Every day I speak with people who feel stuck in their careers and dissatisfied with their work life.
They found something that’s been working for a while but it’s just not doing it for them any more or at least they couldn’t see themselves doing it for more than another couple of years. They show up to work and on a good day, they’ll get through it fine and maybe even feel pretty good about it, but on a bad day they just feel defeated. There’s a part of them that knows that they’re not living up to their potential and it pains them to think that they could be stuck in the wrong line of work.
They know that if only they could insert themselves into a new situation that is in alignment with their values, strengths and passions that their brilliance could truly shine.
I certainly know the feeling. Years of my life felt utterly wasted working in the wrong line of work where I’d end my day thinking Is this all there is to life? Shouldn’t there be more than just punching in, doing my work, managing the frustrations and then going home? To varying degrees, I think we all have this sense that we’re destined for more than this. The lucky ones understand this and have the sense of urgency to take action in the direction of their dreams. For the rest of us we tend to push the thought out of our minds and just keep on struggling our way through each work week until something ultimately gives. Pressures mount, deadlines loom and micromanaging bosses keep on reminding us that we’re not good enough. If they only knew the greatness that lies within. If only we knew the greatness that lies within…
This is what my work is all about. My intention is three-fold:
- To bring to the attention of every client I speak with that they are in fact brilliant in their own way
- That the key to the self-actualized life is to embody this brilliance in whatever form it might take
- To understand why tapping into your personal genius the key to real lasting success
What does it mean to be brilliant?
It means to recognize what that thing is that is our unique gift and to share it with the world. For me it’s helping people uncover, cultivate and ultimately take action on living a life of purpose, meaning and passion. For you it could literally be anything but it’s going to be that thing that you’ve always known you’re great at but maybe never took seriously.
Can you think of a time when you’ve tapped into this brilliance and can you remember how it felt? What was the first time you noticed it? For me it was when I first got into sales. After years of being confined to a cubicle entering patient data and study metrics for clinical trials I knew for sure I was in the wrong line of work because what was required to be successful had nothing to do with what I was really good at. I was beginning to understand that working one-on-one with people and having a lot of interpersonal exchanges was where I needed to be yet days would go by and I wouldn’t have a single meaningful exchange with another person.
I felt invisible yet I knew that if I could just put myself in a position to work more directly with people instead of Excel spreadsheets I could really shine.
Then one day, as luck would have it, I got my chance after making a deliberate move into a career in technology sales. My talent and enthusiasm for the work was clear and as a result I moved up to a senior-level position in less than two years. I was working at an early stage startup company where my job was to speak with event planners in the hopes of understanding their issues with the mobile applications used for their events. From there it was my job to educate and inspire them about the possibilities if they decided to take a chance on our game changing technology. I remember every detail of the first deal that I closed. It was a special moment. In fact, my first two deals occurred back to back. I was so giddy with excitement that I could’ve run a marathon. I had to ask myself how do I do it? And then it dawned on me. It was my previously undiscovered and untapped brilliance at work. I discovered a passion of mine for the process of inquiry in working with someone to understand the nature of their problems.
I enjoyed even more the opportunity to demonstrate how their problems could be solved with a cutting edge solution that they weren’t yet aware of.
That sales call was so much fun! Both calls were! Something dormant had been awakened in me and all of a sudden, I was buzzing around the office eager for the next chance to work some magic and help out as many frustrated event planners as I could. It was a turning point for me. It was my first feeling of real success. Up until that point I’d been feeling like a pretty mediocre professional. In every one of those biotech meetings I would feel like a wallflower where all the smart people would be going over their plans for meeting project deadlines for a given clinical trial and there I was stuck taking notes with nothing meaningful to offer myself. I was bored to death. My work was ok but I didn’t love it and I certainly wasn’t recognized or appreciated for it. How could I have been? I’d been merely going through the motions year after year.
After nearly six years of this I decided that enough was enough and I took a chance to change careers in the hopes that I might be able to put myself in a position to shine. Fortunately, my hunch was spot on because it worked. I went on to be the top salesperson at a fast-growing startup that was quickly making a name for itself. I was named AE of the year for back to back years along with being recognized for best representing the core values of the company and it felt great. How was this possible? I’d never been recognized for anything that significant before. I was just another guy. The answer is that I followed my hunch, discovered my brilliance and created the opportunity for me to be able to demonstrate it.
This is what I wish for you.
If and when we get a chance to speak I want to hear about those moments in your life when you really felt alive. When you felt like you were offering your unique gift to the world and it just made your heart sing. What if you could do that more of the time? What if that was the nature of your work? What might that life be like if you woke up one day and you were demonstrating your brilliance each and every day?
This has been my journey. To not become complacent and settle but to keep moving in the direction of coming into greater and greater alignment in spite of the challenges. I strive to live a life that enables me to be of the greatest service to the world by allowing me to share the gifts that I was born with. To be honest though, while my career in tech sales was a big step in the right direction it still wasn’t enough. Over time I came to realize that while I enjoyed the sales calls and the selling process it wasn’t as enjoyable as those times when I got to coach and train other sales reps on what I’d found to work really well. Out of that was born a vision for a work life where I was working more directly with people more of the time. Instead of selling a product as the focus its now on helping someone overcome obstacles to becoming more successful and fulfilled.
I’d like to hear about your vision and make sure you’re moving in the right direction.
I’d like to ask you what’s stopping you from taking that next step? Usually, there’s an element of confusion. Oftentimes my clients wonder, What is it that I’m really good at? I’m not sure if there’s anything that compelling out there for me. How could I possibly find that thing anyways? I’m overwhelmed by all of the possibilities and I don’t even know where to start. This is completely normal and it’s par for the course. This is also where I can help. Through a series of clarifying questions where we get to explore every aspect of your personal and professional life that might give us clues to what’s most important and meaningful for you we can start to get an idea of the components that would be necessary for a more satisfying work life.
From this point we get to further refine what that might look like once we identify areas to research and figure out what types of jobs, companies and work styles would make sense for you. This is also where the rubber hits the road and we really get to work. Resumes, applications, interviews, offers and then finally…a new job. And not just a new job but a new life. This is why being a career coach is so much fun and why it’s so important to go through this process. It’s nothing short of life changing. This is why this work has become my purpose. I want to help as many people as I can discover and then manifest their brilliance in their work lives. Once you do it will have a ripple effect across your entire life and you’ll begin to wonder:
“What took me so long? I should’ve done this years ago!” And that’s exactly where you want to be.