Ep. 269 The first step to designing a fulfilling career


In this week’s episode, Anna looks at the importance of self-awareness when designing a fulfilling career.

As we go about wanting to design a fulfilling career, there are all sorts of actions we might take.

In this week’s episode, we look at…

  •  The very first step that you should spend your time on before doing anything else
  • Why self-awareness is so important and how it will help you design a fulfilling career
  • Some of the questions you can ask yourself to improve your own self-awareness in this regard

Tune in for practical tips to help you lay this important foundation to design a fulfilling career!

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

1:1 Coaching & Mentoring – If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. onestepoutside.com/coaching

Design a fulfilling career

How do you design a fulfilling career? If you are at a bit of a pivotal moment in your career, at least reflecting on where you’ve come from where you might go next year and beyond, then this episode is for you. I’m proposing five questions for you to ask yourself in order to lay the groundwork of designing this next stage next phase of your career. And I’ll give you a hint, it starts with understanding who you are, and what you want. Enjoy the episode. You’re listening to the reimagining success podcast where we help you design a business and a life that allows you freedom from the nine to five. I’m your host, Anna Lundberg X corporate Good girl, now a business mentor and coach, author mom of two. And I’m here to help you create more freedom, flexibility and fulfillment. Now let’s get started with redefining success outside of the nine to five. Right? Well, we are into the holidays here in the UK, our kids are home from school from nursery. And hopefully as you listen to this, I am somewhere where depending on what time of day, you’re listening to it, but I’m somewhere having a mulled wine, a gingerbread biscuit and a cinnamon bun, or the equivalent festive, joyful feedback, as we say in Sweden, so something wonderful, I’m sure.

And we hopefully have some really nice things planned this week. And I hope you do too. But since you’re listening, I do have a few more nuggets for you still this year. And today I want to talk to you about how you can design a fulfilling career.

And it’s a big question, a big topic, which of course has many answers. But I want to focus on really the first step, the first stage of doing this. And I think it’s important to reflect on these questions, you know, periodically in our lives. And I talked in recent episodes about the accidental career path about getting complacent. And I think intentionality and perhaps that’s why you’re here now having the intentionality of wanting to achieve create, experience something different, that’s really important. And that’s where it all starts with me the first step to being able to design a fulfilling career, whether you’re 18 or 80. Really, although hope you’re not working super hard if you’re in your 80s Because you should be enjoying yourself by the end, if not before, then the first step is self awareness. So what do I mean by that? And um, to be honest, not super clear on the difference between self awareness and self knowledge, I think both are very important. If we’re going to get into the semantics we can. And but I want to suggest propose a few different areas to reflect on, in order to be able to design that really meaningful career that’s going to be fulfilling to you. And that’s the key, key distinction, right? So the first question is, what are your strengths? And you can grab a pen and paper and write these down, or you can just let the words wash over you and reflect on them. And but a really key question is, what are your strengths. And I think, you know, there’s a book called, so good, they can’t ignore you, I think, and I’ve never, I never liked it when I read it, because it was basically talking about actually having almost an accidental career path, just making sure you got really, really good at what you happen to get into. And then going from there. And while I admire kind of the diligence, the discipline of doing so. And it could be useful in a world where people are perhaps a bit naive around what they can, you know, receive as benefits before they’ve even kind of put in the hard work, and so on all these complaints about the young generations these days. And but I don’t think it’s enough to only be good at what you do. However, it is a good place to start. So what are your strengths? I think the most rewarding fulfilling careers are built around your strengths. And note that I say strengths, not skills, because skills, I think the distinction there is that you can learn skills, right? So that’s, that’s a second piece, but your personality strengths, and the things that come easily to you, that feel like you’re in flow that people come to you for help with that have always been kind of your thing, or perhaps that you’ve developed over the years.

What are your strengths, and those strengths do not come in the form of a job title or you know, job description, but something a bit more subtle. It’s your softer skills, probably you might call it and but really understanding what are you great at? What are you amazing at and what’s your zone of genius.

