417: Your Signature Strengths: The Key To Unlocking Career Happiness

Signature strengths are the best part of what makes you, you. And when you find a role that allows you to use your signature strengths everyday, you are much more likely to achieve career fulfillment.

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If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk a lot about finding your “ideal” role, a role that “fits,” a role where you can “flourish” and be “fulfilled.” But… what does any of that actually mean? Believe it or not, there is hard science behind these concepts and it all points to one central truth – people are happier and more fulfilled when they use their signature strengths.

What is a signature strength? The best way to identify a signature strength is by recognizing certain feelings that a person will experience while using that strength. For example, when you use a signature strength, you will likely feel a sense of ownership and authenticity, like you’re unlocking your best self. You’ll feel a sense of excitement and euphoria, and will be able to learn about the strength rapidly, especially at first. You’ll be excited to find new ways to use the strength, as if it’s a new toy that you’ve just unwrapped and don’t want to stop playing with it.

Why does this matter?

Sociologists have found that people who use their signature strengths on a daily basis are happier, more fulfilled and more satisfied than people who don’t. And the more of a person’s signature strengths that they used on a daily basis, the happier they were. If you’ve seen “The Incredibles,” think of Mr. Incredible working a desk job at an insurance company, pretending not to be a superhero, not using his signature strengths. He’s miserable, wishing he’d never been born. Now think about Mr. Incredible later in the movie, doing superhero work, using his strengths – ecstatic, euphoric, insanely happy to get up in the morning. That’s what it looks like when you’re using your signature strengths.

what you’ll learn

  • The concept of Signature Strengths and why it’s important to know yours.
  • How the relationship between signature strengths and career fulfillment works.
  • How identifying your signature strengths can help you unlock your ideal career.
what are my strengths

Success Stories

“It’s hard to find something that fits, that’s why so many people change careers. When I finally understood my strengths and how I could apply them it all made sense. It just made it easier to see what types of jobs and roles would fit me. In my new career I get to do the marketing that I love with a company I’m excited about.”

Kirby Verceles, Sales & Marketing Director

I’ve been offered the job! It was great having the opportunity to speak with you prior to my interview. It enabled me to highlight my strengths as part of the conversation and I was able to be clear about my enthusiasm for opportunities to be proactive versus reactive. I also highlighted my desire to provide positive individual experiences. Our discussion not only assisted me in the interview but it also helped to increase my confidence!

Bree Hunter, Project Officer, Australia

All the stars aligned and I ended up finding the right thing at the right place at the right time, and it was you guys! Everything that you said was speaking to me and the things that you had done in the job that you had transitioned out of and into. Also how finding work that you love is your passion for people! Honestly, it was you Scott, I mean, the way that you talked about it, how passionate you were, I was like, there's no way he's gonna put out a faulty product. So I'm gonna try it, you know… I recommend you to all my friends, you know, even if they don't realize that they're looking for a new job, I'm like this is the first step, let's do this! Even if you maybe don't move out of this career. This is going to help!

Maggie Romanovich, Director of Learning and Development, United States/Canada

My favorite part was focusing on the signature strengths. I really liked that concept and hadn't heard it before. I realize I'll never be a singer or a triathlete… Then focusing on what it is that I really want to do. I also liked that both of you were pretty transparent with your stories regarding career and finances. That is always uplifting, knowing you speak from experience.

Lily Kreitlinger, Senior Instructional Designer, United States/Canada

Louise McNee 00:02

This was the first time I went, "Oh. I don't actually like this. And I don't know if I want to be doing this anymore." I just did not know what else to do, I did not know if there was another career out there for me. I didn't know how to get out of it. So I just stayed in it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:19

Wanted to make meaningful work that pays well possible for you? Well, guess what, this is an episode of our disappearance series on career happiness. What does that mean? Well, every day, this week, we're going to be sharing actual examples of people like you that have made massive changes in their lives. Every day will be a different story and brand new glimpse into how this career change process works. Every day a new episode, but then guess what? They disappear. So you'll need to listen to them now, before they're gone.

Introduction 00:59

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're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:24

How do you know when you've made the right decision about your career? Because honestly, sometimes it's pretty difficult. What if you think you know what you want, only to make the change, and then it doesn't work out. I got to talk to someone that has done that, they've been there, they've done that, they've got the teaser.

