3 Questions That Will Change Your Career
Timeless ideas from Peter F. Drucker
The economy has changed drastically in 2020. Many people are forced to reinvent themselves and their careers.
There are two ways you can look at this: As a blessing or a curse. I always decide to look at these things as a blessing. When we’re forced to make a change, we can decide to go with it or fight with it. Often, good things come out of these types of situations.
If you’re forced to rethink your career, you actually take the time to create a strategy. Most of us live our lives on automatic pilot. We hardly ever take the time to think about our career choices.
In this article, I will share 3 questions I’ve learned from Peter F. Drucker. These ideas have been tried and tested. And most of all; they will force you to think deeply.
1. What are my strengths?
This might seem obvious, but many professionals still fall for the trap of concentrating on their weaknesses. Sometimes, it’s an unconscious habit. Sometimes it’s the influence of superiors, co-workers and even family members.
But you have to keep in mind that the economy is highly competitive. To have a good career, one must be excellent. So why not focus on something you’re already good at?
But this is not easy to apply. There’s a good chance the qualities you label as “strengths” might not be your actual strengths at all. You might be working on your weaknesses, even though you thought they’re your strengths. Crazy, isn’t it? We’re really bad at evaluating ourselves.
Drucker recommends doing a constant “Feedback Analysis” to prevent this from happening.
How does that work? Whenever you make a key decision or key action in your life, write down your expected results. After nine to 12 months, compare your expectations with your actual results. Do this every time, and you should eventually learn your true strengths in 2 to 3 years.
“Shit, I thought I could have my dream career at the end of this article!” You need some patience for this one. But it’s worth it.
2. How do I perform?
I found this to be the most difficult question to answer. To find out how you perform, Drucker recommends asking the following questions:
- Are you a reader, or a listener? — This question mainly deals with the way you consume and internalize information. Some people can pick up things faster by watching and listening, while others prefer reading it. I highly recommend you don’t take this for granted, as it will affect the way you work in the long run.
- How do you learn? — This is critical right now. We need to learn more skills to deal with all the changes in the market place. But most of us are conditioned to believe that everyone learns the same way—that’s how school teach after all. It’s one-size-fits-all. So it’s no surprise that many people grow up not knowing the learning style that fits them. There are many ways of learning, and it’s in our best interest to actively seek out which one works best for you.
Lastly, I recommend asking yourself this: How do I get things done? If you know how you perform, you’ll make better career decisions, and that will save you years.
3. What are my values?
This one doesn’t take years to figure out. But it’s still a tough topic. Let me give you two examples. During the summer after I graduated high school I worked at a call center; selling mobile phone plans to the elderly. It was a terrible job, and at 17-years old, I felt that I was selling something that these people didn’t actually need. So after a few weeks, I quit.
Another example. You might have noticed I never have ads on my site or newsletter. One of my values is truthfulness.
I just can’t recommend products or services that I don’t believe in. I don’t want to do things that I would regret or hate in the long run; the same way I quit my job at 17 because I didn’t believe in it.
Knowing your values will help you to eliminate a lot of jobs and industries. I found this very calming. When I started grad school, I considered pursuing a career in finance. But then the financial crisis of 2008/2009 happened. I realized the industry didn’t align with what the way I wanted to live. So I didn’t waste my time pursuing that path.
Your career is your life
I get that it’s hard to make a career change in this environment. We need to go easy on ourselves. But what I don’t get is that some people double down on saying stuff like, “don’t worry, you’ll be fine. You’re a badass. You’re already doing your best. Here’s a participation trophy.”
What planet are these people living on? The fact that we’re going through a pandemic and recession should light a fire under our asses. To improve our lives, we need to put in the work. Sure, don’t beat yourself up. But also don’t lie to yourself.
Whether we like it or not, we’re going to spend the most of our waking hours at work. So we better make sure we have work we enjoy. And I hope you can use the three questions from Drucker to get some clarity.
You don’t have to go out there and “HUSTLE” or “SMASH IT.” Just take some time to think, learn more about yourself, pick a direction, and get after it—one step at a time.
Thanks for reading! I’m Darius Foroux. I write about productivity, habits, decision making, and wealth building. Join my newsletter to get my latest tips.