Today I collided with a great article on Linked In by Greg McKoewn, bam, it was one of those that makes perfect sense and is so clear. Based on his article in the Harvard Business Review, Greg describes the most effective way to build your career that's meaningful to you as well as future opportunity.
This is exactly what coaches should focus on with their clients, players, thinkers, people. By focussing on finding the best example from each phase your life you gain a true understanding of what you value and what is valuable about you. For your career, as in Greg's article, this is what sits at the intersection of talent, market and passion (what you're good at, what there's need for and what you love doing).
Greg uses a great camping metaphor to show that doing the same thing over and over builds expertise in one area, but when people are getting to know you, only the best example from that area is needed - your longest tent pole....
"capable people often add additional poles of the same height to their career tent. We end up with 10, 20 or 30 poles of the same height, somehow hoping the tent will go higher. I don't just mean higher on the career ladder either. I mean higher in terms of our ability to contribute." Greg McKoewn.This also applies for life in general too. People know us for what they see us do most. My kid laughed in that "I can't process that idea" sort of way when she discovered I used to be a university teacher - to her I am only and always mum. I do think this is partly why getting back to work after having a career break is hard - even in our own minds we are really only one thing at a time.
Greg gives a wonderful example of a Stanford University law professor (that's a long tent pole right there) who created a clean and concise resume.
"For each entry there was one impressive title/role/school and a succinct description of what he had achieved. Each sentence seemed to say more than ten typical bullet points in many resumes I have seen. When he was at university he had been the student body president, under "teaching" he was teacher of the year and so on."So, be clear what you would like to remember yourself for, in each phase of your life, and see what it tells you.