Last week I took my first road trip to talk about the Career Strategy Framework with my fellow Microsoft colleagues at the Make It Happen Career Conference in Mountain View, CA.   A day later I spent the morning speaking at a career advisory program in Bellevue, WA.

This side job has become a personal passion over the last few years to help people take a deliberate approach to the one life we live and how careers can fit into an overall strategy.  I delivered two presentations at the Mountain View, CA, and Bellevue, WA events.

Career strategy starts from within. My first presentation was based on the Know and Target processes of the framework with the following key messages:

  • Know what’s important, who are you, who you want to become, and be remembered to guide your career strategy. It all starts from within.
  • Our career is one part of our life story. Plan and manage your career in that broader context to bring balance and fulfillment across all of the roles you play in life.
  • We live one life and it’s not forever – lead, love and let go.
  • Strategically apply your time, talent, and treasure to a target where there is a market opportunity that aligns with your profile to create a compelling value proposition.

My second presentation was based on the Plan, Develop, and Sell processes of the framework and how the Relationship and Insight processes help navigate the strategy.

  • Plan and deliver on short-term priorities to create momentum and outline a hypothesis on future roles to guide competency development and relationship building.
  • Develop competencies that reinforce your current value proposition while strategically adding skills you will need in advance so that you are ready when opportunity knocks.
  • Your product needs great marketing – Sell your message consistently across multiple channels to create demand and reinforce credibility to your value proposition.
  • Telling your career and life story to others is the best way to create an emotional and memorable connection to your relationships so they can help you achieve your goals. That’s essential since people are not mind-readers.
  • Integrate insight to guide your day and journey as the complexity of the one life we live is too precious to be left up to chance alone. Use your heart, soul, and data to adjust your approach before it’s too late.
  • Commit to daily habits that accrue value to the critical success factors and desired outcomes of your life. Experiment with strategies to move your key metrics.

Our career and life journey are only possible through the support of a partner that is committed to a shared vision of what the future holds. We in turn need to support the career and life goals of our partner.  Life happens and there be successes and failures.  

Our needs must be balanced with those of our partners to ensure happiness and fulfillment in whatever we do.  A sense of purpose and goals are what makes great companies last and the same is true for the relationships in our life.  Relationships have their up and downs but it’s the willingness to learn, adapt, and reinvest that makes them built to last. My wife took the trip down to San Francisco last week and we explored the early days of our life together in Marin County. We visited the three places we lived and talked about the times we had there before moving to Seattle in early 1999.  It was going back in time and reading the story of our early days.  That evening at dinner we retraced the 20 years of our marriage and talked about the experiences we shared and the decisions we made. We both agreed that we have a broader and smarter perspective on life and what we want moving forward. It’s easy to look back and justify life and say what we would change. Each day of our life is an opportunity to change the future and live it to the fullest. 

The career path we chose and who we take on the journey are some of the most important questions in life.