How to Go in Deep on Your 2019 Career Move

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Our high performing clients at She Negotiates come in the door in two ways: They have or are anticipating an offer for a raise, promotion or new job, or they’re driving toward the same results and need leadership coaching to get there.

No matter which door they enter, one of the first things I do is to ask some opening questions:

  • What do you want?

  • How does what you want map to your big picture career and life goals?

  • Does your current opportunity point in the direction of your big picture?

  • What's in the way of achieving your big picture?

When there is any kind of disconnect between the opportunity and the big picture, I often ask four more questions:

  • Who are you?

  • Who are you becoming?

  • Where do you belong?

  • What makes you happy/what pisses you off?

These questions often take my negotiation clients by surprise. They say things like, “Yeah, yeah, but I don’t have time for that. Let’s just drill down into the strategy, okay?”

SLOW DOWN, COWGIRL

The purpose of those three questions is to unravel the internal threads of desire, commitment, and strengths before we tackle the external threads having to do with strategy. The reasons are practical and spiritual. If you are not in the right place, in the right role, with the right people, for the right outcomes (or in the interview process for the same), you will experience a break in belonging. And the first break in belonging is not belonging to yourself.

You might land the job, or get the promotion and the salary of your dreams, but over time your desire, your passion for generating the future, will flatline. Your commitment to yourself—your big picture—and your commitment to others will wane, and the strengths that give you joy and help your employer generate results will begin to recede into the background.

I can tell you first hand that it took me many missteps, trying to fit myself into roles that looked good on paper, but sapped my life energy and sense of purpose and belonging before I made the kinds of choices where my desire, commitment and strengths aligned.

My very last J-O-B prior to launching into coaching and ultimately She Negotiates, was working as the enrollment director for a private school. I became good friends with one of the parents in the school and one day she said, “You know, Lisa, this job doesn’t really seem to fit who you are. The role matches a lot of your strengths, but you don’t belong here. Your contribution is bigger than this. You really function as a coach; a developer of people and you don’t get to do that here.”

Gulp.

Very shortly after that conversation, I was laid off, along with several others. I asked myself, “Who am I and where do I belong?” Well, I’m here, talking with you now, so you know the answer to that existential question, and I’ve been iterating on that ever since.

About 10 years ago I stumbled upon the work of Molly Gordon and purchased her eBook, “Authentic Promotion: Grow Your Business, Feed Your Soul.” My biggest take away from that big little eBook was a series of questions I have used over and over with myself, and with hundreds of clients. (While these are geared toward entrepreneurs, they are easily transposed to the workplace.)

“Where” Questions

  • Where do you consistently find kindred spirits?

  • Where are you most credible?

  • Where is there the greatest need coupled with the greatest appreciation for your work?

  • Where do the people who need your work most often have breakdowns that would cause them to hire you?

“Who” Questions

  • Who is naturally drawn to you and to your work?

  • To whom are the things that seem obvious to you a revelation?

  • Who is traveling a path that you have successfully walked yourself?

  • Whose language do you speak?

  • Whose concerns can you reliably anticipate and address?

  • Whom is it easy for you to serve?

So… as we move into the holidays and into the renewal possibilities of the new year, ask yourself where you belong. The world is dying for your contribution.

Lisa is a leadership and negotiation coach who knows how to bridge the gap between self-worth and net worth. She is the co-founder of She Negotiates and author of five courses at LinkedIn Learning including Negotiation Fundamentals, Conflict Resolution Fundamentals, Coaching and Developing Employees, Coaching for Results, and Asking for a Raise.