Investing in Your Career is an Investment in You

Hello, and Happy Women’s History Month. Wait, wait wait… keep reading.. This blog is for EVERYONE.

March is the month we connect to the women in our lives, in history and culture. Those who created and contributed to the world as we know it.

In honor of this month, I want to elevate the idea of career investment. It is a concept I was never taught and is the most important thing for a fulfilling, abundant career. I had to figure this out through a lot of trial and error. I had some terrible leadership and misalignment in jobs (read more about that here.) but I also had some brilliant mentors and coaches and some glimmers of what lit me up. I can’t say I would be in the career I love now if I had not taken the time and made the shifts to invest in myself.

A career investment is an act of taking direction. It is about knowing your path, forging your path and walking it. By no means is this a linear path but every step is intentional. A career that is invested in, is fully aligned with you as a whole person at this moment in time – and each moment leads to the next.

Why do you invest in your career?

You have to invest in your career because no one else will invest in it the way you can. You know yourself best. You know who you are, you know your desires, and you have an imagined future that is uniquely yours.

Sitting around killing time with a job that is “fine” is selling yourself and the world short of your talents and skills. Vitality and accomplishment lie in your investing in your career.

What does investing in your career mean?

It means being in the driver’s seat. Creating a career that is intriguing, challenging, and matched to your strengths and interests means being boldly honest with every move.  There are thousands of ways to have a career now. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all career path for us to slide into. You get to make your career look and feel like you. But, it takes a little bit of work.  

How do you invest in a career?

The guiding principle here is to know yourself. It is an unending process of personal and professional development. Moments of introspection about what turns you on, what lights you up, what you do not like and what you do.  Here are three key actions  –

1. Know your Values and Vision. Take an hour to find and answer these questions:

What are my Values? This is a list of five values. Examples of values may be ”respect” “accountability” or “creativity”. Do this for your personal life and then your professional self.

What is my Career Vision? For this exercise, get as specific as possible while being as ambitious as possible. Are you working outdoors or in an office setting? Is it at home? What are you doing? How does your work fit into and is supported by the rest of your life? What are your priorities?If you do not know where to start with this, a brilliant starting point is one of my favorite exercises called ‘This Japanese Concept’ which walks you through a series of questions to create the ultimate Venn diagram of your life’s purpose.

2. Once you know your Vision and Values, then we look at what you need to make it happen. This is some set of time, money, resources, and community.

First, you need a network.  No one can do this alone and the network is the most overlooked element in career investment.  By network I mean relationships that support your career goals. The types of relationships in this network often are a coach (ahem – I’m right here!), a mentor and a peer group.

Do not underestimate the support you are going to need outside of the workplace.

Next, what skills and resources will you need to make this career happen? Is there a degree, certification, or a skill you need? Perhaps there are books or a trade show you need to attend.

3. Finally, investing in your career so you can give the best, the most brilliant part of you to your career means you have to take care of yourself. Eat well and rest. Set boundaries. What else do you love? Do you exercise? Are you a foodie? Netflix and petting your fur baby? Hiking Mt. Everest? All of these activities contribute to you as a whole person and we need that whole person to show up.

We are fortunate to live in a time where we can craft a career that allows us to bring the entire person we are forward. Invest in you, you are worth it.

Bonus content from Kim!

Kim Wunner is a transformational business and leadership coach and consultant, partnering with individuals and organizations who want to do leadership differently. Through workshops and retreats, group and individual coaching, she supports her clients to get clear on their vision and values, so they can take action as their authentic selves in business and life. She works with clients to bring visibility to their authentic selves. Her clients learn to lead from a place that aligns with their values. They deconstruct external and internal barriers to bring in more joy, more momentum, and more creative solutions that propel themselves and elevate teams.  She is most passionate about building businesses, teams, and careers, and lives both in and out of corporate spaces that make the world a better place. 



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