514: Change Roles Internally: An Unexpected Path to Your Ideal Career

Unhappy in your current job? It’s possible your ideal role is right in front of you, you just haven't uncovered it yet! Jenn's story provides specific steps and examples for discovering your ideal role within your current organization.



Jenn, National Account Director

When she started feeling unchallenged in a role she had once loved, Jenn unexpectedly found her ideal role in a different department at her current company.

on this episode

If you’re looking for your ideal career, and you’ve decided it’s time to take that first step and make a change, your first instinct may be to run far away from your current role. This is the role that is leaving you bored, unfulfilled, burned out, unchallenged (insert negative emotion you are trying to escape!) so the impulse to leave it all behind is natural.   

But what if when you take a step back you realize that all of your “Must-Haves” can actually be found in the company you are currently working for? 

“Am I running towards something or am I running away from something?”

Once you nail down those must-haves, you can figure out what you are running towards, and that will provide clarity on if you actually need to get away from your current company, or if your ideal role could be made by beginning to make internal moves and ultimately changing roles at your current organization.

How do you figure out if an internal career move is right for you? *insert celebratory trumpets* Ta-dah! We present a step-by-step list of our recommendations for making a career change internally, using specific examples from Jenn’s story!

Can I find my ideal career by changing roles internally? 

Figure out your career must-haves (we use the ideal career profile, which you can find here)

HTYC’s Ideal Career Profile helps you determine your personal list of the most important characteristics of meaningful work. This is done by identifying them within the seven elements that make up meaningful work (which can be found in our career changer guide!)

This helps you create an overall picture of what you need from your career, summarizes your list of career must-haves, and ultimately creates your ideal career checklist.

When Jenn did this exercise, she realized she needed to feel like she was helping people and wanted to work at a company that had a vision or a mission that was bigger than just profit. She also wanted the opportunity to continue to learn and grow, feel valued and respected, and have her salary needs met. When she took a look at all of these things, she realized her current company checked all of the boxes, she just felt she had outgrown her current role.

Have conversations with leaders at your current organization

Now that you’ve decided that your current company is still a great fit for you, the next step is to be authentic and have an open conversation with your boss and your team. This will allow you to be transparent as you begin the experiments you need to conduct to find your ideal role, and you may be surprised by the number of people who want to help you find the ideal role. 

Jenn approached her boss and let her know that although she loved working at the company, her role was no longer meeting her needs, and she felt that she could add a different level of value to other places in the organization. 

It’s a little bit unnerving, you don’t know how they’re gonna react, and you don’t want to feel like you’re letting them down. However, reflecting on her list of must-haves gave Jenn the confidence to have those conversations and explain why changing roles would be the best thing for the company and for herself.

Design experiments and test new roles within your current company

We’ve created 6 different examples of ways you can design an experiment to test drive your potential new career, which you can find here, and many of these can transfer into experimenting with roles internally. Jenn began having conversations talking with people in different departments of her company. She used a combination of the same tactics we use in our career experiments, but internally. 

“I can talk to a VP or general manager of this group, and just talk about it in a way, ‘just tell me a little bit about XYZ.’ It’s the same approach you have in the recommendations for going out and talking to external companies. You can do the same thing internally, and it does give you a different feel. It doesn’t feel as pressured. It’s very informal, you don’t feel put on the spot, and everyone feels more relaxed.”

As Jenn began to build momentum toward finding her ideal role, she began to feel a sense of confidence that bled into everything that she did. The next project she took on was a project that spanned many different departments, so she not only got to interact with other teams and leaders, but she felt she was performing her best because of her newfound confidence and authenticity. This project actually created a door to the next opportunity, which allowed her to work closely with the department she later ended up working with.

Key Takeaway 

Jenn did a great job identifying her must-haves and realizing that she could find her ideal role within her current company. 

