Sandra Fischer, author and creator of Relationship Reveal™ joins us in the studio to discuss how knowing and investing in yourself can payoff for you in your career and life.
THE ULTIMATE PAYOFF THROUGH KNOWING YOURSELF
By Sandra Fischer
No matter what you choose to do with your working life, most people desire it to be as fulfilling and lucrative as possible. But, based on The Conference Board’s 2016 job satisfaction survey1, only 49.6% of US workers were satisfied with their jobs. This number is the highest percentage since 2005, but there is a lot of room to improve. To add to that, if we fail to maximize our salary—particularly at the outset of a career—research2 by Temple University and George Mason University shows that an annual salary difference of $5,000 in an early job could increase your career earnings by over $630,000. No small change. Both statistics highlight the importance and lifetime career impact of knowing yourself and your value well, because when you do, you find more meaningful work and have a greater level of confidence that your pay is aligned with your skills and work performed. Whether you are choosing or changing a career path, actively job searching, or managing your existing career, staying connected with what matters most in your life and nurturing a deeply held belief in your value will help you maximize satisfaction and personal achievement throughout your career.
Knowing yourself takes time, effort, and a willingness to explore, experiment, and be vulnerable. A few key components to know about yourself, especially as it relates to your career management, are:
- Clear and articulated core values; these generally stay consistent throughout your life. An important core value may be ensuring your well-being by building a life that positively reinforces your value.
- An articulated vision for your life and career; it is a good idea to create mechanisms to evaluate regularly as this is something that will change as your interests shift, you age, and gain more life experience.
- An awareness and ability to describe your life experiences, including what you know and how your life’s journey has shaped you, both the positive and the negative.
- Knowing how others see you; this is difficult and requires trust and the ability to be vulnerable.
- Understanding areas of strength and opportunities for development; being able to say, “I don’t know. Please teach me,” is powerful and opens you to possibility. It allows you to be authentic.
There are many resources available to help you discover and craft thoughtful answers to the above but to start, ponder these questions:
- What interests you and how does that influence the type of work you want to do?
- What is important to you about your workplace and colleagues? What does that look like in practice? For example: Is it more important to do any job for a company you love or is the work you do more important? Do you like structure and routine or do you want more creativity and innovation?
- What lifestyle do you prefer? What outside activities are you passionate about? How does that factor into your career and work life?
- Where do you want to live?
- What resources do you have? For example: Do you have enough savings to weather a start-up environment or do you prefer a regular salary in a bigger corporation?
- What is the story of your life? What experiences played a transformative role? What did they teach you? Bring your resume and life experience alive through stories and examples.
When you have a solid, confident understanding of yourself you:
- Present yourself confidently and passionately.
- Communicate strengths and fit for career opportunities.
- Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability responding to opportunities.
- Identify needs and how your unique skills can meet them.
- Plant the seeds of opportunity because you know what you want and what you offer.
- Hold a vision that brings the right possibilities to you.
Know Your Value
Recognizing and acknowledging what you bring to any job are an important part of self-awareness and positive self-worth. When you believe you have value as a person, you are not reliant on external validation to feel good about yourself and are less susceptible to external factors that change frequently and are out of your control. When you have a strong sense of positive self-worth and you recognize the value of the skills, experiences, and perspectives you hold (even if you are new to the job market and your greatest asset is a can-do attitude and hard work ethic), you:
- Show up with true confidence and belief in your abilities.
- Advocate for yourself.
- Negotiate to align what is offered with what you want and are worth.
- Take more risks.
- Experience failure without damaging self-worth and are more resilient.
- Demonstrate empathy for others.
- Have a more positive attitude.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received was to manage my career like I was the CEO of a corporation and I was the product. Investing in myself would be the greatest investment I could make because I am the only person in charge of the asset known as me and I alone would be the beneficiary of the good and bad decisions. It was up to me to take the time. Helpful resources are:
- Online career management resources e.g., job search boards
- Leadership and personal development courses
- Personal growth and career management books
- Life or career coaches
- Mental health professionals (These resources can help in and out of crisis to strengthen self-worth by looking at past behavior, pain points, anxiety, triggers, and fears.)
- Career research e.g., job description, salary, skills required
All these activities take time, thoughtfulness, and vulnerability but are well worth the effort. The payoff is a happier, satisfying life. Plus, what you learn benefits all other areas of your life. A true win-win. No negotiation needed.
SANDRA FISCHER is the creator of Relationship Reveal™: 64 Cards for Discovery, Skill-Building, and Growth, a new card game that gets to the heart of what matters in happy, healthy relationships. Using Relationship Reveal is an active, engaging way to get to know yourself and identify your value and provides a language to allow for greater vulnerability as we explore. Sandra writes for businesses, creates fiction, and consults specializing in communications, people development and optimizing organizational effectiveness. With 25 years of experience working for companies including Microsoft, Amazon and AT&T, her experiences have been as unique and broad as managing the homepage for Amazon.com to developing an online marketing campaign for a literary novel launch.
- Knowing yourself and knowing your value allows you to be intentional in changes and being open to opportunities when they present themselves
- Passions – people with passions make more interesting employees
- Planting seeds – always have your vision of where you want to go and then "plant seeds" by sharing information with others about your vision. Be curious about others.
- Hold the vision but "trust the process"
- Check out the MBTI® Instrument – MBTI