Louise McNee 01:44

So I'm a Commercial Manager. I've just started working for a great company. It's actually a radio station here in Australia. So it's a completely different industry than I've worked in before.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:56

Louise is a Brit who relocated to Australia, and now she has a job she loves. But before, it was not great for years, in fact, well, I mean, she had a ton of success in her career. But the only problem was that it wasn't the success she wanted. So she changed jobs. And then did it again. Turns out it didn't work. But let's go way back for just a minute.

Louise McNee 02:19

So I started out, and it's quite a sad story, when somebody asks you, "What you want to be?" when you're little. I don't actually know why, but I said, "I wanted to be an accountant."

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:31

Really? That is... Are you the only one in the world that said that when you were little?

Louise McNee 02:38

I believe so and I don't know whether I should admit to it. I think I was about age 6 and my background, I'm the first in my family to go to university and to do professional qualifications. I don't really know where this idea came from, but I used to enjoy counting, my mom and dad used to collect copper coins, and I used to enjoy counting them, so I don't know where that came from.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:05

That's amazing.

Louise McNee 03:07

It's quite sad. I didn't want to be... any of those other exciting jobs that people want to do.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:14

The ones people that I don't know, I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a firefighter. I want to be a doctor. I want to.... whatever else. You know what, I said accounting and jest. I actually know a bunch of people that absolutely love accounting. I don't personally and I don't have the strengths that are very suitable for accounting but I think that's super cool and I love how unique that is that, you know, 8 years old, like, I want to be an accountant.

Louise McNee 03:42

I probably could have told you what one did. Yeah, that's how I started. So I kind of, I did, you know, business studies at university I went through, and I had a very linear career path. And it's probably wasn't a huge amount of thought into my path. And I mean that in terms of, I was just in that traditional, you get a job, you work hard, you get a promotion, you do a slightly different job and that's kind of what I've done. So I started off studying Chartered Management Accountant and I just moved through roles, you know, with job descriptions of management accountant, financial accountant and yeah I just did that. Every move was a promotion and a chance to gain new skills. But over the last 15 years or so, I've pretty much been in the same career, just moving from, I don't do any day to day transactions stuff now, so I've moved from having to actually make sure that P&L is okay or looking at balance sheets. I hate that. That's not where my motivation lies, so thankfully that's all moved away, that's been learned, done, help me to be where I am today and now it's moving towards the strategic and the real business conversations.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:08

When did you realize, I'm curious. Like where along the way did you have some of those realizations that, you know, going from, hey, I'm 8 years old and want to be an accountant, moving into it and starting to realize that, I actually don't really like the balance sheet stuff. Do you remember any specific moments where you had that realization?

Louise McNee 05:27

No... I just think looking back at those... I just knew that there was part of my job that really frustrated me. And there is probably no specific moment and it's probably maybe only over the last three to four years that I've really thought about, "why do I get frustrated" or "what's not motivating me." And then it's kind of, I just don't like that day to day. Because the situation may change, the industry may change, but what you're actually doing doesn't change. So for me, I just got really bored.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:05

So after you recognized that you were getting bored then, what happened from there? Because you says, you sounded like, you know, that was three or four years ago at this point, and what ended up happening from there in your career as you acknowledged, hey look, this kinda sucks and I don't want to do this forever, it might be somebody's gig but it's probably not where I want to spend the vast majority of my time. What happened at that point?

Louise McNee 06:35

The first time I started thinking about this it probably, or definitely wasn't the way I think about it now. So it was like, okay, this isn't for me. It's not happening to me. Let's just go and do it somewhere else. Oh it's going to be completely different in a new business. So I had an opportunity to work for a company which the role never existed before. So it was a startup element of a huge corporate global company and they never needed somebody locally to look at the stuff that I look at. So I kind of thought that that would be a nice avenue to move away, try something different and see if I could you know crack that wall myself and make it do what I want to do. And I was promised that it would be a mix of the transactional and strategic. So I was like, this is great. You know it's the perfect opportunity for me to get that experience and really opt what I can say to people that this is what I do and really proves that I do more than the typical accountant. It didn't actually work out that way.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:51

I was gonna ask you how that happened in reality. It sounds like there's another shoe dropping here someplace.