You can do all these same things… and have it not work for you. What really led Jenn to successfully land her ideal role internally was doing so in a way that was authentic and allowed her to be herself at work. Being transparent with her boss and team and leaning into her strengths caused her to start working in a way that was true to who she was.

Jenn had been in the right place all along, but she was holding herself back by trying to fit herself into her role because she loved the company. 

Breaking down her must-haves, having open and honest conversations with her team and leadership, and leaning into her strengths gave Jenn the confidence to go after what was best for her, and in the process, she realized she didn’t have to have a “work persona,” she could just be Jenn.

What you’ll learn

  • How to decide if changing roles internally is the right move for you 
  • How to experiment with roles within your current company
  • How to have conversations about an internal career move with leaders in your organization

Jenn Bloomhuff 00:00

You start to think in a certain way where it's like, "Oh, I can't do that. I've only been doing this for 15 years, you know, "I don't have the skill set to go over here." Yet, when you really break it down or like, it's kind of been at the core of what you've been doing. Maybe not 100% exactly, but if you distill it down to those skill sets or those strengths, you're like, "Wow, it's been there the entire time."

Introduction 00:26

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more and ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:51

When it comes to making a change, to more fulfilling work, so many of us assume that if we want to switch to more fulfilling work, that means that we need to switch companies or industries or we need to drastically change, we need to do a 180, we need to do something that is completely different. But it turns out that's not always the case. Sometimes the best path to career fulfillment can actually be found in your current organization.

Jenn Bloomhuff 01:18

It's a lot easier to really try on a new role when you've already established your reputation at a company, you already know the lay of the land, right? You already know the actors that are going to be involved in everything that you're doing. And so there's a little sense of comfort in that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:36

That's Jenn. She had worked in product management for over 15 years and had the realization that while she didn't particularly dislike her role, it was no longer lighting her up like it once had. She then made a move into market development. But a few years into that role, she found herself in the exact same place. When she began to dig into what the next right step for her career should be, she recognized a stain with her current organization was a much better fit for her. So much better fit for her. And exactly the right move compared to pursuing opportunities elsewhere. I want you to listen to my conversation with Jenn, pay attention to how she dug into what she valued the most– her values– to make the decision to stay at her current company. How she had conversations with leadership about her hopes to move into a new department, move into a new area. And the ways that she experimented with different roles in her organization to find one that aligned with her strengths and reignited that career spark that she had previously. Here's Jenn going back to the beginning of her career journey,

Jenn Bloomhuff 02:43

This kind of sort of back all the way to when I was in high school. And you're in those moments where you're trying to think, like, "What do I want to be when I grow up? I need to pick a major when I go to college." And I'll be honest, it wasn't crystal clear for me. I think, sitting back, I was always envious of those people that knew exactly what they wanted to do, "I want to be a nurse or want to be an engineer." And for me, I just really didn't have that perspective or clarity. And so at the time, I would ask family and friends and they went from, like, a big list of "here's all the careers that are great that you should look into", or "don't worry about that, you'll figure it out along the way." And so I pretty much got into school, was basically testing things, taking classes that I liked, didn't like, tried to figure out my own path, but I was a little bit lost in that. But the one thing that I always knew and I told myself was I didn't want to go into business, which was quite comical. Because back then, the 17, 18 year old Jenn had no idea really what business was because I grew up in a whole different like blue collar environment, it was just different. That wasn't what we really talked about. And so it's so funny because I had no idea really what that meant. But that's what I always wanted to, I was like, "we're not going into business no matter what." So I danced around a little bit through school, and it really just ended up becoming like, "okay, just get a degree." And then when I came out, I was kind of still a little bit lost, right? I had this degree, I felt like I did well in school, but I needed to figure out what was next. And a friend of mine worked, a really good friend of mine, worked at a company and he was in a sales role. And he's like, "Hey, we have this opening. And it's more of an entry level. You're basically what we would call an account admin to a salesperson", and did the interview, got a job offer, yay, first official offer. And I actually did really well. And after a couple of years in that role, I was consistently being recognized and I started to get promoted. And that felt good. And I had that moment when I just stopped and sat back and thought, "Well, you know, business really isn't that bad. I don't know why was I so averse to this." like throughout my whole career, or my college career. And pretty much at that time, I did that role for a few years. And I realized I was missing, kind of, a piece of what I enjoyed, which was really around creating and problem solving, but in a way that you actually had something tangible. And at that time in that company, I was introduced to the role of Product Management. And I knew some few folks in marketing. I had a good relationship with the VP of marketing. And at that point, he really kind of took a chance on me and offered me a role. And I pretty much fell in love with it at the time, it was everything that I needed it to be, I was able to do a lot of different things and kind of get a taste for a lot of different kinds of spokes on the wheel, as I like to say. And it really, that was, like, a pivotal moment where that really set me up for a career in product management pretty much 15 years of my career.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:31

