Inside: A printable career exploration worksheet for women who want to “have it all” but first need to figure out what their “all” is!
If there is one phrase mothers across America are SO done with it’s “Can I have another snack?”
If there are TWO phrases mothers across America are SO done with the other one would be “having it all.”
What Does “Having It All” Even Mean?
I’ve struggled with this concept of “having it all” since my son Jack was born.
How could I “have it all” as a mother and a professional? And were those the only two things I was supposed to worry about? What about my marriage, friendships, health, and outside interests? If I managed to make many of the things work but not all of the things, would that be enough?
Yet this challenge often overshadows the underlying issue.
What if we are so busy with trying to have it all, or thinking that we should have it all, or trying to do it all, that we don’t take a pause to figure out if the “all” we are striving towards is what we really want?
The Age 30 Transition
Recently I was in a training at work that discussed life stages and various aspects of adult development. Throughout the training I laughed, I learned, I sobbed uncontrollably – pretty average day at work. Things get very real in career coaching.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway though was reflecting on Daniel Levinson’s research on stages of adulthood – specifically the Age 30 Transition (ages 28-40).
Leading up to these life stages, young adults have spent a considerable amount of time exploring career paths, pursuing relationships, and making moves to build out a vision for their lives. They are discovering and goal setting and achieving like woah.
Then for many there comes a turning point.
Navigating the Turning Point
Perhaps the turning point is marriage, having kids, or a promotion that sets you on a clear career trajectory. Things start moving. Fast! Ferris Bueller style fast. You have responsibilities with a capital R. As a result, reflection and deep evaluation of your goals take a back seat. And they sit quietly back there. They don’t need juice or toys or anything! So considerate.
Let’s focus in on parents of young kids in particular for a moment. During this stage you’re spreading yourself too thin, making everyone else in your life the top priority, vomiting in your mouth every time the daycare bill comes in, cleaning up other people’s vomit, and eating a lot of frozen pizza and microwaved vegetables.
Hard to keep your head above water let alone deeply reflect eh?
You’re doing it all. How can you be expected to evaluate your all and define your goals? Haven’t you already achieved some pretty big goals already? What more do you want from me, self!?
Defining It All Through Career & Life Criteria
I know it’s overwhelming, because (raises hand to the sky) I’ve been there.
But, I’ve also been quite fortunate because my “all” includes being surrounded by experienced career coaches who have helped me learn to develop my list of career and life criteria. And to coach others to do the same.
What career and life criteria boil down to is figuring out the really important stuff that gives you energy and happiness and meets your emotional, intellectual, and financial needs. Your criteria can change over time but they are also rooted in your values so they are real and powerful and doggone crucial to how you define success. They are how you define “having it all.”
When creating your career and life criteria, you’ll make a list of 7 to 10 sentences. There is no way there are only 3 things that matter to you in your career, and when you start getting to 15 your list is going to get unruly and less manageable. Instead, force yourself to stick to 7 to 10 and hit the super important stuff.
Examples of criteria include living in a certain geographic location to be close to family, flexible hours so you can get your kids off the school bus, doing work that is mission-driven, or being in a job that lets you set the strategic direction.
Start Getting Unstuck With This Career Exploration Worksheet
Did this talk about “having it all” strike a chord?
Are you thinking about what your “all” really is? And how in the heck you’re going to get there? And if it’s okay for your “all” to be totally different from anyone else’s AND to change over time?
If so I’d love to send you my favorite career exploration worksheet. This version of the 100 Job Exercise, adapted from Dr. Tim Butler’s book Getting Unstuck (which is an amazing read by the way) gets you thinking about your deep-seated interests and how they can translate into a rewarding life and career. When you aren’t sure where to even start with career and life criteria, this is the perfect exercise.
Plus, 100 Jobs is like a Buzzfeed quiz but more useful!
Big thanks to Harvard Business Publishing for permission to share this with you!
Thanks as always for reading and come back soon to share what you’ve learned. Or shoot me a note to set up a free fifteen-minute consultation call. I’d love to talk about career development with you and help you get where you want to go!