How to Find a Fullfilling Professional Life Part 1 | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

EP 2136 Many people experience ennui at best and hatred at worst for the choices they’ve made in their life, particularly in their career. My guest, Bill Priestley, and I speak about how to flip the switch and change to find greater satisfaction.


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Jeff 00:00
So, my guest today is Bill Priestley, the owner of the dream job factory, a coaching business geared around focusing dreams into careers using the dream job blueprint. Bill helps individuals from high school age to retirement, figure out that age old question, what do you want to do with your life? He's spoken to high school and college students about identifying dream jobs and coaches, mid-career professionals interested in a career change and he's also the author of the dream job blueprint e-book and online course spell. How the heck are you? Welcome.

Bill Priestley 00:39
Thanks for having me, Jeff.

Jeff 00:40
My pleasure, so, you and I both know, most people are clueless about finding a job, let alone figuring out how to find a fulfilling professional life, how would you suggest people start when they're saying to themselves? I've got I'm not happy with what I'm doing; all the people with the law school and suddenly discovered that I didn't want to be lawyers. Yeah, a whole bunch more. What am I sorry?

Bill Priestley 01:13
Well, I think it's important to start with the fact that we're not looking for one thing, preferences. You'll hear a lot of people say things to the effect of, well, music is my passion, or sports is my passion or business is my passion and they look at that, in terms of one thing and I think that's the true misconception of what it is, when you're starting to look for something and you're not looking for one thing out there. Because let's say for instance, I was doing this with a with a football coach one time and I said, football isn't your passion. Because I bet, I can find more than one thing about the football industry that you not only dislike, but perhaps completely hate, and would never ever want to do, for instance, field maintenance. I mean, it's part of the football industry, but you got to do it, somebody's got to do it. Marketing is absolutely part of the football industry.

But you don't want to do that. I said, coach, is that what you want to do? Yes, I want to coach football. So, we have to get a little bit more streamlined in terms of our effect of what we want to do. So, we haven't an interest there in football, we have an ability there in coaching and now we got to talk about who do you want to coach? Are we talking about high school? Or we're talking about college. Are we talking about pro? Are we talking about big city, small town division one, Division three, all those things? So, when you start this incredible journey, about trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, you're not looking for one thing? I think you're looking for three.

Jeff 02:59
Three, like what's yeah, three things are rare, should we stick with the football coach metaphor here? We use that example. So, in the case of the coach, what sort of three things should they be looking for?

Bill Priestley 03:15
Well, if that' what if you identify a passion around those three things, you're looking for an interest, something that you are really intellectually interested in something that stimulates you intellectually, something you can talk about for hours on end and not get bored and believe me, football coaches can talk about football for hours on end and not get bored. It's just amazing how much they can actually talk about the game. But then past that, what is it that you want to do within that industry, and of course, there are many things that you can do within the football industry, you can coach you can play, you can market, you can be sports information, you can be an athletic trainer, you can be a referee, you can be an administration, all of those things are connected to the game in some way, shape, or form.

So, what is it that you want to do within the context of that industry? and like I said before, then you're looking for Okay, what, who is the person that I really want to work for, and that is different, depending on what that job is. So, say for instance, if we're talking about an athletic trainer, and athletic trainers working for the players, a football coach is working for the players. An administrator perhaps is maybe looking at more of the bottom line, maybe they're looking at marketing, maybe they're looking at ticket sales, maybe they're looking at win loss percentage, or they're looking at a bigger picture type of thing. That's the entity that they're necessarily working for, in that particular respect.

So, like I said, when you're looking for that the three things, you're looking for an interest, which in this case is football, you're looking for ability in this case is coaching and you're looking for an audience. In other words, the person the idea that you want to be working with and working for and say, for instance, even if you take that down to the player, you'll notice that you can see this as well, if you follow football on a wider scale, the college game is geared around the team, in the professional game, offseason is geared around the individual, for instance, we're always talking about the draft or trades or things like that. But the football player, at least at the collegiate level is thinking about their teammates, they want to help the team. The teams that go on and win the Super Bowls, you can see this with the Patriots and other dynasties that have happened. They're in it for the team, the nucleus stays together, in baseball, the big red machine stayed together, and had all those great years with Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, and all those guys. So, they're playing for the team. You don't want to be on a team where everyone's playing for themselves. You don't want to be on a team where someone says, like Keyshawn Johnson did many years ago. Give me the ball. That kind of and I made sure I bleeped it out. But that's the duty that you want to be working for someone because that's also the essence of the job, your job would not exist if you don't do it for someone else, right? You are serving someone else's.

Jeff 06:28
Interest, we have to find specificity and what was the third one more time.

Bill Priestley 06:34
You have to find you an interest, you have to have an ability to build something that you do within the context of that interest and then the audience who is it that you want to work with. Or who is it that you want to work for?

Jeff 06:48
Got it so, let's use the example that I came up with earlier. I just graduated law school. So, my first year working for a law firm, oh, God, this is awful, and they've spent their entire life focused on fulfilling your parents� wishes being a lawyer and that's the story for a lot of lawyers. So, they've been so focused, they don't have a clue about what really interests them. So, they think, how do we help them get that clue what sort of work goes in at the front end, to identify the areas of interest?

Bill Priestley 07:28
Well, the areas of interest really, essentially bow themselves down to what is it that drives you intellectually, when you're talking about an interest, you're talking about something that, by definition, keeps your attention, if you are interested in it, and there are so many different things, and so many different ways that you can go about this as well. For instance, the obvious thing is something that you want to be interested in, like something that draws you to it, for instance, like football or sports or things that have those positive connotations on them, that you kind of want to be involved with, or things that draw you to them. In that at least those would be the case with me; you also have different ways of going about it. Whereas there are situations that you want to avoid.