Yeah. For those people who might not fully know what product management is, how would you describe product management?

Jenn Bloomhuff 05:41

It's a little different at every company, quite frankly. So some of it can be a little bit more project related, where you're just... you run a team, and you're running that too when it's done, then you move on. In the companies that I've always been at, it was more of you were almost like a mini GM, and you own this business. And it was typically, in my experience, was a product category. And so it was a product category, you owned that category. And so you were responsible for the P&L, you're responsible if that little business was profitable or not, you were responsible for the new products that you've got to develop that were meeting the needs of your customers. And pretty much it was like a little mini business within a bigger business. And so what I liked about it, is that you had access to a lot of different things. So you had marketing, you had typical, like project management, where you're, like, on task, on time, on budget, you're managing a team. But then you also got to do, like, creative stuff like product design and influence some of that, like, you wouldn't be the one doing it, but you were like on the team helping to influence that and shape it. And at the end of the day, you were always the, we would say, like the voice of the customer. So you were the representative of the person that you were making the product for. So you had to make sure, "is this really solving a need out in the market?" and all the efforts that the team did collectively helped to deliver on that. And that was exciting, because at the end of the day, like, before my current company, much of my background was on the consumer product side. And it was really cool to walk into a store or have family members walk into a store and see a product that you helped develop, which was just kind of a cool thing. You would be like, "oh, yeah, I helped create that." And what was nice about that, is that really that interaction, where you knew that, depending on the different categories I was involved with, people were purchasing a product and they were using it and having a like intimate relationship with this product that you created. And whether it was a toy that children are learning to grow and develop skills, or if it was like in other places like products that would help you live a happier, healthier lifestyle, like those types of products. And so that was always really cool for me, I always really enjoy it, and I still, I laugh, I get tingles when I talk about it, because I'm always like, that is still a really cool job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:02

Absolutely. So then as you progressed throughout your career, what led up to you deciding, you know what, what I'm currently doing is no longer right for me. I need to make a change. Help me understand.

