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work styles: You can't judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree

When creating a path for yourself, you want to ask yourself what your style of working/serving is. This can help you organize your life in a way that’s fulfilling and meaningful to you. It’s been said that people spend more time picking their clothes than picking their job. In my experience, that is very true. Here’s a tool that can help in identifying your wiring so you can move out in the world with a greater level of self-awareness and intention. They are as follows:

1. CEO – This type of person is an expert on their business or industry and wants to climb the corporate ladder. This person needs a lot of different skills – the ability to analyze and solve problems, work with many different types of people, and manage interpersonal conflict. They also enjoy dealing with every aspect of a business – marketing, finance, technology, etc.

2. Surfer – This type of person doesn’t see work as a main priority. They are concerned about organizing their life around activities and people instead of work. They want respect for family and personal concerns from employers.

3. Competitor - These people are tough. They want to overcome tough obstacles and solve seemingly unsolvable problems. Without challenges, these folks become bored and irritable.

4. Freelancer – This type of person wants flexibility. They don’t want to be bound by anyone’s rules, procedures, policies, dress code, or working hours. They don’t want to be locked down. They have a bent towards self-reliance and independence. They hate close supervision. They despise golden shackles like pensions or 401ks that are not portable. They need to be masters of their own ships.

5. Anchor – This type of person needs safety and security. They want the future events to be predictable. They don’t mind golden shackles. They don’t mind being told what to do as long as someone is there to take care of them. Once they have their security, they are okay with the heights they reach professionally and will find other ways to use their unused talents.

6. Philanthropist – This type of person is dedicated to the values of an organization more than the actual talents involved. They are not as concerned about stability and more about achieving the power to influence things. They want to serve humanity, improve the world, and work with people. They may overlook positions that offer more security if it inhibits them from having an impact.

7. Nerd – This type of person is concerned with pursuing the mastery of their talent. Their identity is based on their work and their expertise. They want unrestricted budgets and access to facilities. Steve Jobs is the perfect example of this kind of person. He was solely concerned with creating the best and most innovative technology.

8. Creator - Entrepreneurial Creativity – This type of person wants to create their own business by developing products and services. They will leave a pre-existing venture in a heartbeat once a new venture is created. They are obsessed with creating and when they can’t create, they get bored easily. They are more concerned with ownership and creative control than salary.

When you know your values for pursuing work/service, you will have more mental and emotional freedom to pursue a career based on those values. Oftentimes, mentors and coaches impose their own value systems onto their students without considering if they are wired similarly. Personally, I've had significant people in my life seriously discourage a lot of the positive things that I wanted to do because they didn’t understand me. The lack of understanding robbed me of the initiative to step out in unique ways. Hopefully this tool gives you some relief that you are not alone in how you choose to operate. You can be yourself, which takes a lot of courage. Most people are uncomfortable when other people don't think like them, act like them, dress like them, vote like them, etc. One of the mindsets, habits, and practices that destroy communities quickly is a lack of acceptance and respect for the individuality of others. These work values are not only to be used in planning career but also in identifying who you are and who you can identify as a model to live the most meaningful life possible. Take some time to write out your work values and motives.

Find Your Tribe

A tribe is a group of people connected to an idea or someone who represents the idea. In your tribe, you have a common interest and a way of communicating to discuss ideas. As you discover these interests and passions, one thing that can help you along the way is to look for a tribe to connect with and find nourishment for these passions and interests. The tribe could consist of 2 people all the way up to 2 million people. It could be diverse. It could cross generations or cultures. Your tribe could cross time to include people who are no longer living. What ultimately defines a tribe are their shared passions. Here are a few suggestions.

-Talk to your teachers or mentors about ways to find people who share your passions.

-Join a club based on the talents, interests or desires that you have. Most schools have different extracurricular activities and programs that you can begin to use to explore your gifting and interests. It could be a sports team, the debate team, chess club, student board, etc. You can use these clubs to help discover what you like and don’t like. If you’re a professional, there are networking groups for people in your industry.

-Find an interest-based group on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that fits your passion and review their current and prior postings on ways that you can learn more. They may have conferences, books, webinars, or courses you can take. Personally, I like working as a small group facilitator and a coach. I wanted to find ways to serve so I went online and looked up life coaching and counseling jobs. After a few weeks, I found an opportunity that fit my experience and my schedule. I took advantage of this opportunity and served as a part-time social worker for a few years that changed my life and informed much of the work that I do now. From that opportunity, I’ve had the chance to do more of the work that I love to do with coaching and motivating young people but it started with the search.

Take the first step and see where it leads. When you take advantage of the opportunity, focus on learning as much as you can about what excites you and what doesn’t. If something about what you’re doing excites you, take note of it and keep going. If after awhile you realize it doesn’t, it’s okay to move on to something else. Just take the step. Michael Jordan says, “I don’t care if I fail. As long as I did everything I could to succeed.” In the same way that Michael Jordan had a “do all that you can” attitude in his days as an athlete, you should have the same attitude in your pursuit of opportunities to learn about your interests, passions or use your gifts. I've seen enough to know that people with this mentality do much better than those without it. Sometimes a lack of support by those closest to you can plague your ambitions. You can get inspiration, affirmation, and encouragement from your tribe.

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