Approaching this in steps, vs. all-at-once, can help you reach deeper insights, in the end, because by focusing on one step at a time, and then going back and looking at the information in another step, we can begin to shift our lens or perspective. Yes, this is all information you already know, but accessing your own semi- or un-conscious thoughts doesn't "just happen" and it takes more effort than asking one straight-forward question. Try this process for yourself!
Step 1: Timeline - start at the beginning of adulthood!
What was I doing : Job, role/title, school, training, side hustle, challenges, accomplishments
Note - these are more or less neutral. You aren’t assigning judgement here. Even what we perceive to be a negative event, including illness, death… the event itself happened, how you felt or feel about may be positive or negative but we aren’t there yet. But do try to remember anything that had an impact on you, to include here.
Step 2: Research
What did I learn? Hard & soft skills, self awareness
Step 3: Patterns
You might want to switch the color of your pen for this step, to help you as you look for patterns.
Go back to the beginning, and, looking through what you've written, circle all the the things that jump out as recurring patterns. Maybe you tend to get jobs through referrals from people you've worked with before. Maybe many places you go, you connect people, or maybe you build communities. Maybe you have created new processes in many of the places you've been. Maybe you've mentored many others.
Once you've gone through looking for patterns, look at them each and name the pattern. "Relationship building," "Community," "Designing processes," "mentoring/coaching," etc. Start looking specifically for things that point to strengths and values, or what is important to you. You may also see patterns of things out of alignment, like "too tactical, not strategic," "underpaid," "difficulty communicating with my boss." Those are also important to note.
Step 4: Opportunities
Now it's time to fill out the Opportunities page. Fill out these three columns based on what you've discovered through mapping your journey. As you fill these out, what ideas are emerging? Maybe you've found that you have a strength for developing relationships, and you value community. Could you put those two things together to create a new opportunity for yourself? Perhaps volunteering in an organization in a field you're interested in but don't have much experience, to get to know and learn from others working in that field. Maybe you have a lot of strength in developing brands and you also value autonomy... perhaps you could explore building your own brand? Maybe you have developed skills in mentoring, and you value helping others. Could you explore management roles, or try signing up to be a mentor in a mentor program, either for students or professionals, or let your network know you're open to mentoring others. You may see where you have opportunities to develop - maybe something has often been difficult but it is important, like communicating with your boss. How could you develop better communication skills? Possibly through online courses, or books.
This step is also where it can be really helpful to meet with a mentor, or a coach, to get another set of eyes on your journey, to look for more patterns and connect more dots, and maybe even brainstorm ideas with you. If you'd like a coaching partner in this part of your journey, set up a free discovery call with me to find out how coaching might help you.