Louise McNee 07:58

Yeah. I think, you know, and this is a huge line for me, as well, and it has really made me since when I've had interviews with other company. It really made me go to that for jobs, you interview the company as well, they don't just interview you. And the lesson for me that really helped, in fact that I really needed to draw down into bit more detail, because while the intention was there, they just went up the stage, right to have that person who was ready to do what I wanted to do and which had kind of done throughout my career, you know, it's always been a part of my role to do the challenging, the asking the questions, the looking at things a slightly different way. The day to day dragged me down more than I thought it would and more than they thought it would as well. And that, it also wasn't a very good environment. And it's the first time I think I've been in an environment I've really struggled with. A lot of people have been working together for a long time. I've been in similar industries for a long time. And so their thought patterns with, kind of automatically convened. And so you know, I come in, I've worked for multiple different industries, I've changed jobs quite regularly. And so I come in with a whole new different set of thoughts and ideas and ways of seeing things and I don't think they were quite ready for some of my questions.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:34

So you'd infiltrated the club and you've got all of these new different experience. And everything else that goes along with it. And at that point in time, it sounds like they were less than what you'd hoped for receptive. Is that fair to say?

Louise McNee 09:51

That's fair to say, yes. So that was the first time that I let... career is very important to me. It's probably... and I realized this after working with Lisa over the last year or so, I put so much weight on my career, it kind of defined me in a way. And I think some of that might be because of my upbringing. In fact I'm the only one to have done this thing so... and nobody else is going to feel this way but I've put it on me that I had to be great at this, I had to know what I was doing. Now I have to constantly, you know, progress. And that I would just be this one that had it all sorted. This was the first time I went, "oh. I don't actually like this. And I don't know if I want to be doing this anymore."

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:43

That is so interesting. If I might ask you about that for just a second because I think it's fascinating that when we, and I very much, I've done this a lot of different times of my life too where, I will define who I am in some ways by what it is that I'm doing at that particular time. Often it is also with my career. And it's interesting how that can cause you to, in some cases, like stay in a place longer than you probably should have. I'm curious, was that what happened there as well? Because it sounds like at some point you recognize that. But, how did you think about that once you started to realize that, hey this is... this definition of myself is causing some less desirable pieces?

Louise McNee 11:34

Yeah there's probably two things to it. One is, you know, you just tell yourself suck it up.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:42

Yeah, absolutely.

Louise McNee 11:43

You're in a really good position compared to other people, you know, your salary is great, you're working for big name companies, you've had a progression. When you go and speak to people, it's taken me a long time to kind of be able to... be proud of my achievements and be able to sell them to people rather than complain in them. And so it kind of, "oh, just what are you complaining about?" This is just, you've got it all. Don't just get over it, it just must be a phase. Go in three. And then the other side of that is, I just really did not know what the option was or what I wanted. So that was one of the hardest things. And so even from this role I moved again to another company and did almost exactly the same role. I still went through that. It must be the company. It's the company that's making me feel this way. Not the actual role. I just did not know what else to do, I did not know if there was another career out there for me. I did not know... I didn't know how to get out of it. So I just stayed in it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:57

What was that like? Because that's, you know, still semi recent for you. What was that like being in that particular place where you didn't know but realized that something's wrong?

Louise McNee 13:13

Yeah, really hard because I happened to get in the role afterwards. So this was two roles in a row that I was having these feelings and I was so trapped. And it really impacted, you know I'm normally a happy bubbly person. My friends say that I'm always up for a laugh, I'm the one that can have, you know, will try and look on the positive side. I went a complete opposite. I was a nightmare. I wasn't married at the time but my poor husband, I've never cried so much because I just felt completely trapped in not knowing what to do. And as well as, I know my pride myself on being the tough one. For me to just... I just... and I couldn't even tell him what point why I was crying. Because when you're trying to articulate to people why you're feeling, how you are feeling and if they're trying to give examples, I find a lot... they sound really minor when you're trying to give examples because it's hard to explain to people why you feeling the way you are. It's just, when you add it all together in a big bootcamp, it's obviously making you feel so bad. But I found it really hard to not only understand myself but also try to explain to other people. So I felt like I was in a cycle of, I didn't have anybody or I felt like I wasn't explaining to people well enough so they could help me. If that makes sense.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:55

Well, it's hard to understand. I mean, let's be honest, even when you're in it and you're experiencing it, it's hard to understand for yourself to really truly get what's going on, let alone be able to help other people understand as well, because in some ways too especially if you have done well and you have been continuously moving up the ranks, you've done a lot of things that most people would look at from the outside and say, "Wow. She got an amazing life and career" and everything else along those lines. And it is difficult to be able to articulate that in a way that really helps people understand what's going on from the inside looking out.

