Achieving a fulfilling career is a goal many of us strive for. But what exactly is the secret to finding professional satisfaction and meaning in our work? To shed light on this question, we've asked some of our HR and career coaching experts to share elements that they believe are key contributors. Whether you're just starting your career journey or looking to redefine your current path, these experts’ opinions can guide you towards greater career fulfilment throughout each of your roles.
Start with Self-reflection
Raunak Bhandari, People Consultant, Google APAC
“While we’re sure you’re ready to dive into the depths of the job search, we recommend starting with an often-overlooked first step: focus on you. Have you ever discovered you’re good at something you're not passionate about? Many of us have. This may be a result of the work you like to do, or it may be something you’ve had to get good at because of a previous project or role.
The more skills you have the better — but it’s hard to build a fulfilling career on something that doesn’t excite you.
Before you start applying, take some time to ask yourself a few of these questions:
What is something you learned that made everything that came after easier?
Have more of your achievements come as a result of solitary effort or teamwork?
What do you enjoy more, solving problems or pushing the discussion forward?
What is the most rewarding job you've ever had? Why?
Describe the best team you ever worked with. What made that experience stand out?
Now, sit with your history for a moment. Consider all the best, most rewarding elements of your experience, and let them come together to create a picture of where you want to go next in your career.”
Have a growth mindset
Sue-lin Tan, Balance and Wellness Coach, Career Coach, Self Employed
“A growth mindset is the belief that improving your skills and the ability to solve problems can be developed through dedication and hard work - not just a fixed baseline of intelligence. Embracing a growth mindset is crucial when it comes to finding a fulfilling career, especially in this ever-changing job market.
I learnt that discovering a fulfilling career isn't a one-shot endeavour but a dynamic journey, and in order to navigate this path, we must spend time in exploration, continuous research, and networking with diverse individuals to gain fresh perspectives and insights. This, in turn, opens the doors to new ideas and opportunities.
Having a growth mindset will help empower you to actively seek out new experiences, view challenges as opportunities, and cultivate adaptability, making your career journey not only more resilient but also filled with endless possibilities.”
If you’d like to learn more about this, we recommend watching the TED talk with Carol Dweck, who coined the term ‘Growth Mindset’.
Develop Your Adversity Quotient (aka Resilience)
Charles Perez Chee, Career & Executive Coach, Jubilant Careers
“The science of resilience or the adversity quotient (AQ) is about the ability of an individual to face difficult situations in life, recovering from setbacks and seeing opportunities amidst challenges. In today’s work environment, there is greater volatility (e.g. economic downturns) and ambiguity (e.g. ever-changing job scopes). These challenges in your career can be very unsettling. Without a strong AQ to help a person bounce back from hurdle after hurdle, it can easily lead to performance issues like greater anxiety, overwhelm, quiet quitting, etc.
The good news is that our AQ can be developed. First defined by Dr. Paul Stoltz in his book 'Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities', there are 4 key factors to growing our AQ, namely Control, Ownership, Reach and Endurance.
Control is recognising that we have the power to influence our environment, rather than seeing ourselves as victims.
Ownership is taking responsibility for our own life e.g. learning from our past mistakes.
The Reach factor involves going beyond one's comfort zone e.g. trying new things with a Growth Mindset.
Endurance is not giving up when things get tough, and discovering ways to persist on.
With a strong AQ, one is enabled to navigate the uncertainties of today’s work world and to feel empowered to discover new opportunities at work amidst a volatile environment.”
Kathryn Woof, Coach and Managing Director, 33 Talent
“Purpose is the fuel that goes into the tank that makes everything go. With the right amount of the purpose - or fuel - it’s amazing how motivated you can feel when you are faced with challenges, and how satisfied you can feel when you reach your goals. Purpose provides a sense of meaning so that you can make decisions with a goal in mind, feel clear on why you are doing things in the first place, and help you set milestones to reach along the way.”
You can watch Kathryn's video on Motivation and Focus to help identify your motivators and define your purpose.
As we've seen from these insights, the secret to a fulfilling career is multifaceted. It involves knowing who you are, adopting a growth mindset, seeking opportunities, even amongst challenges, and knowing your purpose.
Ultimately, the path to a fulfilling career is unique to each individual, but one thing we know for sure is that those who feel satisfied at work tend to have higher wellbeing in all areas of their lives. We encourage you to invest the time it takes to make your own plan for fulfilment and empower yourself to thrive.