By George Dutch
Do your clients think about changing jobs? The power to do so is right under their noses…well, behind their noses actually! Stored in their brains are memories about events and activities they truly enjoyed in life since childhood. Here are some tips for analyzing their life histories for key success factors that reveal work that is personally and financially rewarding. Get them to do a quick inventory from childhood years (ages 6-12), then teen years (ages 13-19), then young adult years (ages 20-29), then their thirties, forties, and so on. In each period, there are specific examples. Ask them to create a shortlist of their top 10 most enjoyable events. The power of those stories is in the facts, people, and events of their lives. These stories are like veins of gold that run through each life.
Mining gold, however, involves moving a lot of ore with tools and equipment to get at that precious metal. Similarly, mining the veins of gold in life stories is easier when you use the tool of writing. Emphasize that it is important to write about what is important to them, not what they did to please others. Help them identify those activities that gave them an intrinsic sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Above all, encourage them to be brutally honest about what is they truly enjoyed, as opposed to what they are simply proud of. They may be proud of certain accomplishments but there is often no real innate pleasure from the activity itself. For example, many people get high grades in school in order to please their parents, not because they truly love math, or history, or truly enjoy studying and doing homework.
It actually makes it easier for them to tell the story if they stick to a proven format. You may want to analyze or evaluate their stories for an accurate and reliable picture of their unique motivational pattern. Or, you may want to turn the exercise over to a personal story analyst to really nail down the essence of who and what they are in terms of work when they are doing what you enjoy most and doing it well. For example, their stories can be analyzed to identify and define Key Success Factors. Please understand that the factors critical to success are very different than personality traits, or the results you get from Myers-Briggs and other personality assessments. A personal story assessment can answer in very clear, concise and meaningful terms the questions: What are their natural talents that consistently bring satisfaction to them when they are doing what they enjoy most and doing it well? What is the subject matter that they gravitate to without even trying? What circumstances or conditions have to exist in the job environment to bring out the best in them? How do they naturally build relationships with others? How do these success factors combine to create an essential motivation; that is, the thing they are best at and best suited for in terms of work?
This accurate and reliable picture of their right work can be developed into an Ideal Job Description and matched to specific opportunities in the world of work. This opens up a new level of coaching and service for you as their career coach.