Louise McNee 15:46

Yeah. Especially because people, everybody gets days right, they hate their jobs, or things are not going well, or they might be lower than they normally are. It's just hard to kind of tell people that that's how you feel almost every minute of every day. And I felt like my energy is just taken all of my energy just to get through the day. Never mind thinking about what I wanted to be doing and how to get out of it. That was way past of me. It was such hard work to get up in the morning, get in the car, drive to work, do a full day at work, get home and feel like I had managed to get through the day.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:25

We see this really interesting phenomenon as we've worked with people over the years and we see that for that exact reason, it really starts to compound and actually it turns an already complex and frustrating problem into an even much larger and more complex one too, because not only are you doing exactly what you described, like you're in a role where it's totally zapping your energy. And at the same time, it's difficult to be able to explain it to other people, understand what is going on, but then even trying to think about what to do about it after you've already spent day after day after day where your energy is zapped and it's taking all of those pieces of you then it turns into this bit of a cycle where... and we call this "The Stuck Cycle" again and again. But I'm curious, what happened where you decided, look I've got to do something differently and how did you begin to get out of this?

Louise McNee 17:24

Yeah. I think I've always been a pretty, my personality, I've always been really big into self development, doing other things, challenging myself, so I do naturally have that mindset of, I don't like to sit and complain about stuff and not do something about it. That's just me. I think one of the and it's quite this being completely open and it's quite comfortable for me to be open. I was out for dinner with my husband let say, we weren't married then but we were planning a wedding. I was crying in the restaurant. And he's like, "This is not what life is. This is not, you know, we were trying to plan the wedding. Got so many exciting things to be looking forward to. Why you're crying in a public restaurant? Embarrassing me" and, you know, my poor husband didn't know what to do.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:23

It sounds like, that is the ultimate test, by the way. Clearly you've got a good guy.

Louise McNee 18:32

Yeah. He's been very good. And I think it's very hard for him as far. Because when we met, and I have always portrayed that I've got things sorted. Career is really important and he saw a change from the person he met to somebody who was really the strong, knew where she was going, had everything in her sights, enjoyed life to this person's, "why are you crying again?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:02

Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

Louise McNee 19:03

He still married me. So thankfully, he's definitely a good one.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:09

That's funny. There's a test, might be hard to duplicate that exact test but if you find yourself in that place and they react this way, you know, you've got a good one.

Louise McNee 19:22

And then, talking him, you know, he really tried to understand. He does a similar role to me now and he came through in a different way. He did the audit background. I've never done audit. So I think, in one way, it was harder for him to understand because he just thought, while he was having the same experience as me, but it wasn't impacting him in the way that it was impacting me. And I just got to that point, and I thought, this is not me. This is... I've been crying on friends, I've been crying on Mark, down the line. But I can remember Lisa and I had to walk in a few sessions booked in. And I just derailed it completely because the minute she said, "hello" I burst out crying.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:10

So to give a little bit of context. At some point along the way as you recognize that you wanted to make changes, we got the pleasure of working with you. And Lisa, who's one of the coaches on our team, and you hear Lisa's story actually back in Episode 147. You got to work with Lisa and through our Career Change Bootcamp program, right?

Louise McNee 20:33

Yes, I did. And it took me a while to get to the point of asking for help.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:43

What did you perceive as the hardest part to get to that point of asking for help? Like you're talking about.

