We all expect something from our jobs. For some it might be money, for others a chance to fulfill potential. It is important to define what it is you want from your work, your colleagues, management and, most importantly, from yourself. A big mis­take is to think that a job is only about a pay packet, important though that may be. If you just go for the money, then you may hop from job to similar job in the pursuit of a slightly better pay offer without realizing that what you really seek is career confidence and that there are other ingredients that would inspire and stimulate you.

Solving Your Career Confidence Formula

So, what are you looking for from work? Work-life balance? Responsibility? A good salary? Vacation time? Once you answer that question, you can move to the next all-important questions: are you getting what you want from work? Do you have career confidence? If not, why not? They are key questions to ask yourself and tougher ones to answer honestly.  

Life is complicated, so it is important to consider your career from all aspects of your life. Several studies have shown that fewer than 2 in 10 people use a decision­making strategy that addresses how their decisions fit into all phases of their life, including those that appear unrelated. Those who sacrifice their individual beliefs and backgrounds ultimately express one­-third less satisfaction with their jobs and almost two-­thirds less satisfaction with their lives. Low job and life satisfaction correlate highly with low confidence.

So how does one achieve career confidence? A formula for a confident working life is as follows:

Skills + Passions + Values + Lifestyle + Environment = Career confidence

Answer the questions attached to each part of the equation and you will realize that work is a complex meshing of these components.

SKILLS: What are you good at? What do you have a knack for?

(Examples: writing, drawing, working with children, solving problems, building things, leading people, conceptualizing, bringing people together, organizing, singing, motivating others, planning, learning another language, gardening, dancing, fixing things)

Ask yourself some of the following questions for clues to un­covering your skills:

  • What do others say my skills are?
  • What do I enjoy doing because I know I can do it well?
  • What have previous employers noted on my reference letters? What were my favourite activities as a child?
  • What am I complimented on?
  • What is something I do during which I lose track of time? What do I nd myself doing just because I enjoy it?

PASSIONS: What do you feel passionate about?

(Examples: food, family, working outdoors, faith, ideas, finding out how things work, art, fitness, teaching, friendships, travel, animals, helping others)

Ask yourself some of the following questions for clues to un­covering your passions:

  • What is important to me?
  • What kinds of TV programmes do I watch?
  • What kinds of magazines do I read?
  • What makes me angry?
  • What is something I can’t imagine living without? What holds my interest intensely?
  • What do I love?
  • What gives me energy?
  • What have I always been interested in?
  • What has always been a part of my life?

VALUES: What do you value most?

(Examples: family, faith, caring, security, trust, integrity, har­mony, honesty, friends, loyalty, strength, creativity, freedom, hard work, support, bravery)

Ask yourself some of the following questions for clues to un­covering your values:

  • What do I value in some of my closest relationships? What are my personal values?
  • What do I believe strongly in?
  • In what manner do I want to live my life?
  • Which values can I not imagine living my life without? Which values improve my life?
  • Which values fulfill me?
  • What values do I want people to remember me having?

LIFESTYLE: What would be your ideal lifestyle?

(Examples: home or at, large or medium income, relationships with family, having a cottage on a lake, how many children, education, being your own boss, being admired by others, time to spend on hobbies, control over your finances, travelling regularly)

Ask yourself some of the following questions for clues to uncovering your lifestyle:

  • What do I enjoy about my current lifestyle?
  • When I was younger, how did I dream my life would be?
  • Think of someone whose lifestyle you admire – what exactly do you admire about it?
  • Picture a perfect day in your ideal life – what does your lifestyle look like?

ENVIRONMENT: In what kind of an environment do you work well?

(Examples: positive, creative, teamwork, room or open plan, structured/no structure, free to work at my own pace, a trusting boss, good colleagues, a place where I can be a leader, fast­paced, varied or changing challenges, quiet, a place where I can main­tain long relationships with people, risk­taking, exible hours, big company, small company)

Ask yourself some of the following questions for clues to un­covering your environment:

  • What does my ideal work environment look like?
  • In what environments have I been most productive?
  • What kind of physical space do I work well in?
  • What elements in my current company culture do I appreciate? What is important to me in a job environment?
  • What kind of leader do I perform best with?
  • How would I like to change the environment of my current job?

Solving Your Own Career Confidence Formula

Now, take note of themes and trends within each of the categories. For example, imagine that one of your natural talents was for music. In each of your past positions that scored low, you might notice that you were unable to use your musical talents. You may determine that you value this talent in yourself, and should perhaps be looking for different ways to express it.

What have you learned from this exercise? What informa­tion do you take away, both personally and in regards to your career? Act on what you have learned to gain career confidence, make changes in your current job or start to look for pastures new.
At Ros Taylor Company, we believe that any manager or senior executive has the potential to become an even more effective leader. Through a series of monthly sessions or a shorter programme of master classes, Just Leadership empowers the talent that already exists within your organisation to develop greater resilience to deal with business challenges and become more innovative in their approach to problem solving and inspiring teams.