From Discovery to Decision

Feb 9 22:00 2004 Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. Print This Article

"I just realized I have a talent for seeing patterns in random events and data. I can see how ... fits together while everyone around me remains ... -- ... job drives me crazy. I

"I just realized I have a talent for seeing patterns in random events and data. I can see how everything fits together while everyone around me remains confused." -- Hermione

"My job drives me crazy. I spend hours preparing a presentation and,Guest Posting when the time comes, the client wants to talk about something entirely different." -- Marvin

Hermione might enjoy many types of research or analysis -- anything from military intelligence to finance. She might be a planner -- anything from meetings to advertising strategy.

Marvin might prefer a structured environment, where he's rewarded for carrying out approved plans rather than showing initiative and spontaneity.

When clients say, "I've discovered a talent for..." or, "I have a strong need for..." I suggest they continue exploring options and opportunities. Talents and needs become part of the checklist you construct to assess potential opportunities. They rarely allow you to make a firm decision. And often they act as red flags -- signaling what not to do, rather than offering direct guidance.

Hermione and Marvin need to see their new discoveries in the context of the rest of their lives.

Does Hermione find herself drawn to chaotic environments where she can introduce order? Does she have a high tolerance for ambiguity?

Does Marvin seek certainty when he moves to a new location or hires a career coach? Can he identify circumstances where he enjoys responding spontaneously?

Some clients discover they cannot work around a particular need, such as a desire for structure or a craving for autonomy. Others can learn to operate in a new style. Marvin, for instance, may learn to trust his intuition and give up some need for structure.

Some clients learn that a certain talent must be the focus of their working lives. Others realize that expressing the same talent is a "nice to have." Hermione might find a dream job that doesn't seem to make use of her talent for seeing patterns in unrelated data. Or she may find ways to use this talent that aren't included in the job description.

The first "aha" moment becomes, "Hold that thought." It's only by delving into the meaning of discovery that we can talk about its place in your business and career strategy.

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Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., author of Making the Big Move, helps midlife professionals navigate career and business transitions. "How Smart People Can Derail Their Transitions" complimentary Special Report http://www.cathygoodwin.com/subscribe.html . Contact: http://www.cathygoodwin.com/feedback.html Phone: 505-534-4194

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