With the New Year fast approaching, now's the time to reflect on your goals to ensure you're on track. The best way to do so is to determine if you have a truly fulfilling career, according to career counselor and psychologist Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite.
"Knowing whether or not you have a fulfilling career is something that is idiosyncratic to each person," she tells CNBC Make It. "You have to really look at yourself first."
The psychologist explains that the reason people most often end up in career counseling is because they pursue careers that are perfect on paper but don't really match their personalities.
Horsham-Brathwaite says to ask yourself three key questions to determine if your career is on the right track: Who am I now, how do I process things and am I limiting myself?
The first question you should take stock of is "who am I now?" To answer this question, you must examine your values and your particular skills for this point in your life, says Horsham-Brathwaite.
The psychologist says that as we review our career goals or determine next steps, we often do so based on a previous version of ourselves.
However, she says, it's important to look through the lens that you have now and take in the experiences that you have acquired to determine if your career is still meaningful. Just because you wanted to be a teacher at age 19 doesn't mean you still want to be one at age 30.
"We grow and develop," says Horsham-Brathwaite. "Sometimes the newer version just has a different vision of the world and the things that [you're] good at."
You should be aware of how you process the world, says Horsham-Brathwaite, because it affects what type of job will truly feel fulfilling to you.
The career counselor says that people most often process things in two ways: through feeling or through thinking.
If you're someone who processes the world though thinking, you must determine whether your job is intellectually stimulating you, she says. Also figure out if your career allows you to innovate and create in a way that allows you to feel like you are contributing to the greater good of the company or society as a whole.
On the flipside, if you're someone who leans more toward feeling, then serving individuals, groups or institutions through more front-facing relationship-based roles may be more important to you, says Horsham-Brathwaite. "Feelers" are also more likely to favor having meaningful connections with others through their work.
Determining which processing type you fall under can also help you gauge if the work you're doing matches your interests and skills, she says.
"By being clear about that, you have a sense of what matters to you and what feels great," she explains.
The society or culture around you can influence which field you choose to work in, says Horsham-Brathwaite. So as you reflect on your career path, make sure you aren't limiting your range of career options based on other's standards.
For example, in looking at women's professional development over the years, the types of career that are available today are much different than what was available 60 or even 30 years ago, she explains.
"And yet, I think we are still teaching young women and girls that they could be a teacher, that they can be a counselor," says Horsham-Brathwaite. Although these fields are important, she notes that there are other options available to women such as STEM.
"As you look at who you are," she says, "your range of options could be greater than you ever imagined."
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