Revealing the Natural You = A Successful CareerDec 29, 2015 09:29AM ● By Kate Hillenbrand
Kelly Marie Lewis
The beginning of the year is a time when people set new goals and make changes. One goal may be to choose an entirely new career—fulfilling and in alignment with one’s natural talents, personality and values. Well-meaning life influencers—family, teachers, college professors and friends—urge us to take certain career paths, but they may not be right. Whether making an initial career choice as a young adult or a career change mid-life, the process can create a fair amount of anxiety, fear and vulnerability, out of which manifest poor choices for an ill-fitting first career or finding oneself stuck in an unfulfilling position.
Kelly M. Lewis, career coach, knows that feeling well, having been in a career that was unfulfilling, stressful and didn’t celebrate her natural talents. With an MBA and 17 years in the corporate workforce in business management and marketing, she recognized that it was time to make some new choices about her career path—well-informed, intentional choices. A study conducted by the leading career change agency—Rockport Institute— notes that fully 70 percent of Americans report being neutral or dissatisfied with their current occupations.
Lewis is happy to report she’s now in a profession that fits her well and loves the work she gets to do every day. As a career coach with the Rockport Institute, creators of the field of career coaching, and mentored by Nicholas Lore, Rockport Institute founder and author of The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success, Lewis has found her passion. “For me, it’s all about empowering people to see themselves from a position of their strengths and then going out and living a really great life with a career that’s satisfying, fulfilling and allows them to offer the world the best of themselves. It’s supporting people in making informed decisions about their career development through various assessments, such as personality and temperament testing, natural aptitude testing and exercises that identify the key components that point to an optimum career based on a person’s natural talents, innate wiring and preferences.”
Lewis says most go about their search the wrong way. They begin to look at potential careers or job postings and may be attracted to the subject matter or recognize a few of the job posting’s responsibilities as something they could or would like to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re naturally suited for it, but they pursue the opportunity anyway and pay for the incongruence later.
She goes on to say, “Another mistake people make is trying to reverse engineer themselves into a career or job. They hear the technology sector is growing so they decide to pursue an education to fit into that mold with little consideration if that type of work or function suits them.”
The key to a career that fits great is in its alignment with who one is naturally. The first step is identifying natural wiring regarding key aptitudes and personality. If a career choice is made that’s not in alignment with these critical elements, it will eventually result in career dissatisfaction. Some examples of critical aptitudes to identify include asking whether they are a generalist or a subject-matter expert; do tangible outcomes and objects in the real world resonate more or do ideas, concepts and theories feel more comfortable? Which feels more natural: Concentrating on one project or frequent shifting of attention throughout the day? Is personal preference extroversion or introversion?
When first starting to work with a new client, Lewis uses tests that identify where a person is on a continuum of 12 different aptitudes and an additional assessment identifying natural personality and temperament. For some, the valuable insight gained with this Natural Talents Testing package is enough to allow them to make the necessary course corrections to pursue a new path. For others, these are just the first steps in uncovering the clues to an ideal career. They may need additional support for which Lewis offers a Career Choice program that typically requires an additional six or seven coaching sessions to gain clarity and confidence in ultimately choosing a new career.
And she’s there to support clients when the “Yeah, buts” show up. “Yeah, but there’s a mortgage to pay.” “Yeah, but I’m too old.” “Yeah, but I don’t have enough experience.” They always show up when trying to make a big life change. As Lewis says, “Our lizard brain doesn’t know the difference between danger and personal growth. It just knows something is about to change and it doesn’t like it.” These are natural reactions, but a coach can help clients work through them so they don’t become roadblocks in the search for a new career.
Kelly M. Lewis Coaching & Associates is located at 4820 W. 77th St., Ste. 104, Edina. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 952-456-8467 or visit KellyMarieLewis.com. Lewis coaches clients throughout the U.S. and Canada. Sessions can be conducted in person or by phone.
Kate Hillenbrand is a freelance writer, certified holistic health coach and the owner of Gut Instincts by Kate based in Minneapolis.