Louise McNee 20:50

So I think for me, it's just... I thought I had to figure it all out myself, you know, it's that kind of, thought verbatim, saying to somebody, I don't actually know and being open and so for me, I listened to the podcast on my way to and from work. I listen, you know, and re-thinking, yeah this sounds really great. This is something I definitely need. But actually you know, writing the email or making that step to actually say, I need this, was somehow really hard for me. So I remember having a, as I said, I've also got that fundamental part of me that doesn't just like to let things carry on. Once I know something needs to be changed, I will kind of know I need to change it. And there was one of my younger brother, he's just a few years younger than me, but he said something to me once, which I always resonated with me. He said, "things might not work out the way you want them to work out but you've never not done what you wanted to do. You've always found a way. You've just got to be remember that it might be a different way to what you wanted it to be." And that ,you know, I don't know if my brother knows how much that resonated with me and stick with me. And so for me, that was... that right. Okay, I know I need to change. I know I need help. I can't do this on my own, you know what, I have to let my, pride maybe it's not the right word, but I have to let that go a little bit and say to somebody, "I need help." So I actually took, I think I had a few conversations where I got in touch and discussed working on career change bootcamp and then I got a little bit of a cold feet and I backed off. And I went on holiday and then just the thought of actually going back to work after that holiday, so I can't do it. I've been away for two weeks, now I'm really need to be serious about this now and do something about it. And that's when I finally thought right, I'm committed, I'm going to get some help and that's when I signed up for a career change bootcamp.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:08

That is so interesting. And I think that that is so real world and I appreciate you sharing that because a lot of times that's how it happens for most of us. It happens in stages. It's not like this epiphany at the top of a mountain, I don't know, after whatever and all of a sudden like we know what we're going to do and we know how we're going to get help and we know how we're going to make it all happen and everything else along those lines that really happens in those smaller realizations and then that event leads to another event and another event and then all of a sudden we're at the point where it's like, okay, I've got to do something. But it's all of the other pieces that got you to that point as well. I so appreciate you sharing that. What do you feel like, as you went through and as you started after you made that commitment of, hey I have to do something and I've got to double down on this, what was that like for you? As you made the commitment to making the change and putting even more time and effort into that. What happened from there?

Louise McNee 24:16

Yes. So I think for me and kind of makes sense that after Strengthsfinder, write down my strengths. Once I've actually made the commitment and the ball was rolling, I felt like a weight to be lifted off purely because I was doing something. So rather than sitting in my head, you know, praying going over time, constantly thinking but not know which way to go. Even just a simple act to say, "not okay. this... I have a path. There is a structure to this and I have somebody there to help me through this. It really made me feel like there was a way out of this." So even just the beginning was like, okay, I can do this. It kind of, I was still feeling a bit nervous about opening up then, you know, sometimes you feel like you have to have all the answers. I mean you have to have the right answer. And I didn't. And I still don't have all of the answers.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:13

I wish I had all the answers, that would be fantastic.

Louise McNee 25:17

It's kind of, you know, I had to open, you know, get used to open myself up to that. You know being asked a question and not knowing how to answer and having that awkward, "I actually don't know this is going to taking me a long time to think about it." Knowing that there was a structure in the path, there was actually activities to take and also knowing that I really felt like I had someone in my corner. You know it was somebody completely understood what I was going through. So when you're talking to somebody like Lisa and the rest of your team, you don't have to go through the preamble of "why you're feeling the way you're feeling" they just get it, you know, you've worked with so many different people, you've had the same thought yourself. So it kind of cuts out a lot of the initial, you know, introduction of why are you doing this. And you can start off on the whys and you know the reasons why, or all the actual real details that are making you feel the way you feel to get you... become and get into it straight away which I think was great because once I thought I was actually doing something, you know, one is... like execution is one of my actually moving forward and getting things done and focus and finishing the task at the end of the day. That's what I figured out, what makes it work and it doesn't matter what task it is. It could be anything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:46

You're gonna make it happen.

Louise McNee 26:47

Yes. I feel like I've been productive in the day and then that's me going to bed feeling like I've had a good day. And so the program helped me to know, okay, there's stuff to do, you know, there's a... you know, the StrengthsFinder test, the exercises, planning your day, what your ideal day would be, you know, what part of your job do you like, what parts you don't like. And then even taken it further than that. And, you know, outside of your career as well. What do you enjoy doing? I went through a couple of different notebooks. I just wrote everything down. And it took me a while to get used to it but looking back now, I liked the fact that Lisa would ask me a question and I wouldn't be able to answer it and I'd have to go away and really think about it rather than...

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:45

What's an example of that? I'm super curious. Do you remember any examples of that? What's one time where that happened where Lisa had asked you a question and you had, you're like, "I don't know, let me think about that."?

