Huffington Post

Feel Like an Outcast at Work? Smell the Roses Instead.

While effective leadership can inspire people to greatness, hiring people who are capable and committed to delivering excellence can often require a twist of fate. As a business owner, celebrating two prior decades in the trenches as a hiring manager for a preeminent financial giant, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to find top talent.

But, there’s a flip side.

Defining excellence is a provocative concept — a conundrum. Talented people do exist; however, some observe performance at-large to be mediocre. That claim may have merit, however, another factor to be considered in the achievement conversation is the bewildering fact that the “right” people often find themselves in the “wrong” jobs.

When nothing comes naturally, you can’t be you, and you’re getting bad performance reviews — there’s a good chance you’re in the wrong job. If hiring managers are adept, they’re matching job functions with the “right” skill set. The responsibility also rests on you the employee, however, to be honest with yourself before signing on.

Top performance results from many variables: transformational leadership, healthy cultures, and a fire in the belly. However, the all too common personal dread prevalent in the everyday workplace is more often the result of the disconnect between what’s central to a person and what it takes to master their job.

Why do we align ourselves to a job that doesn’t match our skill set? Perhaps we’re making the “obligatory” attempt to please others, or perhaps financially we feel pressured to sell out. Over time, once we’re effectively sucked into the corporate vortex or shackled in cubical nation, the decision to stay in a miserable job might be fueled by the continual self-doubt and worry that we’ll never find the “right” job because maybe, just maybe, we don’t really deserve it.

Those invisible scripts replay over and over in our heads reminding us that the whole system is set up to frustrate and defeat us. It can be unrelenting and paralyzing. We feel vulnerable. And what will everyone think if we fail? So we stay put, collect our paycheck and benefits — as our parents often preach — and we sit and brood some more. We might be making good money, supporting a family and trying to maintain a lifestyle, or further, maybe we’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, even though of course, we can’t stand the Joneses.

I’ve experienced these dilemmas myself, and I’ve witnessed countless others doing the same.

Albeit competitive, the job market offers attractive opportunities for top performers who target well-suited jobs. Success is best served when job requirements are aligned to a person’s strengths and virtues, paving the way to negotiate satisfying salaries and effectively grow rewarding careers.

To get what you want you need thoughtful preparation, a deliberate system, and the ability to innovate and collaborate. You must be your own visionary, your own guru. Finding your “right” career takes intense focus and commitment. What’s tragic, however, is that few people actually take the time to understand and honor their unique genius — ahead of diving into the job hunt.

Investigating your intrinsic strengths and values is a worthwhile and indulging process. Your target vocation can be found at the intersection of your natural born skills and strengths — the ones you love to use — and crosses at the junction of what others value; that’s the sweet spot. From there you have the most favorable opportunity to flourish — to be self-expressed, create a bright and exciting future, and attract and realize the compensation you desire and deserve.

The system of mastering a successful job hunt is designed with lifeblood components of defining what makes you amazing, creating and maintaining valuable relationships, and developing and articulating your personal brand and value in a cohesive and compelling way. Mastery of these vital activities is not learned in a high school or college classroom, or in an MBA program. It starts with a healthy, strategic mindset, a deep understanding of your most prized skills and strengths, and a deliberate commitment to be a top performer who deeply desires a fully expressed life. You need that red-hot burning desire, a true understanding of your strengths in action, and a strategic plan.

I’ve spent the past 25 years hiring, promoting, and mentoring many outstanding professionals. As a business leader, my most gratifying accomplishment has been to inspire confidence in the ambitious of heart, energize and prepare them to be poised to reach their greatest potential, and to champion them in their quest to land their “right” job. It’s available to those who own the mission, manifest the true desire to go after it, and to those who refuse to sell out.

Published on Huffington Post: March 17, 2017

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