#129 – 3 Steps to Greater Clarity in Your Career
AKA How I built the career of my dreams
This is Adventures in Storytelling the (temporarily) bi-weekly note with resources, insights, and actionable tools for better communication through storytelling. Enjoy.
Clarity is my career superpower. No, seriously. I’ve always known what I want or need to do next in life. No, I’m not superhuman or even particularly special.
The reason I have clarity about my life and career path is because I ask. Myself. I interrogate and I prioritize understanding my needs and wants and then move forward with the self-knowledge I uncover. And that quality has always served me well. I decided at 15 that I would be a journalist when I grew up. Because that was the best way to make a living as a writer according to my grade 10 writer’s craft teacher and I wanted to be a writer. That I knew for sure. So, I set my sights on a masters in journalism from Columbia University and forged ahead in life based on that plan.
I want the clarity and certainty of 15-year-old Chantaie for you and every person I work with. And it is born of doing the work to understand what I want and need in life, getting intentional about what action I need to take to get there, and then actually taking that action.
Let me say that again in list form:
1. Do the work to understand what you want and need in life (or career)
2. Get intentional about the action you need to take to get to where you want to go
3. Take that action
But clarity isn’t my superpower just because I always know exactly and perfectly what I want and need. No, it’s my superpower because I’m willing to act based on what I know in the moment. That’s the superpower. I get as clear as I can based on what I know about myself and the world around me, I act, and then I learn from it.
And then I do that again. Guided primarily by being tuned into the things that light me up and are my unique talents. For me that’s writing and communication. I want to write and tell stories and that goal has guided me throughout my life. But I haven’t published a work of fiction, though it remains a goal of mine. Instead I have written in other ways, for newspapers, magazines, built brands, built businesses, and lived a life where I centred writing and used it as my north star.
At each crossroads or at moments when I recognize that what I’m doing is no longer the right thing for me, I get curious and ask myself, “what do I want?” and also, “what don’t I want anymore?”
And that doesn’t mean that clarity always took me to the exact right place on the most direct path. No there were twists and turns and hills and valleys and I’m sure there will be more in the future. But I get as clear as I can on what I want in any moment and have crafted a life and career I love by checking in with myself and making shifts and pivots as needed.
I did eventually become a journalist, but I didn’t go to Columbia to do it. Not getting in was a humbling and essential life lesson for me. Get clear, make a plan, take action, and be okay with failure or needing to pivot to continue forward on the path you’ve chosen for yourself.
I’ve been helping folks a lot lately as it relates to their career thanks to Re-Work and my own desire to try to share storytelling through the lens of career with more folks. If you’re at all in a place of needing or seeking clarity in your career, I’d actually encourage you to join the Re-Work community it’s all about redefining your relationship with work and crafting a career that is aligned with your values and needs—part of what we share are the tools I use to gain clarity.
You can also reach out to me directly if you need help because as I begin to explore and craft new offerings around career storytelling, I’d be happy to figure out ways we can work (and get clear) together. Just hit reply to this note.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments: what do you do to get clear? What role has clarity played in your own life and career? Share your thoughts below.
A Story Well Told
The Last of Us. Specifically, episode three is a masterclass in storytelling. In world building and character development that moves the viewer and shifts perspectives. I could honestly do an entire note just on Pedro Pascal (Instagram knows since he is my entire explore page, but that’s a story for another time), but this show is just perfection. I am a zombie story fan as you may know—I think the best dramas play out in worlds where zombies run loose (though, oddly, not a Walking Dead fan)—but this adaptation from a video game to tv show brings a new lens to the genre. Though widely popular with critics and audiences, not everyone is a fan for very nuanced reasons. I personally love it for the storytelling and think you may too. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or respond to the email (they all go right to my inbox).
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