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You Turn #1: Know Your Core Nature
People often call themselves “practical” or “realistic” for making choices that feel “responsible.” They buy into limitations about what’s possible because they’re scared of putting themselves out there. After all, if we stop hiding, we’re vulnerable to criticism and pain. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, some part of us knows that people who call themselves “realists” are often just dreamers who’ve gotten their hearts broken somewhere along the way. So how do you make a You Turn? How do you reconnect to yourself and figure out what you really want?
It’s about how all of us tend to lose sight of our natural state and the energy we’re in when we are our best selves, our CORE NATURE, when we start making career and life decisions. We choose autopilot. We start prioritizing light and fleeting interests, and not who we are. We eventually become scared of the vulnerability that comes with being ourselves at our core, and as a result, we become someone we’re not. This is poison for our careers.
Discovering your CORE NATURE requires two commitments:
- Asking for feedback from friends and family, the people who know you best and really see you for who you are.
- Looking at the fears, blocks, or limitations you’ve bought into about who you should be in your life and career. Those are what keep us from the truth of who we are and the fulfillment we really want.
You Turn #2: Discover Your Core Skill Set
When you feel that you’ve exhausted all growth in your job, and you’re no longer sharpening your CORE SKILL SET, the one you will carry with you throughout your career, or when you’re in a bad mood at work beyond the point of no return, it’s time to quit. When we don’t quit, we end up burning out.
The longer we go without reviewing our belief systems, or changing course, the more burned out we become, staying stuck in the wrong job, relationship, or city. In short, burnout is one of the most emotionally expensive paths we can take. It is estimated that job stress and burnout cost US businesses $150 billion to $300 billion annually.
The concept of self-love is confusing and elusive. We live in a world where self-love is often misunderstood as an escape from the world, or responsibility. We see magazine articles urging us to “love ourselves” through bubble baths, eating that extra slice of cake, or playing hooky from work in order to get a massage. But here’s the deal: self-love is a journey, not a destination, and it’s all about investing in who we really want to be in the world, our best selves
THE TEN CORE SKILL SETS
Core Skill Set #1: Words
Possible Career Paths for Words: speaker, author, marketer, advertiser, blogger.
Core Skill Set #2: Innovation
Possible Career Paths for Innovation: entrepreneur, investor, consultant, insurance agent, business developer, real estate agent, product manager … The sky is the limit.
Core Skill Set #3: Building
Possible Career Paths for Building: architect, car mechanic, construction worker, UX designer.
Core Skill Set #4: Technology
Possible Career Paths for Technology: coder, IT support team, artificial intelligence developer.
Core Skill Set #5: Motion
Possible Career Paths for Motion: personal trainer, physical therapist, tour guide, dancer, professional athlete, film crew
Core Skill Set #6: Service
Possible Career Paths for Service: customer service representative, community manager, personal assistant, nurse
Core Skill Set #7: Beauty
Possible Career Paths for Beauty: interior designer, ceramicist, editor in chief, illustrator, stage designer, graphic designer, jewelry designer
Core Skill Set #8: Coordination
Possible Career Paths for Coordination: event planner, operations manager, logistics lead, project manager.
Core Skill Set #9: Analysis
Possible Career Paths for Analysis: researcher, therapist (though many may lead with words and have this as a secondary skill), intelligence professional, paralegal, data analyst, scientist, economist.
Core Skill Set #10: Numbers
Possible Career Paths for Numbers: accountant, financial advisor, investment banker, chief financial officer (CFO), bookkeeper.
You Turn #3: Unlock Your Money Blueprint
Our thoughts are like clouds, floating across the landscape of our minds—and yet the moment we buy into them, the moment they’ve repeated themselves just one too many times in our psyche, is the moment they become our automatic beliefs. Good or bad, these become our mental habits and how we define ourselves.
It’s time to wake up to what’s possible for you with regard to money. What are your automatic, or subconscious, beliefs? Here are some possibilities:
- I’m not going to get a raise.
- They’re going to find out I don’t know what I’m doing.
- I don’t actually deserve a better paycheck.
- I’m not a great hire.
- I’m too lazy to hire.
- I don’t even want that job I’m going for.
- That job is going to be a bummer.
- I don’t feel like dealing with a new boss.
- It feels tiring to work with a whole new schedule.
