The Best Advice I Ever Heard From a Career Coach

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I'm often asked for job search advice, and perhaps the No. 1 request I receive is, "What kind of job should I look for?" As a coach, most of the time, I answer this question – and other client questions – with a question of my own: "Why?"

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Most of us have more than enough people in our lives offering their opinions, whether we want them to or not. My goal is not to be one of those people. I'm of the belief that we already have many of the answers we seek. We simply ask others when we want confirmation – secretly, of course.

That's not an absolute truth, but more times than not, this is the case.

So – back to the job search question. I proceed to ask the person to tell me about the thing they would do for free. I want them to tell me what they're really passionate about.

Usually, that's not the answer they want, but it creates a necessary conversation that a job seeker might otherwise avoid. It's a conversation about values.

What is your core belief? What's the real reason you want a job in the first place? Is it the money?

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Nope.

Is it the title?

Nope.

Although some would argue that point, the truth is much deeper than this. Let's take a college degree, for example. If you have one, why did you pursue it in the first place? Was it to get the degree?

Nope. Not really.

Was it for the discipline of completing the program? Absolutely not. (If so, we need to talk!)

No, you pursued that degree because of the things to which it would give you access.

Hopefully, you see where I'm going with this. Your core belief is the common denominator behind all of what you do.

Uncovering Your Core Beliefs

I met with a young man not long ago who was interested in pursuing a career in residential real estate. I asked him why he chose real estate. He said it was because of the money.

I said I didn't believe him. I told him that wasn't the real reason. I asked if he was committed to real estate. His answer was, "Yes." He said there's the possibility of making "good money." I agreed, but didn't believe it was about the money.

Within a few minutes, as I continued to ask probing questions, we got to the real reason. This young man wanted to create a lifestyle for his family where he would be able to send his children to the best schools, offer his wife the option of choosing her own career, and take family vacations. He wanted freedom and flexibility. That's what he was committed to – providing for his family. Real estate was simply the vehicle.

When I asked if it had to be real estate, he said it didn't have to be.

What's the Point?

First, you need to get clear on what you're truly committed to. More than likely, the job is merely the vehicle. Being gainfully employed is important, but a job is much more than that. Being intentional about the bigger picture may give you the wherewithal to choose more powerfully.

Are you choosing something that will simply pay the bills? If so, understand that's what your job is for: just paying the bills

Is it for the opportunity to hone your skills, be challenged, and expand your knowledge? Then you're laying planks on the path to the values to which you're ultimately committed.

What's your (life) plan? Instead of looking at a job or occupation as a separate issue, you should incorporate your profession fully into your life.

Whether you are an employee or own a business, most of your waking moments will be spent working. Why not spend that time doing something you enjoy?

As has been said many times before, if you choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.

That sounds pretty good to me.

Reginald Jackson is an executive and leadership coach and the founder of Joyful Satisfaction Coaching.