Jenn Bloomhuff 08:16

And I'll be honest, I think there were little bits of that that were happening for multiple years. And I think I was just getting burned out. And it wasn't lighting me up, I guess in a way like it used to. And it took me a while to I think admit to myself, because I was very, quite frankly, a little bit nervous about that was the only thing I really ever knew for quite a long time. And so I thought, "do I know how to do anything else?" And it's funny, because being in a role that really exposed me to a lot of things, it's almost funny hearing myself even say that, that I was like nervous about doing anything else when my role itself was, you would do a lot of different things, and I got exposure to a lot of different things. But you know, I think there's like that comfort level you get. And I tell people, I didn't hate my job, I really didn't. It just wasn't lighting me up anymore. And I'm the type of person that really can't, I don't want to say fake it, but just keep doing it when it's just not delivering in that way. Because I feel, like, that I'm not my best self, I'm not showing up as my best self every day. So at that point, I decided to, again, wasn't feeling it, was starting to have issues with motivation, self doubt started to creep in, confidence, things like all those things that start to happen when you're in that headspace. And so I said, "okay, like you got to pull it together, you got responsibilities, you need to figure out what you want to do." And at the time, I just kind of did it on my own. And so I did my own work, I realized that I wasn't ready to leave the company, but I ended up moving into a different role that was in market development on the different side of our business. So a little bit of marketing, a little bit of sales, still had that ability to kind of create and problem solve and do some of that stuff. So I felt like it was a perfect fit for me. Less than a year into that role, the pandemic hits, and everybody was turned upside down, right? Just like everything. And then once things kind of settled in, once we got through, like 2020, 2021, things kind of settled into the new normal that everyone talks about. And it was just that things were different. And so at that time, I always say, again, I didn't hate my job, but I just, I didn't really love it anymore. And so it's like, I liked it until I didn't. And at that time, I was just like, "Okay, I'm back to this again, like what's going on?" And I did feel a little bit lost. And that's when I really started to consider the coaching aspect.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:35

Tell me... Let's go back here for just a second. One of the things I heard you say was about having exposure to so many different areas. But still, and you said, it's almost funny to hear myself say this, but it sounded like you still felt like, "how would I step out of, you know, what I know?" How do you think about that now? How has going through a, your most recent intentional change, how has that impacted how you think about what you know, what is outside of what you can see, how has that impacted your look on in perspective?

Jenn Bloomhuff 11:17

You know, I think when you're in, I feel like when you're in a headspace where you start to draw some sort of uncertainty about, you're not happy exactly in what you're doing, you're not feeling lit up or whatever word you want to use to describe it, I think that starts to play this kind of, at least for me, it started to kind of create this narrative in my head. And that's when all of these other things started to kind of seep in. And it does make you start to question your abilities, the whole imposter syndrome, all this stuff, right? And I'm sitting back, I'm thinking, I've done a lot of really good things in my career, I've been successful, but I think when you're in that headspace, I think it just starts to create these narratives that you tell yourself and that was one of the things that actually going through the coaching is that kind of highlighted some of those things that I was kind of, I don't wanna say self-sabotaging, but you, you start to think in a certain way where it's like, "Oh, I can't do that. I've only been doing this for 15 years", or however many years it is. "I don't have the skill set to go over here." Yet, when you really break it down, or like, that's kind of been at the core of what you've been doing, maybe not 100% exactly, but if you distill it down to those skill sets, or those strengths, you're like, "wow, it's been there the entire time."

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:26

When you look back on this most recent change, what do you feel was particularly challenging for you? Or what would you say were one or two of the hardest parts that you personally experienced?

Jenn Bloomhuff 12:43

I would say, I'll say this laughingly but it's the truth, is a little bit of just, like, getting out of my own way. I'm the type of person I like to have the clarity– I do the work, I try to figure it all out and have it created in this nice little box. And it doesn't always get delivered to you in that way. And I think leaning in and taking a little bit more risk, I'm typically not, I would never describe myself as a risk taker, I'm a definitely more security based type of person. But you can do that in a way that's very smart. You could do that in a way that's more calculated, and it's not impulsive. And I think that was, part of probably one of my biggest challenges was getting over my personal concerns, or my, you know, being a little bit nervous about kind of leaping in towards something when I wasn't 100% sure. And when I leaned into it, it all fell into place so much more natural than I ever thought it could be. And so I think that was probably one of the biggest things was that feeling of uncertainty, and kind of leaning in and taking a little bit of the risk, because that's just kind of part of the process, right? It's not always going to be, like, extremely cut and dry.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:52

Life is getting dry as it turns out. So I think that's an important point then. How did you do that? Or what did you find worked for you? Take me into a little bit of the nitty gritty where you were able to lean in and take a little bit more risk than what you're normally comfortable with? What did that look like for you?

