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What do I really want?

What do I really want?

Copyright © 2006 Marion Stone
Used with permission of the author:
Author: Marion Stone
Cornerstone Connections
10 May 2007


What do I really want?

Do you sometimes wonder how you ended up in your current job?
Would you like to re-assess which direction you want your life or career to take?
Are you looking for a better balance between your work and your personal life?
Does your current job make best use of your skills and talents?

Many of us have visions of being able to work by an impossibly blue ocean with a laptop in front of us, a mobile phone in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Is this realistic or are we chasing dreams? This scenario sounds good to most of us, but the reality is that many of us do not actually know what we really want. The result is growing sense of dissatisfaction and an uneasy feeling that we could probably be engaged in more satisfying activities.

So often, the first step taken when this unease makes its presence felt, is the unearthing and updating of the CV. This is followed shortly by the mass mailing of the CV to apply for any suitable sounding jobs. We are so programmed to believe that we are doing the right thing if we are taking action that unfortunately we do not stop to think – think about whether these suitable sounding jobs are in fact right for us. Will they make good use of our skills and abilities and do they match our interests and our values?

Fairly deep for just a job application I hear you say, but you will not make good career decisions if you do not ask the right questions first. Overheard recently was the comment "If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do"!

To help you make the right career choices consider the following steps and questions very carefully.


The core questions to ask at this stage are:

Who am I? Where am I now?

This is a reflective stage where you examine your motivations, interests and skills. This self-assessment will provide you with essential information about what is important and interesting to you and effectively this is an expression of your needs.

Of course unmet needs are the gremlins that result in those feelings of unease and dissatisfaction and that is why it is important to work on your self-awareness first before you do anything else related to career development.

Knowledge of your motivations, interests and skills will help you to assess whether career opportunities really are for you or not. For example, if working in a team of people is a strong motivator for you; you may want to bear this in mind before you set up a business on your own!


The core questions to ask at this stage are:

Where am I going? Where do I want to be?

This is a visualisation stage where you use your imagination to describe a picture of what you want for your life and career if there were no constraints. Where would you be? What would you be? What would you be doing? Who with? What skills will you be making use of?

The information from the self-assessment stage will bring some depth to your visualisation as well as providing a form of reality check. For example, does it make sense to dream of writing a book if we do not have the patience or the skill to put the words on paper?


The core questions to ask at this stage are:

How will I get there? Am I achieving my goals?

This is essentially a planning stage. It is important to write down you goals and how you plan to achieve them so that you can take focussed and proactive steps to reach your dream. You may not get there all in one go, but if you do not write down your goals you will limit yourself to making reactive career decisions.

Make sure your plan includes the following:

  • What are you going to do?

  • How are you going to do it?

  • When are you going to do it?

  • What help will I need?

  • How will you know when you have been successful?

Developing a career plan is a journey. It does not stop once you have written down your goals. As your knowledge of yourself and what you want evolves, your plan will adjust and grow with you. Keep asking questions and keep reviewing the plan.

“Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Marion Stoneis an experienced training and development consultant with over 10 years of experience both nationally and internationally. Her comprehensive understanding of training strategy and practice has been acquired in various sectors including manufacturing, FMCG, construction, media and travel. Her work has focused predominantly on middle managers although she has worked with various levels within the business from the shop floor to senior managers. Marion holds a first degree in chemistry (UCT) and an MSc in Strategic Training and Development (University of Surrey Roehampton ). She is accredited by the South African Board of Personnel Practitioners as a Chartered HR Practitioner. Her diverse background ensures a practical approach to development activities that are joined up with organisational goals and processes.She can be contacted at marion@cornerstoneconnections.co.za.For regular newsletters from Marion click on 'Subscribe to newsletter' onwww.cornerstoneconnections.co.za.

Cornerstone Connectionsbuilds connections between the organisation and it’s employees and between managers and their teams. Consultancy and training are offered in the areas of:

  • Talent retention

  • Personal and career development

  • Performance management

  • Coaching and feedback

  • Team effectiveness

Short summary
Self-awareness plays a major role in the career plan people follow, or neglect to follow.

Keywords and relevant phrases
Assessment, balance, career choice, career plan, goals, interests, job application, motivation, needs, recruitment, retention, self-assessment, self-awareness, skills. 

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

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