And that’s an interesting distinction as well, if you haven’t heard that, one, your zone of excellence versus your zone of genius, because a lot of us kind of end up in the excellence. And I think you know, that sounds pretty excellent, right? Where we want to be isn’t a zone of genius. And that can sound a bit like hahaha, my genius, and but that’s a much more magical place. And then simply being good at something right. It’s really also where you’re, you’re enjoying it and it’s linked towards your purpose, I think and there’s a lot of things that go on in, in getting you to that zone of genius, but that’s the first question what are your strengths because you want to build build a business around or career, not just the business and build a role around your strengths. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle, right. And I think all the studies now say that you’ll get far more reward far more results out of focusing on making your strength stronger than trying to get your weaknesses up to sort of a decent average place.

Now, there are some things you might have to deal with, even if you’re not great at them. But generally, if you can prioritize your strengths, that’s a really good place to be. Now, the sort of shadow side of that is to understand what your limitations are. And from you know, every strength has a limitation, if I’m super strategic and visionary, that I might miss the little details or vice versa, and so on, right? And then yes, more concretely, you can also reflect on what might be your skills gaps, but really looking at your strengths, and then sort of the limitations, the shadow side of those strengths. The second one is what are your values. And this is something I talk about a lot, I hope on the podcast, because it’s it was really life changing for me when I worked on clarifying what my values were with a coach. And it’s something I always do with clients quite early on. It’s in the book, it’s in the programs. And it’s so, so valuable. And it’s really understanding what do you actually value and maybe it’s, you know, three, four or five values more than that, it becomes just a laundry list of everything. But really the things that guide you, you know, it could be family and integrity, and balance, beauty. Or it could be hard work, achievement, power, whatever those things are, you know, and it’s hard not to say them without sounding judgy.

But the point is, they’re your values. And that’s what’s really important to understand what you want to prioritize, you know, that will guide you so much more effectively, than just sitting down and going, this is the job I’d like to have. And this is the position and this is the business I’m going to create, but really understanding what is it you truly value in life? What is most important to you? What would you really fight for? You know, what would what has distinguished, your proudest most fulfilling, happiest moments over the year. And you might also again, look at the shadow side of that, when were those values not fulfilled? And when were you forced to, or forced to as a strong words, but you you, you were in a situation where you had to endure maybe an employer or environment where those values were not really reflected. And that can be really toxic. And that can be really limiting for you, it might be really supportive for somebody else. And that, in fact, is the third question, which is what is the environment in which you thrive? So you know, it was asked the questions, and it’s quite against simple, practical, mundane questions, do you want to be indoors or outdoors, sitting or standing, in fact, I’m sitting now at my standing desk, which I shouldn’t be doing when I’m recording the podcast, but it’s been left down because I wasn’t very well the last few days. But I can sit at my computer and beaver away or I can be out and about talking to people. And you know, what is it that do you want, you know, if it’s we’re talking to companies is a little dynamic startup where everyone’s wearing lots of different hats, and there’s no processes, and it’s already exciting.

And everyone’s kind of getting their hands dirty? Or do you like a bit more order? And you know, there are processes and systems and things are flowing? And then you kind of slot into that really effectively. And you can work on sort of higher level challenges and say, What am I really understanding? What’s the environment in which to thrive? Do you want to kind of less a fair boss who lets you get on with things? Um, do you really like the handholding? Obviously different points in your career, you’ll want different things. But different people also thrive with a different type of support and mentoring and coaching and, and teams and colleagues and so on physical environment, social environment, all these things. So what’s the environment in which you thrive? And then this is a bit more, I don’t want to say we will do because really, it’s quite important. It’s a little bit different, perhaps, to what people would ask, but the question is, what are the different facets to who you are?

And so you know, I really believe that within us, we have different sounds a bit schizophrenic, but there are different sides to our personality. And, you know, the classic is that when we in my case, I become a mother and that perhaps takes precedent over a lot of other things. But there is a really nurturing mother, but there is still a very independent, you know, strong, ambitious businesswoman in that right. There is not that far in. She’s pretty much at the surface there and somewhat tempered. And there is like a brave, courageous, adventurous hippie, somewhere there as well. There is, you know, there are all these different, you know, again, not hundreds of them, I think that becomes a bit scattered, but there are a number of different sides to us, that I think needs to come to the fore. Now, they may not all come to the fore in one career one role. If you design a business, I would argue that you could make that happen. And, but in your life in a more balanced sense, I think you want to allow those different elements of you to come to the fore. And you know, it’s an overused word, but you want to be authentic and being able to be authentic. As you show up in the office at home, you know, when when I’m talking to you, I hope you can tell that it’s very conversational, I’m very much stream of consciousness, I received a few bullets of what I want to cover.