Jenn Bloomhuff 14:13

So when I mentioned about deciding to go into coaching, part of the reason I did that is because I really felt like I needed, like, a shepherd, I needed somebody to kind of shepherd me through a little bit. And as I was going through some of these exercises, they do push you, depending on the exercise, they do push you a little bit to whether you're experimenting or having conversations that you normally really maybe wouldn't have or you kind of naturally go through do that throughout the whole entire program. And I mean, I'll be honest, because I stayed internally, you know, I had to have a conversation with my current boss who I absolutely adored and had a lot of respect for and to be able to walk through a conversation, it's a little bit unnerving. You don't know how they're gonna react and you don't want to feel like you're letting them down, at least I didn't feel like I didn't want to let her down. But it was such a different approach to be able to go in and talk through some of this stuff in a way that, you know, I always felt like having the experience and the clarity that came out of the program allowed me to 100% say, like, "I can have more impact in the business and overall is going to help our team, actually, my old team even more in this new role", because I have the right strengths, and all of that. It just allowed that conversation to... I was able to lead that conversation in a much different way. And so at the end of that conversation, she was very supportive, which I wasn't surprised about, obviously bummed out that I was like, looking to kind of look outside of our current department, but it allows you to lead that conversation in a different way, which I felt like it was important.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:48

Do you remember what you had said during that conversation? Or what your boss had said during that conversation? And would you be able to... What do you do?

Jenn Bloomhuff 15:59

Yeah, I'm trying to think through, I mean, probably one of the biggest things that I would tell like your listeners, or even just like my friends and family, if anyone, they just in general is just having the authenticity to just be vulnerable, and just kind of like share what's been going on, right? I mean, she was the type of manager where we were able to talk about a lot of things. So she knew that I had developmental aspirations and other things that I wanted to do. And the fact that some of those things weren't being met, wasn't a big surprise when we were having this type of a conversation. And so she was very supportive, which instantly, like made you feel like made me feel comfortable. And I can imagine that not always being the case for some people, and it being more of a negative conversation. And at the end of the day, like we can't control what the other person is going to say, we can only control, like, how we approach it, and how we're talking through it. So I feel like if you always show up in a way that's like your more authentic self, then it's going to be as positive, it's going to be like further and but you could at least feel like comfortable in your own skin that you did the right thing, and you weren't a jerk about it or anything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:03

Yeah. So what happened after you had that initial conversation? What took place from there? Because it sounds like you went in and you had shared in a way that felt vulnerable for you that I feel like this is not meeting my needs, which was already on the same page with to some degree based on previous conversations. And also, I feel like I can add a different level of value added in another place in the organization. So after you had all of that conversation, what happened? What else?

Jenn Bloomhuff 17:38

Yeah. So this was what was the unique thing that was like in my situation that was happening at the time. And it was funny, because it was probably five months into the program in my coaching sessions. At the same time, like this project, that work that was coming on board was happening, and I took the lead on it, and this was again, my old role, took the lead on it. And it went really well, I got a lot of accolades for it. And it was so funny, because a lot of the... when you start to go through a program like or at least for me, when I was going through the program, it's like you get this injection of a confidence boost, right, because as you go through these exercises, you do start to be reminded about all the great strengths you have and some of the successes that you've had, where you want to go until you get a little bit excited again, and that excitement and energy and confidence, actually, really, I think was an important reason why my project that I was leading was so successful, because I was starting to get kind of like in the flow again, I was like lighting up in a way. And so when I did this project at the same time, it was so funny, because at the end of it is when I started to have conversations about what is now my currently my new role with our general manager of our business unit at the time. And it was so funny that I don't know, if I didn't go through the program, I'm not sure I would have kind of been ready to have those conversations, number one, and number two, I don't know if I would have like really been as successful in what I was actually doing, which was far more of kind of like a sales effort in this project than what I was doing. And so when that all happened, I came out of that was, like, December of last year, and I started to have more intentional conversations about moving into this onto the sales department. And so really, I think, if I didn't kind of go through the motions a little bit, because I'm that type of person, again, going back to like the safe experimenting, right, that was almost like one of my safe experiments. And at the end of it, in a way, I proved it to the people like you know, some of our leadership team that got to watch me, but I also most importantly, I think proved it to myself. And even my boss at the time, he was, my own boss was part of that project and it was a multi day meeting that I managed and put on and all this and orchestrated. And I think she saw it too. And so it was, like, kind of like, it just kind of blossomed after that, which probably makes it sound like a lot more glamorous than it was. But it really was like this combination of all these different things kind of happening at the same time. And that was exciting.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:25

