How To Build An Amazing Career

Christi Hegstad May 8th, 2014
How To Build An Amazing Career
Do you know someone who has an amazing career?
How can you tell?
You’ve probably asked countless people – at cocktail parties, networking functions, high school reunions – what they do for a living. Most respond with a job title or a 15-second pitch like we’re taught in sales training, then move on in the conversation. 
But every once in a while, you come across the person who simply lights up when discussing what she does. Her words draw you in, her gestures become animated, and she shares rich stories of her work experience. No doubt she has tough challenges too, but her passion shines.
One of the reasons I started my business was due to the high percentage of people who dislike their work – a number that, according to Gallup’s most recent poll, has reached upwards of 70%. Since we will spend more than 1/3 of our waking hours at work, this number seems ridiculously unacceptable to me.
The fact of the matter is, it’s up to each one of us to build our own amazing career. Start with what you have right now, where you are today. Here are 3 building blocks for a truly phenomenal career:
1. Identify Your Strengths.
Your strengths aren’t simply the things you’re good at; they also connect with your purpose, put you in “flow,” and make you feel stronger. Discover your strengths, then look for or create ways to use them more in your daily work. One of my coaching clients was in a job that was “fine,” but he wasn’t thriving. Through our strengths work he discovered he loved to research and write, so he sought and gained approval to create a leadership newsletter for his organization. This small step has helped reinvigorate his passion and gets him excited about heading to the office.
2. Act With Intention.
You don’t need to have every single step mapped out in detail; in fact, some of our greatest experiences arrive when we are open to the unexpected. You do, however, need to be selective and choose your actions consciously. The best way I’ve found to act with intention starts by becoming clear on your vision and purpose, then using them as filters for your decisions. With this clarity, you can ask yourself with each decision: Does this bring me closer to – or move me further from – my vision and purpose? 

3. Don’t Settle
I recently met someone who did not enjoy his work but had resigned himself to “doing his time” until he retired. I asked when that would occur, and he replied, “In about 17 years.” 17 years! That’s longer than my children have been on the planet! If you are unhappy or disengaged at work, take action. Redesign your position so you can engage your strengths more frequently, take on a stretch assignment, clarify how your work makes a difference in the world. One of my clients works 2 nearly-full-time positions and is earning her degree at night, all because she’s passionate about her field, has a clear vision of what she wants to do, and she’s not willing to settle for anything less than her full potential.   
Doing work you love is not a “nice-to-do” or a frivolous luxury awarded only to a lucky few. Doing work you love begins as a decision, followed by action. It is a conscious choice to identify what lights you up, move forward with intention, and not settle for the status quo. It involves celebrating what’s working and committing to changing what isn’t.  

You are here to do great work, and the world needs your contribution. Take action, starting now, so you can be the person at the party who absolutely lights up when talking about your work! 

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve Jobs

What tips would you add to this list? Share your ideas below, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.

Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As a Certified Executive and Leadership Coach and the President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches executives and leaders who feel stuck – whether in their leadership abilities, at a certain income level, or “spinning their wheels” in the day-to-day – to flourish towards a purposeful vision with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action.

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