This weekend the Washington Post had an advertising supplement article within the jobs section, written by Arden Davidson, addressing the disillusionment that can occur once you’ve gotten into a job and you’re not sure you made the right choice. The statement that caught my eye the most: Dream jobs are made, not born. That got me thinking….

What is a dream job (and how do you maximize your success in it)?

A dream job is one that allows you to work within your strengths, celebrates your success, and allows you to see where your talent is valued, works well for the organizations success, and can grow. To make your dream job a reality there are a few critical things that need to happen.

Use a tool to assess your strengths and weaknesses

You need to know what you are good at, what you are not good at, and be an advocate for being OK with both. This is a core philosophy of Don Clifton’s Strength Finder assessments that is taking many successful companies by storm as it allows everyone to be valued for their individual gifts instead of forcing conformity of department talent. Taking this assessment helps individuals sit up and take notice of their own talents. This is a great start to understanding how to craft your dream job.

Evaluate your strengths with positive feedback loops

The second is to identify what you are doing right in all that you do. Taking the time to create feedback loops that allow conversations to be based on what you are doing right (and don’t need to change) and opens innovative ideas and opportunities for your talent to become more integrated in many ways. It also allows a person to understand what not to mess with when improvements are suggested in other areas of work habits, relationship tendencies, or blind spots that come up.

Keep feedback context in mind

Too often, when someone gains feedback on something that needs improving, they immediately think it applies to all that they do. Stop! That is not the way feedback is designed to work and is why the response to gaining feedback is so repulsed by many…

For feedback to work, it must:

1. Be specific in context

2. Have ONE point to concentrate on

3. Have a relevant example of what is being asked.

Get encouraging, positive feedback by asking specific questions

To gain information on what you are doing right, ask! Be specific with the context surrounding the topic of your request. Then ask for an example of how the other person recognizes it, identifies it, or knows that it is in use.

Example: Jane knew that she had been hired for her finance acumen. She knew how to look at information and find key pieces of information, connect the dots, and understand what to ask to drive a more accurate strategy to help her company avoid pitfalls. Recently, she had been feeling as her talent was not being valued by a key supervisor, so she took the time to ask. She presented the context (company financials) to her supervisor, asked for the one thing she was doing right – so right that it shouldn’t be changed, and how that showed up for others. She learned that her talent was so valued that people just assumed she knew it was what she did best. By providing an example of how it was received and embraced by this supervisor, she was able to see through his eyes and understand more about how he showed appreciation for her work to others. Learning that allowed her to then reach out to others in other areas of her job responsibilities and asked those that her work directly affected. She presented specific context, she asked for the 1 thing they felt she did really well, and then asked for an example of how they recognized her work when it was done well.

Over the course of six months, she found that crafting her dream job was happening all along by working within what she does extremely well and enjoys, while understanding that improvements only center around what truly needs to change. Improvements will always be a part of a growing job, career, and what your talents advance into. Understanding how to handle the exact areas of improvement will allow you dream job to evolve faster.
By finding the one thing you don’t have to change in the different areas of your job you will collect examples of what is going right. Knowing what is going right allows you to understand what your dream job really may look like, feel like, and where it fits within your industry or your own goals.

Start these feedback loops today! Stop concentrating on what you don’t do well. Focus on what you do well, and it will start affecting how you approach everything!

Reach out to Carole to share any questions or examples of using this information. Sharing people’s experiences as they grow helps everyone succeed! Let’s succeed together!

Download our eBook: One Bite Feedback eBook

If you could grab the feedback you needed, when you needed it, to be better, get better, and grow in your career… Would you ask for it? Would you be open to receiving it?

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