Stephen Chbosky, might have said it best in his book (a true work of art) The Perks of Being a Wallflower: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
A statement that Oprah says all the time. Unless you’re paying close attention, you can sabotage a great opportunity in life because you think you don’t deserve it, or because you don’t think you have what it takes to even apply. (Think, for example, of your ideal job opportunity.)
You Turn #4: Determine Your Core Values
Those who love their careers have three key bases covered. Their CORE NATURE aligns with the nature of their job; they are actively using their CORE SKILL SET; and their CORE VALUES have served as a filter for their choice of whether to accept the job they’re in.
Once you clarify your CORE NATURE (how people experience your energy), and your CORE SKILL SET (what you’re best at), you will probably generate some job titles, based on what you know about the world and the people who are out there, doing work that aligns with what you think you’re into. Stopping right there is the mistake most people make in their careers.
Creating a beautiful career is about being who you are. That means defining your top five CORE VALUES and using them as a filter for your potential career options
If you’re not clear enough on what those jobs actually involve, remember: clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Engagement could look like many things: taking a class, talking to someone who is in the position you think you want, reading a book, attending networking events, or even taking a job in and of itself. After all, your career is an experiment, and part of your success rides on you loosening up so you can actually try on the career ideas you have, like clothes you may or may not want to buy.
You Turn #5: Learn How to Befriend Your Blocks
Your career is a playground, and this chapter is here to remind you that while it’s a vehicle for your own self-expression, your career is not a prerequisite for your worthiness. You are worthy without a career, and your life is meaningful without a career. All of this said, a career is simply a vehicle for you to play with and use as a way to add more self-expression and purpose into your life if you so choose.
There is no force stronger within yourself than the part of you that wants to have an identity. It creates a sense of safety to decide on who we are, and it gives us a framework to make decisions. That being said, you can outgrow your identity or be highly limited by it. Our trauma and experiences influence the identity we hold of ourselves, and how we operate in the world. However, when we heal trauma, our identity shifts in a big way. This loss of our old identity can cause a natural grief that can feel confusing, but know that grief like this can come when you’re simply onto something greater.
You Turn# 6: Be Sure to Assess Your Core Interests
How do we get so disconnected? Well, we’re born with so much love, inspiration, and curiosity. That’s how we come into the world. In fact, think about the last time you watched a kid at play—totally in their curiosity and joy, following their flow … and yet, somewhere along the way, we’re taught to fear. It starts off with our parents telling us to look both ways when we cross the street, for fear a car will hit us. They tell us not to touch a hot stove, in fear we’ll get burned. It evolves into our parents telling us—rightfully so—not to trust strangers, because they could hurt us. The intentions of our parents were good, and I’m sure yours loved you the best they knew how.
But suddenly we wake up and notice that there’s a wall around our heart, one we must have built up over time. The upside? When you dodge the vulnerability of doing what you actually want to do with your life, you tend to subject yourself to less criticism. The downside? Nothing can get out of your wall. You’re stuck in your own limitations, and you struggle to attune to the wisdom of your heart. Your fears become so loud, and so sneaky, that you lose the ability to hear yourself think, to hear your intuition, to honor yourself, and to truly express yourself or your passions … to taste all the flavors of life that are meant to be uniquely yours.
The biggest mistake you could make in your career is in being so reactive about a job that isn’t working for you that you don’t ask yourself these questions: Am I using the wrong CORE SKILL SET, or is it this entire industry that isn’t working for me? What small tweak could make a big difference for me?
You Turn #7: Learn How to Turn Conversations into Opportunities
Know this: if you’re not getting the results you want in your job hunt or in your career, it’s directly tied to a lack of options. Have you ever seen someone who’s walking around with a bunch of options in their career? They look excited, they have a little pep in their step, and they seem so abundant. It’s because they’re someone who has committed to the art of creating options. And do you know how to create options? You have more conversations, ones where you’re committed to living in your CORE NATURE
it doesn’t mean you need to be “on” and having conversations all the time; it just means you need to make yourself available—to the person looking next to you in the peanut butter aisle in the grocery store, to the person behind you in the bathroom line, to your postman … you name it. Magic is everywhere, and we tend to buy into the belief that there’s a certain person, perhaps more seasoned, that we should be talking to. Does targeting who you have conversations with help? Sure. But, believe me, I’ve made some serious magic happen in my career through just going to the grocery store, or walking my dog, Jupiter, around the block, with one intention: connection.
