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Career fulfillment (or, as I like to call it, career nourishment) can often seem like an elusive beast. Figuring out what it is and how to find it is a difficult process for many. Related: 3 Steps To Create Your Own Career Development Plan The first thing I tell my coaching clients is career fulfillment isn’t something you FIND, it’s something you CREATE. And the process, while different for everyone, involves five essential steps:


1. Know Your Needs

The vast majority of the people I coach know quite clearly what they don’t want from their work. More often than not, it’s everything they’re currently experiencing. But that’s not enough. Knowing what you don’t want doesn’t give you a big enough picture. You have to know what you do want and, more importantly, what you need. Your career goal isn’t to simply sidestep misery. You want to achieve (at least some level of) fulfillment. In order to do that, you must have a clear understanding of your unique personal and professional needs. However, it takes a lot of self-reflection.

2. Listen To Your Gut

Intuition is something many of us take for granted. We push it aside and bury it because we’ve been trained to use logic instead. Your gut isn’t always illogical, though. In fact, it’s often telling you the most basic, fundamental truth your logical brain is trying to avoid. When it comes to career fulfillment, listen to your instincts. What makes you happy doesn’t always sound logical at first. But, if you listen to your heart and set out on the right path for your soul, your brain will find a way to keep you safe on the journey and get you to your destination. This might sound a little hokey to some of you. That’s fine. Just go with it. Try listening to that quiet voice inside you, the one you’ve been ignoring, and see where it takes you. Then, let me know what happens.

3. Make Changes Thoughtfully

Many people looking for career fulfillment end up job hopping. They bounce from one thing to the next in search of the perfect match. Unfortunately, they often end up in a vicious, anxious cycle. The moment they feel restless, it’s on to the next thing. Instead of taking the time to carefully analyze what is and isn't working and why, they simply paper the city with resumes and take the first offer of a decent paycheck. Before you know it, they’re right back where they started, looking for the next job to hop to. Don’t fall into this trap. When you’re ready for a career change (whether big or small), take your time. Think about it carefully and make decisions based on well thought-out strategies. This isn’t a race. You don’t have to jump NOW. Take your time, analyze your situation, and make slow, methodical progress towards your goals.

4. Learn From Others

Many of us are afraid to ask for help and this is such a horrible waste of wisdom! You are surrounded by so much experience and knowledge. All you have to do is tap into it. Your family, friends and colleagues have all been where you are. The things you are going through, no matter how unique they feel, are actually quite common. The people in your support network are dying to share their stories with you. Listen closely. Learn from their mistakes and triumphs. And, should you find a more objective point-of-view is what you need, consider working with a professional career coach. We’re trained to remain (relatively) neutral, present ideas with deep democracy, and help you clarify and act on what you already know—the feelings and ideas you’ve been burying.

5. Work At It

Finding career fulfillment isn’t a quick or easy journey. It takes time and effort. Engage yourself mentally, physically and, yes, even spiritually. Put yourself into the process. Be active. Don’t expect things will change without significant work on your part. What? Are you afraid of work? Snap out of it. You have everything you need. It’s up to you to make it happen. Don’t give up when it gets hard. Don’t pretend it’s not worth the hassle. You are—most definitely—worth it. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Learn how to land a career you love


Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.


All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.

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