What caused you to recognize that continuing to stay with your organization was a much better fit for you than what you might have found elsewhere? How did that happen? How did that come about? Tell me a little bit about what caused you to recognize that?

Jenn Bloomhuff 20:42

Yeah, so I think going back to kind of, you know, what's funny, like, where it was at in the program, when this was all happening, was I was just getting ready to kind of kick off like the experimenting phase, right? Where it's like, identify either types of roles or companies and kind of go through that process. And part of that was having the conversations. And so just the fundamental shift and the thinking of, I can go talk to a VP or general manager of this group, and just talk about it in a way, just tell me a little bit about XYZ, the same approach and the recommendations that you would have for like going out and talking to external companies, you could do the same thing internally, and it does give you a different, it doesn't feel as pressured and kind of the informality of it, it's like, you don't feel put on the spot, everyone feels more relaxed, and you could just kind of have just a free flowing conversation. And I think in those conversations, not only were the people that were my peers and co-workers that I've had been working with and had a relationship with over the last nine years, when they even recognized and kind of confirmed some of that stuff back to you, that's also kind of filling up that confidence. And once I realized that kind of sales was naturally a part of my next step, I knew that it was going to be in that space. It's a lot easier, because it's a lot harder to start in a new company and then you're trying to figure out all the people plus you're doing a new role, that was really overwhelming for me. It felt a lot more comfortable and a lot more natural to do that within my existing company. And quite frankly, I felt like I realized during this process that I really wasn't ready to leave. I just was really ready to kind of take my strengths and use them in a different way that my current role just wasn't meeting that need anymore.

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:34

Yeah, what do you feel like are the biggest pieces that your existing organization has that firmly line up with your ICP? Well, we call it the "Ideal Career Profile", which is a tool we use internally, but basically your list of must haves and ideals, were those pieces that you look back and say, "oh, yeah, my existing organization totally lined up with these pieces."?

Jenn Bloomhuff 23:00

Yeah, the first and foremost was, and I can see this throughout all of my career changes that I made, right. So I think of like, "Oh, like that was there that was there." So a lot of it was that I do feel like at the core, I want to be helping people, right, I think and it sounds aspirational, right. Everyone wants to help people and make an impact. But I needed to work at a company that had a vision or a mission that was bigger than just profit. And so I feel like when I think back my current company, like it aligned 100% in that space, and which isn't a surprise, based on knowing that that's important to me. Other things like feeling like you were valued and respected, I mean, that's also part of the company culture that I feel like I need a culture that delivers that as well. And a lot of times you just hate to say it, I'm going to have worked at other companies. I've been really lucky that I've been at a lot of good companies, but I've heard horror stories. So when I kind of went through the list of delivering on a purpose higher than just profit, basically, doing good in the world, respecting and having a culture that respected and wanted to grow their employees, and then just the basic compensation package that I needed, right. So like all of that, when I kind of started to go through all that, like, I felt like misalign. So it wasn't that I was trying to run away from the company, you know, some people leave the company because it's not meeting those needs at all. And for me, that wasn't the case at all.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:28

Well, I think a great example might be... when I hear you say, I was looking for a place where I felt respected and valued, if we dig into that, what your version of respected and valued is and what you need personally might be slightly different for the next person and the next person after that. And it sounds like it was totally aligning on those pieces, some of the environmental pieces, if you will, and the role, or job, or work pieces were the pieces that were needing to be changed.

