Reflection is an important part of creating alignment to your values, your passions, your strengths, and your aspirations — the impact you want to make to your work. The old saying, when you love what you do you will never “work” a day in your life, is true. With intention, your job becomes living out what you are meant to do, not simply something you do to collect a salary or recognition.
To start this process, first, set aside about an hour in a quiet space, without interruption.
The purpose of this exercise is to reflect on the alignment of who you are and your career. There are no right or wrong answers and nothing you write is set in stone. This is simply a process that will help draw your intentions closer to your results.
When ready, write out answers to the following three sets of questions about you, your current role, and a potential future role. Download the template here
In this first set, use the context of you as a whole person, not just you at work.
- What are your strengths?
- What drives you? What are your motivators?
- What are your passions?
- When do you feel most engaged?
- How do you seek to make the world better?
- What were you put on earth to do?
- What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be known for?
Now, write out the answers to these questions about your current role.
- How do you utilize your strengths in your current role?
- What drives you? What are your motivators in your current role?
- How are your passions connected to your role?
- When do you feel most engaged?
- How do the ways you seek to make the world better align with your current role?
- How does your current role align to what you were put on earth to do?
- How does your current role contribute to what you want your legacy to be?
Lastly, write out the answers to these questions about a potential future role(s). Think creatively and open your mind to new possibilities.
- What type of role could fully utilize your strengths?
- What type of role directly aligns with what drives you and your motivators?
- What type of role directly aligns to your passions?
- What work is the type of work that makes you feel most engaged?
- What type of role aligns to how you want make the world better place? What you were put on earth to do? What you want your legacy to be?
If you find alignment between your current role and the impact you want to make in the world, consider yourself in the lucky minority!
But, if you find yourself with lack of alignment between who you are and your work here are a few suggestions.
- If you were able to identify “potential future role(s)” that you would entertain, begin to make steps towards the roles you wrote about above. See if you can gather experience and education needed for this type of role both at and outside of work.
- Work with a coach to identify next steps toward a new role or altered role. You wouldn’t believe how many people we’ve coached who were unhappy in their role so we worked together on an influence plan to alter the duties of their role, create a new role for them in their current organization, or create a path towards a new role. Many have been able to stay with their organization and are more engaged and satisfied than ever.
- Perhaps you might decide to take time to move towards a role closer aligned with who you are. Use other areas of your life like volunteering, serving on a board, hobbies, and relationships to spend time on your strengths, passions, and making world a better place.
- Perhaps you can’t find a realistic way to marry your passion and profession. Some people make the conscious decision that they don’t need to love their work. They will tell you “I work so that I can afford and do the things I love” or “my work and my passion are separate parts of my life”.
What if your ideal role doesn’t make the salary you need? We get this question all the time. This may be true. More often, this is a story we are telling ourselves (also known as a limiting belief). For example, we know leaders who run non-profits or charitable organizations that make handsome salaries. A statement we love about money is “you can’t have enough of what you don’t really need”. Happiness is never produced by things external to a human being. It comes from an inner sense of peace. Aligning who you are and your career can bring peace.