For the most part, I love birthdays.
What I don’t love about birthdays is they can sometimes make us think too much about our lives and our careers.
I’m all for deep thoughts. But too often the birthday-triggered thoughts sound something like this:
- What am I doing with my life?
- Does my work really matter?
- Am I getting ahead in my career? How do I know?
- Does anybody care? Hello??
Those thoughts can send us into a spiral, and bring us down, down, down.
Let’s not do that, huh?
Instead, when you feel your brain churning with those pre- or post-birthday questions about your life at work, try these career questions to ask yourself instead. They’ll move you forward, fast.
4 Career Questions to Ask On Your Birthday
Question 1: What’s the one thing I’m most proud of in my career in the past year?
We now interrupt your brain for a special message . . .
You’ve done stuff. Helped people. Made things.
Organized, led, achieved, managed.
When you look back at it today, what makes you proud?
Don’t drop your chin into your cake and say “nuthin’.” Because I KNOW there’s something.
It may not be anything that earned you a promotion, won you an award, or even got recognized by your leaders or team.
It may be something you did that only YOU know.
Pull out that memory and write it down now. Here’s how:
- Get a piece of paper and a writing utensil, or open up your computer to a blank email or document.
- Set a timer for 4 minutes. Press start.
- As quickly as you can, write down ALL the things you’re proud of about your career to date. Don’t edit, censor, or wonder–if it pops into your brain, write it down.
- During the final minute, review your list and mark or highlight the five that you love best–the ones that make you the most proud, no matter what they are.
Got at least one–maybe more–places where you’ve felt proud in your career in the past year? Bet you do.
(If not, we should talk, ’cause it’s never too late.)
Question 2: When I look at where I felt proud, which of my superpowers was I using?
Where did you feel like you were wearing that red cape, soaring through your work?
Write it down.
Was it the type of work you were doing? Was it how you interacted with the people who were around you? Was it the environment, pace, or purpose?
What do your points of pride in your career have in common? Getting clear on these can help you know you’re headed in the right direction–or know it’s time to make a change.
Question 3: On a scale of 1-10, how frequently am I using those talents, skills, superpowers & strengths today in my career? (1=not at all; 10=all the time)
What’s your number?
Be honest. Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s judging.
Write your number down.
Question 4: If my answer was less than 8, what can I say, do, or think differently now to move up one number?
The biggest gift you can give yourself on your birthday–or on any day–is to realize you have more control in your career than you know.
In fact, you control everything you say, do, and think.
And that’s a lot.
You can say what you need to say. Ask for what you need (which happens to be a chapter in my book.)
Take the actions that are best for you and your career.
Choose a different perspective or change an assumption that’s getting in your way.
Often, taking control of what we say, do, and think is enough to make a big impact on how you feel about your career.
Now, that’s a real gift.
(If you’re not sure whether you want to stay in your job or move on, take my short quiz here and get your customized action plan, free.)
Of course, if your answer is 8 or more and you’re using all your awesome talents, skills, superpowers & strengths almost all the time, then WHOO-HOOO to YOU-OOO!!
Time to celebrate the most important person in your career–and that’s you.
Those are the career questions to ask on your birthday. Now, time for cake! Happy birthday!
Hey—want more help?
If you’ve hit a speedbump at work and are asking yourself what’s next, do yourself and your future YOU a favor: read “Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job.
Even if you’re sure it’s time to leave, the strategies in this book will help you reset how you think, revise what you say, and rethink what you do. Get the book on all major booksellers, including Amazon and Audible.
Read this next:
Career Change at 50 (or Later) : What You Need to Make It Work