employees). However, I do not believe this is justification to ignore the notion of within-group individual differences.

A recent post discussing yearly raises and career mobility, found that if these elements were present, some Millenials would rather stay put. However, I was surprised to see we were still refuting the notion that Millenials love to job hop. Who really enjoys disrupting their entire work life and suddenly jump ship? I would predict that if career and salary were openly addressed, the option wouldn’t prove attractive.

Interestingly, when I completed a research project concerning this group in 2008, I was shocked at how the group varied. In other words: they didn’t all want the same things at work. Some wished to advance quickly up the career ladder. But, guess what? Others did not expect this. Individual differences matter. They matter to you — and me — and all Millienals.

So, I thought it was time to re-share the 2011 post. Let me know what you think.

Sorry, if you beg to differ. I think Gen Y has got it right.

The qualities they seek in the workplace — such as feeling valued and finding meaning in their work — are really healthier for all of us. So, let’s stop debating common sense and admit that we’ve been tolerating workplace issues that should have changed decades ago (i.e., inadequate feedback models, yearly performance reviews).

To be perfectly honest, some of these stubborn problems might finally budge at least in part, because Generation Y has displayed the conviction and the guts to persevere and ask for more.

I understand that some organizations have experienced what I’d like to call, “generational shock”. I have heard the stories, younger employees appearing overly confident, posturing as if they are entitled to a meeting with the CEO. But, could it be possible that Generation Y is suffering more of a public relations problem, than an across the board ego issue?

More feedback they ask? Flexible hours? Supervisors as mentors? How dare they!

Let’s be sure that we aren’t labeling an entire generation as difficult and tedious, because we are a bit envious of their “nerve” to ask for an improved work life? To tell the absolute truth, when I read how Gen Y envisions their work lives, I find myself thinking, “I’d like that, too.” (On some level, shouldn’t we all?) If the world of work is entering some sort of an “existential crisis” — where central issues such as the meaning of work are being questioned — Gen Y probably isn’t going to rest until that crisis is resolved.

My bet is on them to continue to mature — and help us meet these workplace challenges.

Let’s remember that Gen Y didn’t reach this juncture on their own. There are a number of evolutionary workplace events (traumas, actually) that have come together. This may have begun with the “collective unconscious” of their parent’s work lives; imprinted worries of layoffs, a recession, pay cuts and organizations generally behaving badly. These have likely been carried with them to the world of work. When we layer in the burgeoning trend of transparency and add social platforms to the equation, things were bound to shift — and they certainly are.

Good.

I’m glad. Let’s see what happens.

What we’ll might see:

  • Engagement will continue to matter. Gen Y would rather be unemployed than hack away for a lifetime at a job they hate. Employees deserve to love what they do — as engagement looks much like the concept of “self actualization”, but applied to work settings. (It appears that Maslow was right all along.)
  • Improved performance feedback. Gen Y won’t settle for a yearly performance appraisal (neither should you). They prefer a more consistent flow of information, and this makes perfect sense. (The timing of feedback and its specificity are agreed upon beforehand.) No one should work in a vacuum.
  • Supervisors as mentors. Research has shown that job satisfaction is positively correlated with a great boss. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as supervisors should help their employees seek challenge and develop at work.
  • Continued transparency. From recruitment policies to organizational direction — Gen Y aspires to be part of an open and shared movement. None of us want to feel we are sequestered within a massive hierarchy.
  • More communication channels. Gen Y will continue to lead us through the technology arena, with a steady increase in workplace tech that will help us all connect and become more effective.

Personally, I am going to try to embrace and support the changes that Gen Y is seeking — wherever possible and within reason.

I need these work life attributes, just as much as Gen Y.

What do you think — does Gen Y have it right?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Staying Positive When Career Envy Strikes

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Careers can deliver more than a few difficult moments. Goals can remain elusive. Opportunities may wither and fade. Clients and colleagues can disappoint. Reclaiming a positive mental state — so the next wave of opportunity is not overlooked is vital. However, this can prove to be quite challenging.

Often rest and time are often powerful healers. However a cycle of negative rumination can set in. One common emotion, which can erupt as we compare our paths to those who appear to be thriving, is envy — and it is particularly destructive.

Envy can literally tilt how we view situations, people and ourselves — causing what I call a “temporary blindness” and extreme bias. Researchers examining envy in the workplace have shown that envy can not only affect how we feel about people, but the ideas they bring forward, which is quite perilous. In fact, the closer the source of the idea to us, the less likely we are to feel positively toward it. (For example, an idea created within the organizations vs. brought to the organization.)