Louise McNee 27:58

Just the... first one is, "what would you do if you weren't doing what you were doing now?" Complete blank for me, complete and utter blank. And that meant I really had to go down into the detail of what it is. I didn't dislike the entire of my role in what I was doing day to day. I had to get down into, it wasn't specifically task related, the task related part is the easy part. I think you can always say, quite easily, I don't like doing that particular task in a day whether it be standard reporting or admin type work or whatever it may be. It more the interactions with people and what is fundamentally are not working and to be honest, one of the things I only just clicked with me recently and Lisa probably told me at the time that, you know, when your brains working overtime it's taken a while to click in, because I'm so... my strengths are so, you know, I'm in the learner side. I feel like I have to learn constantly. Doing the same role but for different companies wasn't enough for me because even though I was learning about different industries there was no real different thought process.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:30

That's so interesting.

Louise McNee 29:32

It's the same discussions.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:35

So for you, then was it that, it was not the right continuous scope or not the right level of challenge in terms of learning or not the right... What was it about that type of learning as opposed to the type of learning that is really good for you?

Louise McNee 29:58

Because it was... there was... I felt like there was no real development in the learning. So it was... I was learning about a different situation that when you are doing the role that I do, your brain works in a certain way and my brain was always working in that way. It was, find the problem, find the root cause, see who it's impacting, see which people you need to talk to to get it changed, what are your options. And so while the situations may have been very different it was the same process of going through. So you might get a few curve balls from a technical point of view or something different but it doesn't change the thought process for you. Did I explain that very well?

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:53

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And I think that I wanted you to dive into that, one, because I'm always curious about other people's perspectives but I think that's something that's a bit of a commonality with many of the people that listen to Happen To Your Career. A lot of us are very very interested in learning and need that measure of learning in different ways and actually in different ways and a lot of cases compared to the average person. So I appreciate you taking the time to detail that out. So here's a different question though and I'm super curious, you know, you ended up working with Lisa and had a lot of these realizations along the way. What caused you or what do you feel like allowed you to make the most headway on this? Aside from some of the realizations that you had, because now you're in this new role and it didn't happen by magic. It was a bunch of hard work, even before we hit the record button, you said, when you are in the moment it really just feels like a lot of hard work in some ways, right?

Louise McNee 32:07

Yes. I think the real realization and this was where Lisa was worth her weight in gold. It was the realization that I don't have to go from a bad situation to the perfect situation straight away. I just wasn't in that place, you know, going back to my mental and emotional state trying to do. So, I did go and I spoke to 10 or 20 people in the areas I thought I wanted to do in their companies, I wanted to work with. I was doing all of that. And that is actually, I'll probably come back to that later, that was really really beneficial to me but it wasn't getting me into a good place. And so a conversation with Lisa was like, "how do we get you into a place where you can then start thinking about that? Because going from that to that is not working." My brain could not cope with the thought process. I needed to get out of my mental state where I was at the moment, I needed to get out of a company and a role that wasn't making me fall short or was perpetuating this negative vibe. And so that was where the planning of, okay, so what's really important to you, really came into play. So for me, there was a couple of key buckets. So when you look at the culture of the company, location of the company, whether there is a different type of industry, whether you know flexibility plays a part. And also for me, I have such a huge social conscience. So I do quite a fair bit of mentoring through charities for either younger females who might find it tough and also I got one charity that works here in Australia. It's the opposite. It's the overachievers. And these are just new for everybody..

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:27

Amazing. What's the name of that one? I'm so curious now.

