My friend Tonya loves her job and she expresses her love for the work she does with great enthusiasm with everyone she meets. What about you? Are you doing work that brings you joy and a sense of purpose? Only 30% of working Americans love what they are doing according to a Value of Work survey conducted by Salary.com. From low pay to bad bosses, there are various reasons why we do not love our jobs. The bigger question for me is why do so many people continue to do work that does not bring them some sense of joy? My coaching clients have given me some insight to a plausible answer. Most people do not understand their unique value. Therefore, they accept status quo.
I’ve coached clients with widely different levels of work experience and financial success, and no matter what they’ve accomplished or how challenging their goals, our work together always starts with a self-assessment. Through this process of checking in with themselves each person gets more clarity on what they really want, why they want it, and how they can achieve it. Even if you’re currently not in the market for a new job, I highly recommend that you try this exercise. It’s one of the tools I’ve used with my clients to help them grow in confidence and self-worth and open their minds to the many paths one can choose to achieve happiness at work.
To start on your journey to career success with greater satisfaction, you need to first understand your unique value.
If you have even the slightest doubt about your ability to navigate the job market with confidence, land your dream job, and earn substantially more money than you make right now, you are selling yourself short. Once you understand your true value and your ability to increase that value, your future possibilities become limitless. The following exercise will help you do that.
Grab a pen and paper or open a document on your computer and create a list of your skills. Include the things you do every day in your job, software or applications you regularly use, leadership roles you’ve taken on, and projects you’ve worked on or headed. Jot down anything you’ve learned or accomplished outside your professional life, perhaps through volunteer work or hobbies. List any education or training you have, whether you use it at work or not. Include special skills or experiences, such as speaking multiple languages or having lived overseas for some time. When you’re done, look over your list. First, realize that there’s no other person in
the world whose list would be exactly the same as yours. Second, examine the items and decide which one or two can really separate you from the pack when it’s time to look for a job. Again, it doesn’t have to be directly related to your current work or the job you want. It just needs to add value or describe something wonderfully unique about you. If, for example, you run ultra-marathons, an employer could see that as a sign that you have exceptional commitment and discipline, valuable qualities indeed.
If you find yourself struggling to identify your unique value, don’t give up. Sometimes we take for granted the things that make us special. Ask someone who knows you well what comes to mind when they think of you, what they would come to you for advice about, or what they think makes you unique. I’ve yet to meet a person who couldn’t complete this exercise successfully, and my clients consistently tell me it gives them a new level of confidence in their professional potential. Until you’re so convinced of your own unique value that you can rattle it off without thinking, you’ll need to come back to this list. Return to it when you’re feeling challenged in the pursuit of your dream job. Review it when you’re revising your resume or preparing for an interview. Understanding what separates you from your peers is essential to helping employers see why they should choose you and to help you go after what you want without the fear of failure.