Hello Darlings, One of the most common questions I receive through social media is how did I establish my career, and especially how to have a career on your terms. Over the past few weeks before writing, I’ve given much thought to it and struggled with the idea. Perhaps the reason it took me as long to write it is because I’m not always sure if my career is on my terms.
Much of my adult life was focused on career accomplishments. At large I always felt that I had a career on my terms, that is until I was faced with choosing to compromise my values for it – being authentic and staying in integrity with the person I am. Some moments I felt as if I did compromise that part of me to advance within my job.
Over the last year, I’ve been in dilemma of where my values stand within my work choices. That is when I realized that the concept of having a career on your terms is not sustainable long term. In our time so much of our life is spend trying to accomplish goals, that we forget that work is not meant to define our lives or give them purpose. Yet as I did, majority of us cling to that ideal. Looking back on previous generations, a job was a means to an end.
Without a doubt our career should fulfill us, but by no means should it define us. The moment you step back from your expectations, you will not be as attached to a particular outcome. We all have a plan for our lives, as we should. However strict expectation could cripple our own development and growth. We all want to be perceived a certain way and therefore chase a particular lifestyle. It is our own personal expectations and social pressures that often times dictate our paths in life.
I am sure that this is not what most of your expected out of this article. Perhaps hoping for a ‘5 Step Strategy’ but if only it was that simple. A career on your so called terms is what you make of it. Every day I struggle in making choices when it comes to my work, a lot of times choices that put me in compromise with integrity. So if having a career on your terms means conducting work that represents your principles and puts you in integrity with yourself than you’re already well ahead of the game. We will always have to make choices that either allow us to continue growing as an individual or fall into social expectations. The second one is easier.
To me integrity is everything; both in life and business. Whatever defines you as an individual should be your pivot for career choices, and seeing how much of what you do aligns with your values. While our work should not define our lives or the quality of them, we most definitely need to be proud of what we do.
Therefore, if I were to narrow down what having a career on my terms is in 5 Steps this would be it.
Step 1 – Integrity
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
Everything you do in your life should be done with it. As I’ve gotten older I realized that not a single choice I make in my life should make me compromise on it. This is especially important to me at work.
Step 2 – Authenticity
a quality of being authentic. Authentic – of undisputed origin; genuine.
Being honest with yourself and others as to the person that you are. This is something I strive to be and is a daily work in progress.
Step 3 – Discipline
the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour.
Not applying it to people but to myself. I do practice staying within my own rules. Having the work ethic and dedication to accomplishing your personal goals. Not everything in life will be a happy ride and at times discipline is what gets you from point A to B. Taking pride in your work and dedicating yourself to doing it well does take self discipline.
Step 4 – Patience
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
There is a reason patience is a virtue. It does not come easy but you need to trust the timing of your life. You are never ahead or behind others. Giving significance to others success will only discourage you from focusing on your own. Celebrate others without comparison and be patient with yourself.
Step 5 – Prioritize
determine the order for dealing with (a series of items or tasks) according to their relative importance.
One of the more challenging lessons I’ve learned thus far is the importance of priorities and how a lack of them impact my life. Priorities determine the decisions I make and how I spend every minute of my day. Out of 168 hours in the week, every hour is dedicated to a priority whether you realize it or not. Time is choice and we give time to what’s important. This is also why we need to respect other’s priorities by not being self-serving with their time.
In the same way life should be lived with intention, as should the career be experienced too. Trust yourself to make the decisions in due time that will reflect your personal purpose. Do not aspire to live your life on other’s timeline and do not have a career on others terms either. It is within you to decide, and it is also within you to change the current circumstances. The defining factor is evaluating your life and understanding what gives you purpose. A career is a part of that purpose but it should not be the defining aspect. Your job title nor your paycheque determine your worth as an individual, therefore why would your career path define your life?
Photos by Samantha Quinn