Louise McNee 34:29

It's called Aim for the Stars and they give grants or sponsorships to females who are doing really amazing things in the field and it could be any field. It could be musicians, scientists. They did have one lady will be the first commercial female pilot in Australia. There was a particular thing that she wanted to hit the sport. Because these people are so good at what they do, I think they realize that they still need help. They still need someone to talk through with, things with and you know they have those, they maybe have doubts more than other people because they are aware of what they need to do. So I... that for me, that social conscience and in a company where is a big through. The work with Lisa really help me narrow down and so we kind of, we decided that the best route for me, at the time, was to get myself into a really good company that ticked off those items and then we can potentially think about longer term, see how I feel about the role in a new company that does tick off those items. It can have everything flow through. I went to speak to lots of different people and I spoke to people in charities and foundations and worked up really quickly that wasn't the avenue for me because they have a lot of transactional day to day, frustrations that would just leave me from having that scenario of somewhere to somewhere else. Plus the pay and salary isn't exactly where I needed it to be. I had conversations with people who, we were started talking about where I might want to go and there's one lady who asked me to create a page deck and she really worked with me, and Lisa worked on with me as well to kind of create this five or six page deck that would explain who I am, what I want, very succinctly. But also in the most effective strong way. All these things really help get towards, you know, I was applying for jobs and I was going into some interviews and it all helped me sell myself better in the interview but also help me to recognize, "I don't think I want to work here." I'm going to be moving again to a company where it may not be the right fit for me. And so at the end of last year, I've been in my current role for three months now. At the end of last year this opportunity came up and it kind of excited me from a complete perspective, ends up being a radio station. It's got that different vibe and so. I've got myself into a situation now where I probably ticked off five of my main things and boxes of what I need; company, location, the culture, needs to be for me. So the culture at the radio station is amazing and everybody's really friendly. This sounds so small but I was in the kitchen making myself a cup of tea and people were coming up introducing themselves to me saying, "Welcome. We haven't seen you before." Whereas in past companies, I've been in a situation where people are just walking past each other without smiling.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:11

Straight on by. That is... So here's what I think people might gloss over as they're listening to this or might not realize is that to be able to get to that level of specificity in terms of what you are looking for in a role to be able to recognize that in advance, "hey this organization and this opportunity really does tick off a huge amount of these boxes especially some of the most important ones to me." It is no small effort to get there and I think it's, I wanted to call that out. Just one, to say kudos to you because it is the hard work that most people on the face of the planet will not do because it is difficult. And it is challenging and it is thought work and it is hard to do alone too, let alone even with somebody, working with somebody like Lisa makes it possible. But it's still a challenge right. So I don't want to let that to be lost on people. But at the same time, you know really really nice work recognizing that and I love what you pointed out earlier that, you know what, it's about each individual step and it can't be about going from going from the place where you're at to the absolute perfect thing. One because there is no absolute perfect thing out there. Perfection is the enemy of a lot of different things. And in fact, we just, on a recent episode with Caroline, another coach on our team, episode 226, we dug into that bit on perfectionism. But here's what I'm curious about, you know after going through all of that, what advice would you offer, people that are in that same place that you've been where maybe they've changed roles a couple of times and and found themselves close to back in the same place or maybe they're realizing for the first time that I really do want something more and it is ok for me to want something different than where I'm at. What advice would you give those people?

Louise McNee 40:21

I would say, you have to take the pressure off yourself. And it's easier said than done sometimes. We all put the pressure on ourselves. I think in a lot of situations is not the people putting the pressure on us, it's us putting the pressure on ourselves. Take the pressure off but really think about, I found... because you have to think about not just the wrong but the people, you've got to think about everything because I remember when I did, you know, what is your ideal day look like. I felt like I was being a bit spoiled by saying certain things. Now, I want to be able to wake up what's the time I wanna wake up. And I want to be able to have a cup of tea in bed before I go to work and really get down into those details because it's not those... for me, I found that, it's not those details of search that will make me you, you know, have a cup of tea before you go to work. It is not going to make you figure out what's going on. You find a pattern, in what you actually will need in your day to get, you know, through the day in the most positive, fulfilled way. For me, I needed to know what kind of people I wanted to be around. And so, yeah, take the pressure off, really get down to the detail. And one of the things for me was kind of realizing that, potentially, which is so different from where I was, one of me, I can find making career, everything. I've now realized that for me, career can't be everything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:21

Interesting. I would love to wrap up on that. Why is that? What is it? What does it need to be in your particular life?