And but if you work with me, you know, I’m pretty much the same as I would be, you know, of course, very professional, and structured and supportive. And but I am me, whether I’m on a video or podcast, or talking to a friend, or whatever. So the different facets of who you are.

And then finally, which is, of course, the whole point of this podcast. And the question I always ask, what does meaningful success look like to you. Because if you don’t know that, then of course, you can’t fulfill that meaning fulfilling, I think, by definition requires fulfilling some kind of goal or purpose. And that means you need to know what your goal or purpose is. And so you know, what success looks like, to me will be very different, or at least quite different to what it looks like to you for so many reasons. But having that vision, having that kind of whether it is literally a vision board that you create a few sentences, if you’re more of a written kind of verbal person, or just an idea of feeling, really understanding what would be meaningful success to you. So those are the reflections on on designing a fulfilling career and specifically having self awareness. I think, you know, rather than throw ourselves into courses, and even asking other people for advice, and how tos, and this, that and the other, really spending the time to hold that mirror up, as it were and have that, that self awareness, develop that self awareness, that’s always a valuable thing to do. So the questions I asked again, are, what are your strengths?

And perhaps also, what are your weaknesses, your limitations? What are your values to guide you? What’s the environment in which you thrive? What are the different facets of your personality, the fast the different sides of who you are the authentic, wholehearted whole person? And then what does meaningful success look like to you all pretty big questions, but I hope they are some good Thor’s sauce as to you as you enter into this holiday period. And, and reflect on those questions perhaps, and it’s not to sit at your desk, while the family is arguing next door? Well, if you can do that, if you’d like to pretend you’re doing something very important, because it is very important. But also just allow these questions to kind of, you know, meditate on them, if you will, can be kind of subconscious, if you’re out for a walk, or having a bath, or, you know, journaling in the evening before bed or having a drink or whatever it is, but just, you know, taking the time to have the self awareness. You know, working with a coach, of course, can be a fantastic way to hold that mirror and sounding board up. And but even talking to a friend or, you know, you can ask your colleagues in a more formal kind of 360 feedback process, that kind of thing.

There are, of course, questionnaires and quizzes you can do but really just reflecting on these questions can can bring you so many incredible insights.

So that for me is the first step to designing a fulfilling career is really having that self awareness, self knowledge of who you are, and what you want. I wish you a wonderful Christmas. If you celebrate Christmas, I have to caveat that of course, lovely end of December and of 2023 In any case, and I’ll see you back here very soon. Bye for now. I’m at that point where you’re asking yourself, Is this really what I want to be doing the rest of my life? And the answer is a resounding no. But you’re not yet sure what you want to do and says, I get it I was in your shoes back in 2013. When I take a good hard look at myself and my CV, and up until then I’d followed the conventional path. Good school good university Good job. I was also thankful while more and more friends around me were settling down with partners and babies. Now fast forward to today and I built a coaching and consulting business. I published two books and more on the way I’ve launched a podcast. But more than that, I’ve been able to travel the world. I’ve made more time for friends and family. And I’ve designed and shaped a location, business and a lifestyle that’s 100% tailored to my own personal definition of success. And I’ve also moved countries I’ve fallen in love and I’ve had two beautiful little children. So if you want to redefine what success looks like for you, then get in touch to book a call one step outside.com forward slash call one step aside.com forward slash call and I would like to help you do just that.


Let us help you design a business and a life that gives you freedom from the 9 to 5. There are several options for how you can work with us. Choose the programme that’s right for you.

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1:1 Coaching & Mentoring

If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring. onestepoutside.com/coaching

1:1 Coaching & Mentoring

If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring.


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