Jenn Bloomhuff 25:04

Yeah, that's 100%, right. And I remember having a conversation with friends and even my husband. I was like, at any point in time in my career, I could probably have spit out the company values, what are the company's values? What's their mission statement? And I could have, like, regurgitated that, and I could still do that today with my current company. But I never sat and did the work to really figure out, "What are Jenn's values?" And at a high level, you can get to them. But when you actually just say, "Okay, I'm gonna sit down, and in the next hour and a half, I'm gonna go through this exercise and like, really think through it", that was something that kind of unlocked some stuff for me as well. Because your career is such a big part of who you are as a person as well, it was a little bit like the idea of going into coaching and kind of going down this path. It really, like I describe it, it's almost like self care in a way. Because there were things that I learned about myself through some of these tools that gave me a whole different sense of clarity. It wasn't just help me interview well, it helped me figure out what my strengths aligned that I'm gonna go pick and choose and update my resume, it was, for me, so much more on a deeper level than any of that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:12

I love that. I appreciate you going into detail on that. And I think something else that I am picking up from your career path is also important to point out here that it's an ongoing journey, for lack of a better phrase, you've had many roles in many organizations that have been great for you until they no longer were great, whether your needs changed, or something changed in the organization, or we had a pandemic or all kinds of things that maybe some uncontrollable, some influenceable, some not, right? And every single twist and turn may require reassessing what you need, what you want, in a new and different way. And so I appreciate you sharing that that's happened. And then also love that you're talking about what are some of the specific things that worked for you that you're going to carry with you? And that's my next question. What else have you learned from going through a change like this that you would recommend to other people that worked for you really well?

Jenn Bloomhuff 27:26

So I remember early on taking the StrengthsFinder, and I've taken it before, it was a while but I redid it again. And I'll be honest, the first thing I did is I had, I'll call it strength envy. I was like, "I don't want these strengths." I was just like, "I don't know if I want these." I expected, maybe other strengths not to pop out. But I think the other thing that I kind of highlighted was when I kind of was going through and digging deeper is, you know, at the end of the day, words create worlds. And we may have an understanding of what the definition of strength is. But it really, that may not be actually the true definition, right. I think that's some of the other things that kind of come out of this. And so as you kind of dig deeper into your strengths, and you go through this exercise where I like, sent a note to, you know, maybe 10-15 people, and it kind of came back, and it was such a common theme that it kind of reinforced and it kind of drew a different level of proudness for the strengths that I had. And it also reminded me how core, each one of these strengths for the most part have shown up and like supported me throughout my entire career. It was almost like I sat back and I thought, wow, and so just the pure learning of it's fundamentally like leaning into the strengths that you know you do well, because it's a lot easier to utilize those strengths to help make you successful versus just constantly trying to maybe focus on the ones that, again, not that they never show up for you, but they just may not be as natural for you. And so that was probably one of my, I mean, it sounds kind of silly, maybe but one of my big learnings was another one that was a little bit more pivotal for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:05

I think the strengths piece is what you had, what you would said, is a really normal reaction. I heard you say, "I had strengths envy", and that we found over the years is incredibly normal, because our strengths, in the truest form, particularly our signature strengths, are simply representative of who we are. And it's so intertwined with who you are, it's hard to recognize that these are actually really wonderful things that add so much value to other people or in a variety of different ways because it feels inseparable. So our strengths are, we often look at them, it seems like, and we're like well, that's not that valuable. Like, "can I have another one please instead of this?" So I just wanted to acknowledge that that is a really, really normal reaction. And to the point where, like I've found over the years, sometimes people will get angry for a little while, like, "this is it?" Yeah, and I can definitely understand and appreciate that too, because it feels like it should be magical. And it is. But just not in the ways that most people feel like it's going to be necessarily. So here's what I'm leading to a question for you, how did you start to leverage the knowledge about your strengths in a new or different way? How did it become valuable to you? What did that look like?

