The 3 Hardest Questions About Your Career

One of the best parts of my job is helping people strategize about their careers. Success at work plays a large role in how we view the successes in our lives. If someone doesn’t feel like they’re succeeding or fulfilled at work, they probably don’t feel like they’re living a very fulfilling life. 

My team and I have advised many people from various backgrounds over the years. From billionaire entrepreneurs who are looking to brainstorm ideas for the next stage of their careers to private equity titans who are solely focused on dealmaking, I’ve learned that background doesn’t always matter. People from nearly every background still have the same challenges when it comes to career management. 

Luckily, there are three questions you can ask yourself to help decide the next steps you should take for your career. 

First, ask yourself where your skills lie. You also need to gain an understanding of the work that you’re willing to do. Once you’ve found the sweet spot between your skills and what you’re willing to do, you’re ready for the next step. 

You should then ask yourself about potential career paths. It’s best to come up with three career paths that you could realistically follow. While one could be a promotion or growing in your role, you should also consider working for other companies or even starting your own business. 

The final question you should ask yourself relates to the people you know. You need to think about 10 people who can help you get your dream job. It’s not about putting out a blast message to all of your friends and followers on social media. Instead, you should focus on those who know your work ethic. Start with bosses who know of your work ethic and are well-respected. Any clients or customers who truly appreciate your work should also go on the list as well as well-connected friends and family – and even a recruiter or two. Once you’ve created a list of 10 people, send them all a message asking for ideas to help you land your dream job. Those brainstorming sessions could easily turn into referrals if done right. 

Maybe one day, career management will be automated and our dream opportunities will approach us. But until then, it’ll take hard work to reach your goals. If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself these three valuable questions.

Dr. Geoff Smart is the chairman and founder of gh SMART, a leadership consulting firm that exists to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. Dr. Smart and his firm have published multiple New York Times best-sellers. He stays active in his community and has advised many government officials.