This is a question I love asking people. Many times, if we are sincere, it does not come down to how much money we make or how cool our job title sounds.
It’s different for everybody of course and I would love to hear what an extraordinary career means to you.
To start this off, let me tell you what it means to me.
The Freedom to Work with Who I Want
An extraordinary career to me means having the freedom to choose who I work with in terms of clients or business partners. I have worked in environments for many years where bosses, employees and clients have been forced upon me.
I love having control over who I work with. Because I can choose who I work with, I get to be at my best every time I work with a client or business partner. That equals exceptional results, happy clients and more referrals. It also means a lot more fun for me while doing my work.
The Freedom to Express Myself Fully
When I worked in the corporate world, expressing myself full always included the risk of getting fired. I hated not being able to say what I want and always having to watch who is behind my back.
That’s one aspect I totally love about my career now. I get so say what I want, when I want it. I decide what blog posts I publish, what job title I give myself, how I express myself on my website and if I want to agree or disagree on something.
Control Over my Own Schedule
All the endless meetings, all the useless reports, all the hours wasted to deal with corporate politics. Many times in my corporate career, I had to go to certain meetings because my boss wanted me to. I had to take part in workshops even if I felt it was unnecessary and I had to be in the office at a certain time.
Even though there was no rule that I had to be at the office by 8:30am, if I arrived at 9am, some people gazed at me and I could see they were thinking something like “I’m here since 8am sharp, reading my newspaper, drinking coffee and gossiping with other minions who follow the rules, where have you been?”
Now I get to decide what time I get up in the morning and when I finish work. I get to decide when I work on my blog posts and if I want to attend a meeting or not.
The interesting thing is, I start work more than an hour earlier compared to the time I was in my corporate career. Even better, I’m excited about getting up, I’m excited about Mondays.
Improving People’s Lives
Working in recruitment was fun for a while. I made great money and had lots of fun with the people I worked with and my clients.
However, one thing I thought was missing in that industry was a real added value. I know that there are some great companies out there, especially in executive search that do an incredible job. I’m friends with some of them.
However, at the businesses I worked at, it was always about the transactions. It was always about filling the boxes.
It was never about alignment between a person and the work they do. It was about matching the skills of an almost anonymous person on a sheet of paper with requirements that have been made up by people who understood very little about the actual work and the culture of the team or department.
What I do now is completely different. I work with real human beings. I work with people on assessing their personality and then creating a career around what makes them come alive.
By doing that, the quality of life of those people improves massively. Most come from a corporate background and want to break out of that, to live a life of more meaning and fulfillment. Most of them have realized that making a lot of money is great but not without purpose in what they do.
By aligning their work with who they are, it changes their lives for the better. Seeing that transformation is my biggest paycheck.
Spending Most of my Time on What I’m Great at
In my corporate job, I spent a lot of time sitting in meetings and filling in reports. This is not stuff I’m particularly good at.
I thrive when I’m out there, meeting with people. I thrive when I do business development. I thrive when I strategically build alliances and partnerships that mutually benefit all parties involved. I thrive when creating mutually beneficial relationships for people in my network.
Today, I get to decide what I work on. It’s not always easy. The finances, emails and all the other admin stuff needs to get done as well. However, I decide how much time I spend on that and if I want to outsource certain things.
Now I’d like to know what an extraordinary career looks like for you. Hit reply and tell me if you read this in an email or leave a comment below this blog post.
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