The Job of Your Life with Karen Schaffer

Get out of your rut and find your passion

Posts Tagged ‘being with a question’

Two Career Exploration Questions To Get You Started

Posted by Karen on February 11, 2009

If you spend some time with a question – really spend time getting a handle on it…not only getting an answer, but also another layer down to the insight beneath that answer…it can bear a lot of useful fruit.

I ask a lot of different questions in Career Exploration  and the recent workshop I did at The Yoga Loft reminded me how powerful questions can be. The tricky part is that you can’t put pressure on the answer to take you somewhere directly or to solve the overall career question. You have to just hang out with the question and see what emerges. I call it “meditating” on the question rather than thinking about it. Thinking about it gets you the logical answers, the first round of the answering process. Meditating to me speaks of letting yourself go quiet – letting the question sink in deep, and letting your subconscious get working on it. I find the next layer of “answer” floats to the surface of your consciousness between an hour and three weeks later.

Sometimes what comes to you is mind-blowing and sometimes its useful for clarifying something for yourself. Either way, it keeps you in the conversation with yourself. I’ll tell you this though: it’s the little insights, coming one by one, that add up to the whopping big breakthrough you’re looking for.  You just don’t get to know when the big wave comes.

So keep on asking yourself questions and spend some time with each one to see if there’s real juice in them (sorry for all the mixed metaphors…I’m riding end of the day fumes where waves, juice and meditating all come together as one big happy explanation).

Okay…here are two questions to get you started:

1) What, right now, do you KNOW about your next step or next career?

2) What, right now, DON’T you know?

Try writing one thing for each. Then come back to the exercise and try adding a few more for each question.

One of the aims of this exercise is to see that you DO in fact know things about your next step, even if you don’t exactly KNOW what it is. You are in a process…you’re really in it…and some things are clear to you (even if it’s “I really don’t want to do THAT job ever again”) and some things aren’t. The questions act like guideposts to where to look next.

For instance, if you are having trouble writing your resume and you sat down with the question “What don’t I know”, and what you don’t know is what exactly you’re applying to…well, now you know you need to step away from the resume and do some other exploration first.

Treat the “don’t know”, as an observation, not a judgment of your progress. Your judgments about how far along you should be in the process by now get in the way of you hearing deeply what is needed next.

Let me know how it goes!

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