Are you overwhelmed by making sure you make “the right” career decision. Let me help you take the pressure off. Here are three strategies (and my overall philosophy) for making confident career decisions every time.
People ask me how I knew I wanted to be an executive coach, and the truth is, I didn’t know.
When I first decided to be a coach, all I knew for sure was I wanted to have my own business. I didn’t want to be tied to any location. And I wanted to leverage my world class corporate experience.
Oh… and I didn’t want there to be a cap on the amount of money I could make.
And with those criteria, there were a lot of career options in front of me.
I thought about doing freelance marketing. I could do web design. Maybe start my own digital agency for small businesses. I could get a full-time remote marketing gig. And then there was executive coaching.
I wasn’t sure which one was going to be the “right choice” for me.
I asked myself the same question a lot of people ask themselves; “Which one will make me happy?”
And the answer is NONE. None of those jobs will make me happy.
Jobs don’t make you happy. Being happy in your career is a decision you make every day.
There is no right career decision for you. There’s only the career decision you decide to make right.
Your job as a leader is to learn to enjoy the good days, and avoid catastrophizing the not-so-good ones. Sometimes, those days are there to teach us something. And sometimes, they just suck.
So if you can be happy in any job, then how do you choose? What’s the strategy or filter for making a confident career decision?
Here are three strategies for making a confidence career decision every time.
1: Define the criteria of "The Right Decision".
If you’re willing to assume the responsibility of your happiness, then your career decision can be more pragmatic. “The Right Decision” simply becomes an established set of strategic criteria designed to help you create the life you want to live.
In my example, I had established the criteria of;
- I wanted to run my own business
- I wanted to work from anywhere
- I wanted to leverage my existing corporate experience
- I wanted infinite earning potential
- And, I wanted to be able to start earning money quickly.
All of these criteria came from the kind of life I wanted to live. Anything that fit into this criteria would have been “the right decision”.
After brainstorming many options, I landed on executive coaching because I believed there were too many stressed out, overworked people out there, who were impeding their ability to be successful. They didn’t know they could easily improve the success and enjoyment in their careers with some simple mindset shifts.
I know… I was my first client.
I saw a need I could fulfill that ticked all my strategic career criteria. So I made a decision to pursue it.
So the first step is knowing your own strategic criteria… and don’t worry, you can rethink this criteria as your life circumstances shift.
2: Let "The How" Reveal Itself.
Sometimes we let the fact we don’t know how to do something, stop us from doing it.
I had no idea “how” I would create a successful executive coaching business. All I knew was I needed some training on the coaching bit. I needed some clients. And I needed to know how to structure and price my services.
I had a starting place. And that’s all I needed.
I promise you, even if I had an exact step-by-step plan to building a multi-six figure coaching business, it would not have worked out as planned. Nothing ever does.
So you can make confident decisions without knowing HOW you’ll achieve your goal.
Just start with what you know. Take an action, and let each step inform the next one. Next thing you know it’s four years later and the how has revealed itself. And it continues to do so every day.
3: Stay Committed.
As soon as I decided to be an executive coach, people called to offer me corporate marketing jobs. I also got offered lots of freelance gigs to design websites or do short term marketing projects.
It’s almost as if my commitment was being tested by a barrage of shiny objects designed to take my eye off the prize. And if I’m honest, the easy money would have been nice in the beginning.
But for me, commitment isn’t a “sometimes” thing. You don’t marry someone, and then immediately date the first attractive person that comes along (unless that was part of the deal upfront).
I have a saying I used to tell my team … strategy is about knowing what good ideas to say NO to.
A confident career decision comes from your willingness to commit to following through.
Committing to a strategy is the ability to focus and to show up, even when things aren’t working out. No matter what hurdle is put in front of you, your only job is to figure a way through, or over, or around.
We don’t stop or give up because things get hard. The way I look at it, when things get hard, that means they’re about to get really good!
The Bottom Line... There is no "right career decision". There is only the career decision you decide to make right.
Every career has its challenges, but with the commitment, you can navigate those challenges and create a fulfilling and satisfying work life. So, don’t stress too much about finding the “perfect” career.
Instead, focus on creating a career that aligns with your values, and be willing to take risks and pivot when necessary.