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Riddle: How can you be good in your career but not at your career?

I have seen many people who are good at what they do in their career – some, even very good. They learn and understand the key principles at work. They work hard at honing their skills. They even look for the pitfalls and potential problems and figure out ways to deal with these worst case scenarios. In short, they learn the rules of the game they are playing – be it design, sales, marketing, managing or investing – and play it well.


However, what they frequently don’t do well is to look to see if they should even be playing in their particular game. People often can’t see the forest for the trees. They may have learned to deal with the worst case scenarios within their field but few have ever asked themselves the following question:


What if the career they are in is a worst case scenario?!

What if it is a poor match for their natural talents? What if they don’t have a passion for what they are doing? This is where many of my clients find themselves after years of working on the treadmill of their career. This appearance of success can trap you into financial dependence. You may feel frustrated, you may become detached from work and people around you. This can lead to high work stress and even burnout. That is because you may be working against your natural strengths, which is essentially working against yourself.


 “…but there’s a different, more fulfilling way. Instead, you can blend your deepest desires with your strongest skills, allowing yourself to reach untold potential by simply working on what you’re really intended to be working on.”    From The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, by James M. Citrin (CEO) & Richard A. Smith CEO recruiter and core member of Spencer Stuart’s Leadership practice. , (Crown Business, New York) 2003.


It is good to sometimes step off the treadmill

and look at what you are doing


Take time to once in a while step off the career treadmill and see if what you are doing is in alignment with who you are as a person. You shouldn’t have to change your personality when you go to work; that is one sign of a mismatch between you and your career. You should be able to play your strengths in your career. If you have found yourself working too much on your weaknesses or ‘fighting” your career path, then maybe it is time to reevaluate the direction you are heading.

As opposed to what is commonly believed, it is rarely too late to change direction.







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