I'm putting the finishing touches on a 28 Day Career Clarity Online Camp that I plan to run in October (more on that coming soon.) In doing this, I've realized that the career and professional development process I'm developing is one that dives deep and asks much of participants. It is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication and a willingness to go to places you may not have explored before, at least not in the context of your career.
This is because I've come to realize tht our tools limit our outcomes--they necessarily circumscribe what we create. So, for example, you cannot create a photograph with water colors, just as you cannot create a water color with a camera. As soon as you choose the medium, you have made a decision about what the product will be.
In finding your true work, when you choose simple tools you will, of necessity, reach simplistic understanding about yourself. It's fine to do this--to rely on skills checklists, interest inventories, Holland Codes and your company's learning plans to manage your career and professional development. But do this knowingly. Understand that in choosing these kinds of tools you are turning yourself into a series of categories that feel disconnected from who you really are because they reduce you to something that can be put into boxes. There is no space for or consideration of the complex stew that is you and what you want to do with your life.
To reach the deeper knowledge that can inspire you and put you on a path that feels truly successful and fulfilling, you must use tools that help you dive deep. You have to leave behind the safety of neat lists and categories because they will contain and constrain you before you've even properly started on your journey. And on a purely practical level, work is increasingly moving to a more open configuration that favors you taking the time to thoroughly know and express your positive core. This is the essence of creativity and the knowledge economy.
Increasingly I believe that the most successful people in this new world are going to be those individuals who are willing to take the deeper journey into themselves to fully understand and express their positive core. This is the source of innovation and creativity. It is also the way to find the most rewarding and important work. Interest inventories and skills checklists are the remnants of the old economy. To truly take advantage of the new opportunities in our world, we have have to change our career tools.