In the month of February, we have focused on transition. As the month comes to an end we really want to make one additional suggestion for seasons of transition: input. As with all advice, it’s equally important to ask the right people and the right questions. One without the other will not be valuable.
On page 44 of the “You Are Created For Good Works” workbook there’s an exercise designed to help you solicit valuable feedback. It’s also available here on our resources page for printing and uses absolutely free. If you’re trying to decide about a new career, a promotion, or just working to figure out why you feel unfulfilled in your current role this is a great place to start.
Take the time to figure out who you’ve worked, volunteered, attended school or served at church with that knows you well and has worked closely with you in some capacity. List those people in the box at the top of this printout. Just a few names (three to five). Hopefully, you have come from different points in your career or serving. If you can find people who have seen you in a few different roles, that would be incredibly valuable.
Next, you’ll need to ask for their help. Explain your current situation and why you think their input would be valuable as you decide your next step(s). Ask specifically for a small portion of their time and then respectfully keep to the time you’ve asked for. If you’re prepared in advance this should not take up a significant portion of their time. The questions on our printout should make this part easy.
Examples from the workbook questions include:
- What do you see as my biggest accomplishments?
- Are there jobs or careers you think would be a good fit for me?
- What words come to mind when describing my personality?
Once you’ve received the feedback spend some time reading through and praying over the answers you receive. I went through the workbook for the first time in a small group with four other people who were looking to be more fulfilled in their careers. I still have the pages each one of them filled out about me. Since we were all working together at the time it was easy for us to give specific feedback about our career interactions.
It’s been almost seven years since my first trip through the Crossroads Career small group and do you know that every single one of us (five total) are indifferent, more fulfilling roles now? When I accepted the position as a board member for Crossroads I sent a group text to my first small group and we all reminisced about how much the Lord has done in our lives and careers since. From going back to school to become a NICU nurse to jumping entire industries – we all had to make big decisions and weather extreme transitions to get there. The feedback we were able to give each other was encouraging, illuminating, and invaluable.
As a final encouragement about input, I want to point out that even if you’re in a career that you love, being willing to ask for input can help you continue to grow and develop in your role. Each year during employee review season I always ask my bosses for a couple of items I could address in the next year that would make me more successful in my role and better to work with. Make it a habit to solicit input in and out of transition times.