And let’s just have a quick note here on being real. Truthful communication not only helps build stronger trust and a deeper relationship; it also helps keep you healthy. According to new research, headaches, sore throats, and anxiety are all symptoms of lying.
Keep this at bay and be authentic in your communication. Who you are always wins. Your true self always comes out, so you may as well be yourself now!
You Turn #8: Stop Applying for Jobs, and Start Networking
STEP #1: GO NUTS ON LINKEDIN
If you want to intentionally land a job you want, versus your friend Becky’s mom haphazardly handing one to you, come up with three or four keywords: two that align with your CORE SKILL SET (e.g., communications, writing, or speaking, to name a few in my case!) as well as two that align with the industry or your CORE INTEREST (e.g., travel, politics, or fashion—in my case!).
Get on LinkedIn’s advanced search, and always put two words into the keywords section, or three at most. One word or phrase should always be skill-related (like “financial modeling” or, in my case, “communications”) and the other word or phrase should always be interest-related (like “fashion”). Don’t pick more than one interest so you can ensure that your search goes deep and is focused.
Start to dig into the profiles that come up and pay attention to who inspires you. Notice what you notice about people, and start forming a list of companies or jobs that capture your attention.
STEP #2: MAKE A TARGETED COMPANY LIST
After you’ve nearly hit your search limit and you’re starting to feel like a creepy LinkedIn troll, it’s time to start making a list of companies you’d love to work for, up to one hundred different ones that ideally align with your CORE NATURE and CORE VALUES. You should have gotten plenty of inspiration from looking at other professionals.
STEP #3: DECIDE WHERE YOUR CORE SKILL SET BELONGS
Research each company on your list, and clarify which team you’d ideally like to join in the company. This means getting out of the “take what I can get” mentality, or the “something is better than nothing” mindset, and aligning their job title options with your primary CORE SKILL SET
STEP #4: SELECT TWO KEY POINTS OF CONTACT WITHIN EACH COMPANY
Once you’re clear on what team matches your skill set, get back on LinkedIn to use the advanced search function. In the advanced search, you’ll put:
- Each of your one hundred companies into the “company” section, one by one.
- The postal code you want to work in.
- A keyword that allows the search engine to find the people on your desired team within that company.
From there, you’ll want to find two key contacts: HR and your potential boss. Your potential boss contact should be neither so high up that your email gets lost in their shuffle or is not relevant to them, nor so low on the company totem pole that you’re competing with them for their job. Entry-level job hunters should be reaching out to managers as their potential boss. Midlevel manager job hunters should be reaching out to directors or vice presidents as their potential boss. Write down the name of your potential boss in each company on your list.
As for HR, that’s a bit more of a doozy. For companies with fewer than ten employees, there’s probably no HR person. Shoot, even with all these startups preaching the whole “We have no hierarchy,” there could be no HR person. So be loose with this, but be aware and intentional—if you can pick one HR name, that’s sensible. If none appear, the potential boss’s name alone is enough
STEP #5: FIND THEIR EMAIL
If you even think about direct messaging these people on LinkedIn, I’m going to cry. Why? Because you need to contact people where their priorities are. That means realizing LinkedIn is like Twitter, Instagram, or a million other venues that have a login. It doesn’t mean they check it daily or care that much about it. That’s why
recommend hitting them up in their direct email in-box, the place where their priorities exist—with everything from Amazon deliveries, to work emails, to messages from their significant other. This is where you’ll get noticed, whether they choose to reply to you or not.
Writing a cold email is an art. Here are some tips
- The first thing the contact will think when they open an email from a stranger is, “How did they find me?” Open the cold email by letting them know how you found them.
- Follow this up with a light apology for reaching out. Why? Because sometimes showing up in their personal in-box can feel intrusive, even if it’s just networking, something so many of us tend to, and should, do.
- Offer a little authentic flattery, because we have to admit it, everyone loves a compliment. Tell them what it is about their work that you think is inspiring, and keep it short—one kind sentence will do the trick.
- Move forward by outlining your current career status to align why you are reaching out to them with where you are currently.
- Finish this by making your ask, whether it be to schedule a phone call or to meet in person for a cup of coffee.
- Be sure to attach your resume, and make note of the attachment by saying “attached is a copy of my resume so that you have an idea of my background.” When you say it this way, you come off less like you’re asking for a favor in your job hunt and more like you want to connect.
Reaching out to strangers may feel intimidating at first, but with practice, it becomes much easier.