Thoughtful action to enhance your superpowers keeps your career moving upward. If you stop developing your superpowers, your career can flat line. Dead. Just roll over and give up. Unless…you can see the larger picture of how each action you take can grow your career.
Newton's first law of motion is often stated as:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
When you keep adding skills to your superpowers, positive thought habits to your mindset, and smart people to your network, you can create a career that excites and delights you.
The challenge is developing a focused plan that helps you have fun and also create more leverage in your career.
So, what does that mean?
Every Action Matters
Every action I take within my career, I try to think of it as a resume builder. I either say yes because it just seems fun and I’ll figure out how to make it fit my resume or I say no because it seems boring.
This is the gauge that I use to make many of my decisions. If it seems challenging and piques my curiosity, I go for it.
I was recently asked to speak at a conference. It took me away from my normal routine and it would hold me back from completing a very important project, but I said yes because it felt like a lot of fun.
Next time you are asked to work on a project, just ask yourself,
“Will this be fun?’
If it’s a yes, then try to think about how it fits into your career, and especially notice whether it adds to your superpowers.
A Question of Passion
If the task or project you’re contemplating doesn’t seem the least bit fun, it’s going to be hard for you to get great results. Passion is important. You have to have motivation and hopefully a sense of playfulness when you do a project or task. It’s this playfulness that will make it feel easy to take action.
“How can I make this project interesting?”
If you can’t make the project interesting then it’s time to find help. If you can make it interesting then you are playing into your passions.
You know how important your passions are to your career. They can help guide your career in the direction that will make you happier. Ignoring these feelings typically does much more harm than good.
When a job stops being fun, then it’s usually time for a change. It could entail changing your objectives at work or changing your career altogether. Something has to change if you believe happiness is important to your career and life.
Create an Actionable Plan Around Your Passions
Look at what you are most curious about in your career. If you are a nurse, it might be improving patients’ happiness, or if you are teacher, it might be figuring out how to teach something like Newton’s laws of physics and actually make it interesting.
The example below was altered from a previous coaching client that implemented a similar strategy in a different field. I asked if I could use her as an example. She said yes, as long as I changed the example to a different line of work, so not to give one of her secret weapons to one of her competitors. I agreed, so here it is.
Ok, let’s begin. If you are a teacher in any sense of the word, look at where you want your students or colleagues to be after some time together. Create a goal around this idea.
ex. I want my students to be more engaged with the material I teach.
What can I do to make my teaching material more fun and therefore this goal easier to attain?
ex. I can offer them two projects to choose from and put it to a vote. Whichever the majority of the class chooses “wins” and I’ll ask them to help the others with buy in and delivery as well.
What are the main tasks I need to accomplish to make this happen?
ex. I need to:
- Find two interesting ways for the students to learn the information.
- Create a voting system for the students.
Once we pick a project, what are the main tasks we need to accomplish to make this happen?
- Explain what is expected of them and ask them to try breaking the task into actionable chunks.
- Discuss with class and come up with milestones and timeframe.
- Measure success of project by asking for student feedback.
If you can run this this project and you can say 87% of the students enjoyed the project and 92% passed the exam, you are showing results that administrators can see the value in.
Once you know what your goal is and how you will reach it, it makes actually doing the project so much easier. It feels more fun and doable.
"Action is the foundational key to all success." - Pablo Picasso
It's very important to note that as you create your plan you need to have an overall vision of where you want your career to go. Even if it feels foggy right now, you have to decide on the best idea that will add to your happiness and build your career.
You can't keep adding extra work to your day that takes up more of your time and stresses you out. If you day is full from start to finish and there is no room to add a career building ideas then you have to eliminate something to make room. Something that is preferably boring to you and other people won't notice if you let it go or pass it on to someone else.
By eliminating something boring and adding something exciting you are able to double your career happiness in one swoop. I sometimes like to eliminate two small tasks that maybe a year ago I thought were important, but the truth was I was holding on to it for all the wrong reasons.
The more you can simplify your day, so you can focus on work that will truly boost your career and bring in great results for your employer, the more enjoyable your life will become.
In the above example, she got the feedback from the students and she could see how much they liked the project. And she used these results to see how she could improve the project and increase engagement the next time she tried a similar project.
She built a great resume. She measured what percentage of her students enjoyed the project and also what percentage learned the fundamentals of Newton’s laws.
When you add actual results to your resume, you are showing people how passionate you are about your work. Instead of just telling them how much you enjoy your job, they can see (feel) it. Only people with passion for their work take the time to measure and improve their results.
A very important point I want to make is to keep your success tracking simple. If it gets too complicated you’ll stop putting it into practice.
The more fun and actionable your projects are, the better your resume will look to people who need your skills.
What has helped you bring more passion to your career projects and plans?
* This article is a part of the Unlock Your Passions email course that you can get access to by joining our community and getting free career boosting updates.