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How to Create a Career Path with Clarity

Your career journey is about more than money and status. Learn how to create a career path by understanding what matters most to you.

Sunset in the woods.

Like many folks, I spent the first part of my career bouncing from one job to another without much of a path in mind. Part of this was necessity. I was laid off for the first time in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and I needed money – I took the work I could get to make ends meet.

But another reason for my zig-zags was a lack of clarity about what mattered to me. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I realized that things like money and status only mattered so much. There were other things that I valued and needed from my work.

Clarity is about understanding our values, personal history, flaws, and more. It forces us to face the naked truth about ourselves, which can sometimes be painful. Other times, it can be beautiful. Clarity is being able to simultaneously take a high-level look at our lives and zoom in close to all the beautiful and gory details. It can guide our decision-making and help us become more comfortable with the unknown.

If you want to uncover what's important to you, here are some tips from Starling's Knowing Yourself course:

  • Take a Personality Test. Actually, take several and look for themes across the results. You have many options, including The Enneagram, The Big 5, Meyers-Briggs, CliftonStrengths, and more. Just keep in mind that while the results can help you understand your underlying personality traits, they do not define you.

  • Articulate Your Values. Most of us believe that we know our values. But I have a hypothesis that, instead, we know what we want OTHERS to think our values are. I was one of those people until I put myself through an in-depth exercise to really identify my values. There are many tools to help with self-reflection, including this guide from BetterUp and this article from HBR. Personally, I found a structured approach like the one we use in Starling’s Knowing Yourself to be most helpful (yes, I’m not only a Starling co-founder, I’m also a client).

  • Study Your Personal History. As George Orwell famously wrote in 1984, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Those who understand their past have greater agency over their future. Consider reflecting on past events, aspects, challenges, and issues that have shaped who you are today.

The insights you’ll gain from these exercises can help shape your future career path into one that brings you joy and satisfaction.

Gaining clarity in our careers and personal lives is an ongoing process. And it’s never too early nor too late to start. My revelations have come as I near my 40s, and my journey of how to create a career path with clarity is still unfolding.

That’s why I’m excited about our upcoming event with Clarity Coach Keltie Maguire. Keltie's workshop will help us dig further into what we really want through thought-provoking discussions, learning, and introspection. Keltie is more than a coach. She is a guide for those who want to understand their true aspirations and learn how to integrate them into their personal and professional lives.

If you’re interested in gaining a little more clarity in your life, join our community to attend Keltie’s workshop on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at 11:00 AM EDT!



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