To uncover as many career ideas as possible, I suggest brainstorming with supportive people who know you and also with others who don’t know you well. Here’s why.
There is no website out there that provides a complete list of career ideas, so getting firsthand information from others often adds helpful insights. Those who know you can pinpoint your skills and suggest how to use them. They can review previous jobs and how you handled them. They have a history with you. At the same time, friends and family may unconsciously try to pigeonhole you. So take their feedback, say “thank you,” and spend some time mulling over their comments.
Shirley was looking for a new career path and told one of her friends she was considering becoming the director of a non-profit. To her surprise, her friend said, “I always thought that was something you should do.”
Those who don’t know you well – such as a career coach, participants in a coaching group, or former co-workers you were merely acquaintances with – can provide a more objective opinion. My experience is that in every coaching group, someone says something I would not have thought of; and my clients have gotten their best career ideas from another participant in the group.
David came to a group coaching session with great news. He had invited five of his close friends for dinner the previous weekend. For about three hours they brainstormed career ideas for him based on what they knew about his personality, experience, and talents. By dessert, he had thirty new career ideas! Of course, he wasn’t going to consider all of them; but the point is he had many more ideas than he had before.
Often we don’t fully understand how our talents and experience can combine into unique career ideas. Others see connections we don’t see because it’s harder to be objective about our own experiences.
In a nutshell: Brainstorm with everyone; that is, everyone who would be helpful.
We hope this is helpful to you!
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