Global uncertainty calls for inward focus says The Economic Times in its most recent blog.
I opine that inward focus should not come in times of uncertainty alone.
It is imperative you focus inward all the time–every single time be it uncertainty or certainty. In fact, career advancement is a direct function of having an inward focus.
A coaching client of mine had lost his job. For 3 long years, he kept looking for one but in vain. He had lost all hopes. He was ready to take up any job, even if it came at the cost of a pay cut. On approaching me; I asked him to stop looking for a job, peep inside himself, find out what he is good at, what problems he can solve with what he is good at and within the next 3 months he not only had a job but also got paid far beyond his expectations. Such is the power of inward focus.
So today, I challenge you to focus inward by following these simple 4 steps. Download the workbook here to follow along.
Step # 1–Make a list of your skills
Think. Spend some quiet time. Now grab a paper and pen (or print this workbook). Make a list of all the skills you have–big or small, significant, or not significant. Don’t think. Just make a list. A lengthy list. Include everything that you enjoy doing. Let it be as silly as sleeping or watching movies or whatever it may be.
You need to have a minimum of 20 things on this list. And it takes effort to make this list. It won’t be all that easy. But I bet it will be worth it.
Now shortlist about 5 of them, which you think are your most strong ones.
Step # 2–Make a list of the problems you see around
Now think of what you go through in the office every day. You need to make a list of the problems you see around. Real-life problems. Go step by step. Begin with the ones you face every day. List them down.
Now broaden your view to look at the problems faced by your peers / the people around you.
Now it’s time to answer the real questions –
- What are the problems your boss is struggling with?
- What are the problems your clients are struggling with?
Make a list!
If you have gotten so far, great. Pat yourself on the back!
Didn’t these problems always exist? Why did you notice them only now?
Step # 3–Explore how you can use your skills to solve the problems
We will now combine the skills you have to understand how you use it to solve the problems. To make this interesting, you can cut out and make chits of the skills you have shortlisted. Keep them on one side.
Then make chits of the most pressing problems you see around (the list you made in step 2). Keep these on the other side.
Now pick up a chit randomly from each of the 2 lots. Think hard and find out how you can use that skill to solve that particular problem (both are from the chits you picked up). Jot it down.
Repeat this process for all the chits.
I have been doing this activity in my workshops and it has amazed me to see the number of ideas that get generated using this very technique. Are you equally amazed yet?
Step # 4–Assess which skills and problems you must focus on
If you are having fun so far, I bet the best is yet to come. In this last step not only will you have a lot more fun but also you are up for some major discovery. Play along!
In the final step, classify the ideas you generated in step 3 into four quadrants formed by mapping price vs. the number of customers. (see page 4 of the workbook). E.g. If the solution you have proposed is a low-priced solution but there are many takers for that solution classify it into the mass market. Use your best knowledge and a bit of common sense for this part of the exercise and see the magic unfold.
Once done, think of what aligns with the one big thing you discovered yesterday. And that will tell you exactly what you should focus on. Act accordingly.
Wrapping it up–
Focusing inward is the way to go. Like I always say–the answers to all your problems are within you.
If you need more help in focusing inward and finding out how you can use your inner strength to skyrocket in your career write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a no-cost strategy session at www.designyourcareer.co/strategysession