Jenn Bloomhuff 30:41

I mean, it was a little bit of finding it within myself a little bit and kind of allowing myself to be kind of proud of those strengths, which I know sounds really ridiculous. I know a little bit of, yeah, a little bit of that came from the outside where they give you that context of like, "Here's how I would describe you", and maybe they're using different words, then exactly, but are all lines in those buckets, right. But I think…

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:07

You can just see the patterns.

Jenn Bloomhuff 31:08

They start to see the patterns.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:10

That external validation.

Jenn Bloomhuff 31:12

Yeah. And so there was a little bit of external validation, I won't lie for that. But I would say a lot of it was just me, kind of having that self realization, and really kind of accepting, like, wow, these have shown up for me. And I think, again, it was like, I leave with, like, my relationship skills. And so some of those key skills have really been at the core of actually every single career change I made. And when you kind of sit back and you think about it, it's also at the core of a lot of the reasons why I was very successful in many of the roles that I was in, and I leaned on that a lot, and so, or I should say, utilize that a lot. And so I think it gives you, again, so much of this is like perspective, and kind of resetting some of those narratives that, I don't know, somewhere along the line, just like way back when I was like, I don't want to go into business, well, I didn't even have the context of what that meant. And then you're realizing you're just kind of shutting out certain opportunities for you, because you're kind of just relying on maybe a narrative that just isn't serving you anymore, or just doesn't make sense. And so I think once you can kind of cut some of that clutter, and you really leaned into it, and kind of, again, coming out of it like being proud of having those strengths or leaning into those certain strengths, it really does, I think just give you a different sense of confidence and kind of flow and things start to progress well, at least it felt that way for me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:39

Very cool. Tell me a little bit about what you get to do now, and then how that aligns with what you wanted.

Jenn Bloomhuff 32:50

So my current role is a national account director. And I'm supporting the same market that I previously held a market development role in. So that was like a really nice synergy. Because I wasn't, you know, I'm pulling forward all of the things that I've learned over the last four years to support me in the business and my current role. But now I feel like I get to solve our customers' problems. So you know, I'm looking to help them really solve problems that they have today, so they can do what they do best. And they're just going to be kind of utilizing our products that our company sells to kind of help enable them to do that. A lot of what we do is to support public health. And so that's a big part too, is to be able to kind of deliver that for the world in a way. That's a really big scale or grand scale. But my little way through my work is really meaningful to me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:49

Most of the episodes you've heard on Happen To Your Career showcase stories of people that have taken the steps to identify and land careers that they are absolutely enamored with, that match their strengths, and are really what they want in their lives. If that's something that you're ready to begin taking steps towards, that's awesome. And we want to figure out how we can help. So here's what I would suggest, take the next five seconds to open up your email app and email me directly. I'm gonna give you my personal email address– scott@happentoyourcareer.com. Just email me and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And when you do that, I'll introduce you to someone on our team who can have a super informal conversation with and we'll figure out the very best type of help for you, whatever that looks like, and the very best way that we can support you to make it happen. So send me an email right now with 'Conversation' in the subject line.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:41

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up in store for you next week.

Speaker 3 34:47

I thought that's what leadership is, you know, if you need me, I'm there. After about six weeks, I thought, "I can't do this. I can't be available to you guys around the clock the whole time because it will absolutely burn me out."

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:59

I think we can all agree that our society has a hard time setting boundaries when it comes to work. Whether it's responding to emails as they come into our inbox no matter what hour it is, or agreeing to meetings after our established working hours. Today's technology makes it almost too easy to think we have to always be on. In fact, the science now backs up what we already know to be true. A recent study from the University of Illinois proves that this lack of boundary control directly leads to more stress and quicker burnout. But even though we all know this is true, why is it that we still struggle so badly to hold our boundaries?

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:00

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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