Living beyond job titles. Aligning what you do with purpose and meaning

In my last blog post, I asked “Are you limiting yourself by focussing too much on your job title?” The labelling that a job title gives you might be empowering and motivating.  But it may also work against you and contribute to disempowering beliefs and thoughts.

Breaking out of the job box that a job title puts you in, requires a mind shift and change in focus from short-term to long-term. Here are 10 ideas to help you start living beyond job titles:

1. Have a vision and/or purpose for yourself

This doesn’t have to be some grandiose 20-year vision or your ultimate purpose in life (though it could be if that is clear). But it must be a purpose or vision beyond your current role and may involve aspects of your personal and professional life. For example, ‘to be a well-respected leader and mentor in the UN system and an advocate for human rights. Note that I am not suggesting people aspire to be the CEO. The example I just provided makes no mention of a position or job and anyone can be a leader, mentor and advocate. This change in mindset will help you start living beyond job titles and focus on what else is really important.

2. Set goals in all aspects of your life

Success at work is important but it must not be the only thing you have in your life. Develop goals for family, finance, health and personal growth. Also consider the spiritual, lifestyle and pleasure aspects of your life. Be sure to include legacy goals. These are the things you want to be remembered for and the type of person you want to be.

3. Have a plan

When you know your purpose and goals you can develop a career and life plan with sub-goals and milestones to track your progress. Review this regularly and make whatever changes are needed to keep you on track.

4. Conduct a skills audit

Some goals and plans will be beyond your current skills and capabilities. What skills do you have, what skills do you need to achieve your goals and what is the gap?

5. Consciously develop skills

You know your skills gap from the previous step and now need to develop the required skills and knowledge. Attend courses, get coaching, observe others, read books, search the internet and do whatever it takes to learn what is needed.

6. Promote your skills, abilities, interests and goals

Whilst many of us don’t like to boast about ourselves, unless we are open about what we can do we may only ever be seen as fitting into the limiting job title box. Share your goals with others, the development you are undertaking or the extra experience you have.

7. Take opportunities to work on projects

When opportunities to work outside your role arise, put your hand up. It may be daunting to try something new, but it will stretch your mind and develop new skills. It also provides an opportunity for you to show others what you can do.

8. Build relationships and a strong network

Well connected people get things done and opportunities come more easily. This is not about forming cliques or playing politics. It is about taking steps to widen your circle of influence and access to information. Be sure to give back to your network and not just be a taker

9. Identify role models

One of the fastest ways to learn is to have a role model. Identify those who have achieved what you want to achieve. How did they do it? What strategies did they use?

10. Find a mentor

Lastly, find someone who can mentor you through your career (you may have more than one mentor). Mentors will support your efforts and guide you through the challenges you face. If they are internal to your organisation, they can also signpost opportunities and introduce you to others.

Thinking outside your job box will improve your self-confidence and self-worth. Which of those ideas will you try to change your mindset and start living beyond job titles?

Why not try our Career Compass Workbook, it’s a set of practical templates to help individuals think about their career and professional development.

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