Louise McNee 42:36

Career for me, my role is, it's the fundamentals of the way it's what's going to pay me to make me be able to move. It's going to have a bit of structure in my day. Someone will give me a bit stracture of my day. It will get me around people. I do need to be around people. I need to have these conversations. I'm not one who could, I love working from home every now and again on my own. But I really need that connection. But it's, for me, knowing especially because I'm in the same role that I've been doing over the past couple of years, it gives me that comfort of, I know what I'm doing. I guess, I'm going to get new challenges. It's probably more challenges of how to influence people or how to make people go a certain way or think about things differently. And it gives me stability to then experience and explore other parts of my life that are really important to me. As I said, you worked on that social conscience. I'm going to pick up another mentee, if I've got the time, if I've got a role that, you know, at the moment, thankfully I can do, you know, not quite but I can do 9 to 5. So that gives me so much time then to spend trying to help other people. At one point, I thought would be good to go down as a career that I don't think it's the right career for me. But I can still get it in my life now because I've got the time and I've got the energy. From the learning perspective, I've always had it on my list, I used to be so fluent in French but haven't spoke French for about 15 years. We are going on holiday to France in September. So I now have a goal. I want to be fluent by September. So I know have the time to speak and know directions.

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:38

That is... valuable.

Louise McNee 44:40

I feel like I've got myself into a situation where I'm in a healthy state and I've realized that I can get fulfillment through other areas and not just through work. I've got the time to spend with my husband and with my friends who are in Austalia. My family is in the UK, so I have to make a lot of effort to keep in touch with family and friends. But I'm in a position now where I can do that and I can feel good about what I'm doing and I'm getting what I need, mentally, you know, I'm learning, I've got the comfort of working in a role I feel comfortable doing. It's a new company, so I'm still in that stage of everything is sort and kind of settling in. I actually feel like there is three or four different streams of my life now that I can work in and my company is setting up a foundation, social foundation. So you never know where that might go. I can hopefully spend a lot of time towards that as well that links my desire to do good in the world, in the workplace.

Scott Anthony Barlow 45:53

I absolutely love that. And I so appreciate you pointing that out, too. And that mindset change is huge in terms of looking that, not just your career as being the thing, but having it enable all the parts of your life, and having those work together. So I just want to say congratulations, first of all, because I've only gotten to congratulate you by email so far. And this is amazing to be able to have the opportunity to talk to you about this. And I so appreciate you taking the time to share with everybody else. And I know that so many people are going to benefit from this. Nice work, by the way.

Louise McNee 46:36

Thank you. Yeah, as I said, it's anyone you step back and realize how much work you've done that you can then go "huh. I've done this, this is good."

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:52

If this is not your first episode of the Happen To Your Career podcast, you've probably heard somebody on here that their first step to work that they absolutely love, that fits their strengths, and they're excited about, was going through our free eight day mini course to figure out what fits you. And we've had now well over 30,000 people have that as their beginning step to identifying what they want in their lives. And you can do the exact same thing. And if you're interested in that, it has some really amazing questions to get you started in becoming clear on what you want and what you need in your career. And it's a great way to kick it off and determine what is most important for you, moving forward. You can learn what you're great at. So you can stop wasting time in your job, and start working in your career, even identify some of the internal blockages that are keeping you from fulfilling work, and wealth and career success. And begin narrowing down what you should be doing for work that's fulfilling to you. All you have to do is go to figureitout.co that's figureitout.co and get started today, enter your email and voila will send you the very first lesson. Head on over there, figureitout.co or you can text HAPPEN to 44222 that's HAPPEN to 44222.

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:27

Our team, every single day, we get tons of questions about everything you can imagine to do with careers. What should I do differently on my applications to get the interviews that I want? How do I narrow down the list of stuff that I'm interested in to make into a career? How do I translate my skills into something that would be amazing for a job or career opportunity? And here's the thing, we absolutely love that we get all these questions. It's the reason why we do what we do, we'd love to be able to help. And at the same time, what we've learned is that most of the time when we get these questions, they're just barely scratching the surface of what you need to know, to make really big career changes to design a career in a life that you love. And many of the things that you want if you're listening to this show right now, so we thought, okay, well, we asked many of our students in our podcast guests, what advice would you give other people that want to make a really big career change to meaningful work? And we do that at the end of many of our episodes, we do that when people go through our programs and our bootcamps, and they've made a huge change. And here's the thing, these are people that have been there, they've done that, they've made the journey. And we thought it would be really incredibly valuable to take the advice that each of these people have given when they're on the other side and they know all the things that you need to do and how to do them and what they experienced and what worked and what didn't work. So in this particular episode, we've taken that advice from six different people, most of them students of ours, and we share the things that you wouldn't even think to ask about what it really takes to make a big career change. 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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