Envy can be a destructive career force. In fact, when envy exists a number of counter-productive elements can take hold:

  • Invalidating thoughts about your own gifts and potential.
  • A tendency to overlook or devalue your own opportunities.
  • A closed mindset — where we cannot learn from others who have been successful.
  • A lack of motivation to continue your journey (Networking, professional events, skill development, etc).
  • A tendency to back away from challenge for fear that outcomes will not weigh in your favor.
  • Undermining or devaluing the person who is the focus of your envy.

Handling your emotions can be tricky. Try to identify the particular “envy source” — the a single element that you might covet in another individual’s path. Is it respect? Financial success? Exposure or opportunities? Explore how can you bring more of these elements into your world with a mentor or career coach.

Also remind yourself of the following:

  • You are an individual — and your journey will also be unique.
  • Consider the skills that differentiate you from the pack in a positive way. Ask yourself: How would someone who thinks well of you describe you to others?
  • Create a list of the possible paths that would bring desired elements toward you. Identify 1 or 2 steps to bring this to fruition.
  • Bring positive people/situations into your career life to balance negative thoughts — and make this a habit. For example, seek team experiences that affirm the strengths of  all team members.

Has envy affected your career? How did you overcome the emotion?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Dealing with a Career Path That Feels Tired & Worn

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We can all experience something I like to call “career malaise”. While this may not qualify as full-blown career regreta tired and worn path may leave you feeling listless and unmotivated. Economics may have forced you to remain in a less than challenging role or you may simply be at a loss to identify your next steps.

Whatever the reason, your feelings may signal that you have reached a crossroads. How might we look at our work differently to develop a new strategy and re-energize?

I’ve posed this question to some very wise career experts. Hopefully, they will help you identify what might be missing (or what you need to lose).

Their advice is quite varied — and may provide the spark you need to make progress.

Here is what they discuss:

We May See Our Career Path as Inflexible
Sometimes we feel stuck or stalled because we see only one path — and that path likely travels in one direction — up the corporate ladder. If we can step back, (down or even sideways) to learn something new, interesting doors present themselves. Yes, it is challenging to be a “rookie” once again. However that same challenge can be the key to a more fulfilling future. Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work offers this advice:

“Be willing to step back. Backward could be your slingshot.” – Whitney Johnson

We Miss Subtle Industry Shifts
In other cases, we fail to fully align with the current state of our own industry. As a result, we begin to lag behind skill-wise — and this limits our potential to find challenging work. Chris Yeh co-author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age is a strong proponent of managers/employees working together to create a role that not only benefits the organization — but also strengthens an employee’s career value. In other words, you are working on skills that may prevent another stall.

“If you can identify specific experiences/skills you need, try to get them added to your current tour of duty.”- Chris Yeh

Our Personal Brand Has Evolved
Exploring how we have changed over time — and aligning this with our communicated personal brand is also something to consider. Has what you truly desire to accomplish career-wise changed? Do others understand that shift? Cynthia Johnson, co-founder of Ipseity Inc, a firm that helps others develop their brand voice, encourages individuals to differentiate their personal brand in a way that is authentic — and learn to tell that story effectively. (See more of her tips here.) Utilizing digital avenues to craft and communicate your evolving personal brand, may also help align career goals with your path. She advises you take this in steps:

“It is important to include short-term and clearly defined goals while mapping out your brand strategy. If you try to do everything at once you will become overwhelmed and do nothing at all.” – Cynthia Johnson

We Are Unsure of What to Bring into Our Path
Aspects of work that may have thrilled you in the past — may no longer motivate you. What could you bring into your work that would “meet you” where you are? I love the advice of Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) concerning work and those painful feelings of “envy”.  She advises that feeling envy when considering another individual’s role, may signal elements that you should bring to your own path.

Here are a few additional ideas to consider:

  • Shift your locus of control. When we shift control of our work lives to external forces (such as luck), we lose the opportunity to impact our own career. Bring that control back to home base and realize you can take action.
  • Attempt to see yourself in a new way. Flexing your “envisioning” muscle isn’t easy. However. we all tend to ignore this mind-expanding step. We often  focus on the “here and now” and never take time to consider where we want to go. What do you see there?
  • Realize your history is still unfolding. We see ourselves as human beings that are done changing — when in fact our “history” does not end with today. Research on happiness by Daniel Gilbert points to this illusion. We are still evolving. Embrace that opportunity. If this isn’t possible at work,  consider a side project (Here’s a course to explore that here.)
  • Develop a personal learning “agenda”. As described in this HBR post, we have various reasons for being underemployed or under-challenged. However, it is critical to address the existing knowledge deficit strategically. Examine your skill and knowledge base carefully. Is there something you could do to position yourself to expand that base?

Stale career paths rarely grant our wishes.

However, you might grant a few of your own — by taking an honest look at what might be missing.

What advice would you offer? Share it in comments.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. You can also find her at liveworkthinkplay.com & Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/liveworkthinkplay/?hl=en. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.