The following article appeared on Inc.com today as a part of my column, “Behind The Desk.” Look out for new columns every week!
If you follow this column, recently you read about my new series on your “workover.” If you missed it, a workover is a work-makeover–a transformation into a new and improved “you” that will lead to more confidence, a better reaction from others, and better success. You can find the entire article here.
The idea came from an experience I had with a recent client. This business owner had been a successful entrepreneur for decades, but with two new grandkids and a wife who was retiring, he was ready to do something different. Less intense. More rewarding. He decided he wanted to sell his business and get himself hired as an internal consultant in other people’s companies. He had the qualifications, and he had the idea, but he was missing several critical ingredients that would make it all work.
It seemed to me that he needed a work makeover. Just as TV personalities often pluck people off the streets and whisk them away for a head-to-toe transformation, I wanted to pull him into a conference room, work on the pieces that were getting out of date or were somehow not communicating the excitement and attraction he wanted, and return him to the marketplace as this year’s must-have new model. So we did that. We called it his workover.
The following are the three steps I shared with him, and that you can also use for a DIY workover.
Define your criteria. Before you do anything else, identify in a bulleted list the things that matter most to you in the next phase of your work life. What are you looking for now? What do you want?
For instance, if you’re looking for a new job, do you prefer the company is stable, or fresh and contemporary? Would you prefer to have flexibility to work from home, or is an office space important to you? Are you looking to give up your commute completely, or move to a new area? How important is mobility? Do you prefer to work independently, or with a team?
Think of your long-term vision, and describe it.
If you’re more of a visual person, the written list might not be your go-to method of defining your criteria. Instead, you might prefer to visualize what you want in your next job. I often walk through a “you and improved” vision with my clients, asking them to close their eyes and let their mind work out their vision, the audio of which I offer on my site here. Following the audio will help you get a more intuitive feel for what you want.
Rrank your criteria. Writing down your criteria for your perfect job is just the first step. But a workover isn’t about perpetuating the status quo–it’s about elevating yourself. Take the opportunity to rank your critieria so you not only know what’s important to you, you’ll know what’s most important. Doing this will ensure you don’t settle for second best.
For example, a client of mine (a marketing executive) was searching for a new position. She told me that this time, she only wanted to do things she loved to do. But her list of what that might be was very long and contained everything from “working with people” to “being creative” and “developing strategy.” Prompted to rank her criteria, she identified that of these criteria, what she really wanted was to find a truly creative and innovative environment. That one decision greatly narrowed her job search and led to an exciting new opportunity. She never would have found that if she had just told hiring managers she was a marketing expert. When you lump all of your skillsets together under one title like that, you lose the richness of what you do within your job that makes you happy. No, she had to tell hiring managers that she was a marketing expert interested in using her creativity in an innovative environment to open new markets. That level of specificity and the enthusiasm that came with identifying her number one criteria made her an extremely attractive as a candidate.
Refine what you would like to focus on. Now that we’re getting specific about what you want in your new job–in priority order – It’s time to get serious about what you want your day-to-day routine to look like. Get the clear picture of what it would be like to work in your favorite activities day after day. This is the internal part of your workover, and it will show up as confidence that you are a person who really knows what you’re after. You will have seen it in your mind, and now you can go out and pull it off in real life.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur looking toward your next move, or an executive looking to explore a new field, taking steps toward a workover don’t have to be daunting. When successfully managed, your workover can improve your quality of life, and leave you feeling generally more fulfilled. This is the second part of a three-part series. Next time we will focus on identifying topics and themes that will make your next job the best you’ve ever had.