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How are you consciously perceiving your career?

3 December 2018

Anil Seth is a neuroscientist who studies consciousness. In an intriguing and conscious altering talk he builds the case that our perception of reality is just that – only a perception.

Seth’s talk got me thinking about the perceptions we have of our careers – or, in other words, the stories we have about our careers.  I will often talk with my clients about the power of stories, not just in selection processes, but also in terms of the stories we tell ourselves about our career and how it will unfold.  You see, sometimes the stories we tell ourselves aren’t helpful and shifting them, or reframing them, can open new career possibilities and different directions.

Below are a few questions to give your perception (or story) of your career a little pinch to test its reality and/or its strength. Sit down with a friend who is also keen to think big picture about their career and work through the questions. Maybe together you might just both perceive your career development a little differently.

  • Imagine the career/job you are pursuing simply vanished as a possibility.  What else would you do?
  • If someone a little more courageous stepped into your career right now what small thing would they do differently?
  • Someone has just given you a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card which means you can make a career change, and in 6 months if it is not working out you can switch back to your current career.  What would you have a go at?
  • Hypothetically, what things could happen in the next 12 months that would (a) let you know the career path you are on is spot on, or (b) something to run from?  Come up with 3 things for both a and b.
  • You win a fabulous lottery.  The prize is that you will be paid a healthy salary (whatever that means for you) for the rest of your life, but only if you continue to work.  What work would you do?
  • If you weren’t already on your current career path would you still choose it?
  • It’s a year from now and your career has fallen apart.  What didn’t you notice now that led to this disaster?  
  • It’s a year from now and your career is super successful.  What did you do today that led to this success?
  • Your career goal for the next 6 months is going to be published on the front page of the newspaper.  What will it read?
  • What is slowly changing around you that will devastate your career?
  • You have a crazy uncle. He’s an inventor. One of his favourite creations is a wrist-watch gadget thingy that measures the level of joy and enthusiasm you’re experiencing in your life from a down-in-the-dumps one to a happy-as-can-be ten.  He called it the “fun-meter.”  Now, your uncle passed away. And, as fate would have it, he’s leaving you $100 million.  With one condition.  You need to wear the fun-meter at all times for a year. Every day it will wirelessly transmit your fun levels to the estate attorney’s office. You need to make sure your fun-meter never reports back anything less than a seven.  In other words, you’re going to need to live like you really mean it and create some pure joy every day.  1. Would you be up for it?   2. What would you do on the first day, then the second, then the 40th day?

(Thanks to the following references: Fail Fast, Fail Often by Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz; Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.)

As always wishing you a flourishing career.


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