When I grow up, I want to be a <fill in the blank>. I think I’ve had so many alternatives to that answer across the years and I’m still not fully decided (when do I count as ‘grown up’?!). I used to think that I would one day all of a sudden “find my purpose” and my career path would magically reveal itself to me, removing the ambiguity of ‘this way or that way’ and showing me exactly where I needed to go to reach the end goal of “success”.
For a long time (back in the days of believing everybody had a single purpose in life), I would constantly rack my brain trying to identify the right path. Do I prefer analytical or creative? Do I want to be people-focused or hidden behind my screen? Passion or money? I believed that if I could just identify the frustratingly elusive answer to these never-ending questions, I would find career peace and be on an unchallenged pathway to greatness.
Funnily enough, it hasn’t worked out that way. And honestly, I’ve grown quite fond of the not knowing. Rather than constantly questioning whether this is the ‘right’ thing to do, I now ask, ‘Is this something that I’m going to enjoy?’ ‘Will it lead me closer to my (now broader) definition of success?’ This allows me to keep my mind open and look for opportunities which I might not have previously taken. Admittedly, it can also lead to procrastination and a lack of focus, because every new and exciting opportunity can be a distraction from achieving a concrete outcome.
At Energise, we encourage all our team to create a Personal Purpose Statement, a sentence or 2 that sums up everything they would like to be, do, and have in their career. It expresses their vision for where they want to be in the future, reflecting their values, goals, and purpose and how they want to operate. It helps them stay focused, even when multiple paths open ahead of them and shiny objects get thrown in their faces (not by us, obviously, that’s a Health & Safety risk).
Once the employee has defined this (or at least has an idea of the next big step), we can work with them to identify the milestones that will get them closer to achieving it. What training do they need? Which projects would provide them with invaluable experience? What competencies and personal growth areas do they want to focus on? In each quarterly review, we look at our competency framework and review how the employee has progressed against the relevant criteria. Any weaker areas, or areas that particularly support the employee in stepping up to their next challenge, become the focus for the next quarter, with training and exposure to relevant projects to support their development.
We view learning as a never-ending journey that continually supports us in becoming the best versions of ourselves. So that whatever we end up doing when we’ve grown up, we’ll have the skills and experience to support us in doing it well.
With a Green Recovery currently underway, it is particularly important to us to lead by example in a sector that will hopefully see significant “green job” growth.