For instance, you see a problem in the world that you would like to see go away, it's a bad thing, but it's got your interest because it keeps your attention. So, say for instance, if you're looking at, I know this isn't necessarily a dated reference. But if you want to get rid of AIDS in Africa, that's a big interest. If you talk about that, if you have that always gets your attention when it comes up, you want to do something about racial inequality, or you want to do something about climate change, or you want to do something about, a host of any of any other issues that that get your attention. Then it gets your attention then you're interested in the next question is what can you do to affect that situation positively? Another way kind of veering off that is answering the question, what are you scared of? Because what scares you?

Jeff 09:10
I love that one.

Bill Priestley 09:12
Because what scares you gets your attention, guess what if there's a snake in the room, and I'm petrified of snakes, but if there's a snake in the room, guess what? It's got my attention. Okay, that's going to happen. Nothing else is going to matter at that particular point in time. So, my next issue is alright, how do I alleviate this situation? Same thing with whatever it is that that anyone might fear, if you've got kids, there's a lot in the world to be scared of, that you can help sort of alleviate and that scares a lot of companies are in that business of trying to make the world safer. So, that's what we're talking about is finding something that gets your attention. That's the first thing that we want to go about doing when we're at a point where we think oh, gosh, there's nothing out there for me.

Well, yeah there's more than you think there is, when you take a look at the world, especially in the case where you're talking about a lawyer, if we are talking about lawyers, you're talking about a person that has been through a lot of school, a lot of training, they know probably a good bit about the world and you'll notice that in the higher profile areas of administration, you'll often find lawyers, certainly in politics, certainly in high levels of corporations, you will find people who have maybe not necessarily passing the bar type, lawyer, but you have people that have gone, they've gotten their MBA, they've done all that book work and they know a little bit more about the strategic pens of what they have to do to make a company or an organization better.

Jeff 10:47
When I work with people, I start off by helping them identify what it is about what they're doing. Now, they don't like, yeah, and quantify that. So, that this way, as they start to examine other things, they can use that as a benchmark to determine what they don't want to be doing in the next role because most people find that pretty easy to dismiss or reject or turn down. They know the negatives release; the positive ones are harder. So, I tend to start them off with what don't you like about being a lawyer? and from there, once they have that quantified, and we started working on the interests, the things that float the boat, get them a little interested? I sent them off on informational conversations with people who may be doing that kind of work.

Bill Priestley 11:47
That's more towards the tail end of what I do. But yeah, definitely, once you figure out those three things, then obviously talk to someone who's got the job and let's see if that really does flip your bill.

Jeff 11:57
It's fine. I'm so glad we're having this conversation because I do that earlier than you do. I'm going to be curious to see what you do differently. So, I send them off an informational conversation so they can feel the reality of what it's like to work in the profession. Because sometimes, the lawyer recreates being a lawyer by looking at being an accountant, for example, the same issues with repetitive work. Hellish schedules, or what have you get involved in next profession. So, before they go off for additional training, I want them to understand what it is really required and what the reality is. Now, you speak in terms of ability being the next thing. So, I'm curious about that. Tell me how you help people identify their ability and what ability means to you in the context of this transition?

Bill Priestley 12:53
Right, so, the first thing is, obviously, in figure getting an interest, there's a binary relationship there, either you like it, or you don't like it, you can set a bar there has high as you want. So, in other words, if we go down, if we create a list of interests, then we can say, alright, on a scale of 1 to 10, pick out the ones that are an eight or higher, and that those are the ones that are going to cross the bar. Essentially, when it comes to abilities, there are three different benchmarks that you have to pass in order to make this actually work. Number one, you've got to be able to do it. Obviously, if you want to do it as a career, you've got to be able to do it in the very plain a sense of the word. The benchmark that I would use is can you do it well enough to get paid for it?

In other words, you can ask me, Bill, do you play the piano? Yeah, I play the piano, I have an ability to play the piano, but nobody's going to pay me to play the piano. So, you've got that there? First off, but there are others obviously out there that if you ask them the same question, they may be, classically trained, and they can be paid for that that as well. So, that's the first benchmark. The second benchmark is do you want to do it. Say, for instance, we talked about football coaching or other aspects of the football industry, field maintenance is something that football coaches don't want to do? Just they just don't want to do it.

So, the question there is, again, another binary situation you have, do I want to do it? Do I not want to do it and if you want to do it, then we continue to? Can you do it for someone else? and 99 times out of 100? The answer to that question is yes. Unless you're talking about for instance, television being your interest, and watching it being your ability that's doesn't feed anybody else necessarily. So, we're talking about doing it for someone else, to the point and doing it well enough to be paid. So, those are least the three criteria of where we need to start now? How do we figure that out as far as the individual is concerned? Now we have to get into the hardest part what I think the hardest part is of the entire process, which is basically self-discovery, in terms of figuring out because one of the one of the really interesting things about life that I think is intriguing is that we tend to think of ability as something that is difficult. Like, if I say you have an ability to do this, that means whatever it is that I think you can do, I think is difficult. It's difficult for me, however, you may think that it's easy, because you can do it you got if you have a problem where you have A plus B equals and someone walks up to it and goes, well, the answer is C and they move on, someone else approaches and goes, A plus B is a banana and that's not right and they're just guessing and who knows what's going on and they say, well, that person got it.

So, they must have an ability to do this, therefore, this must be hard, and the other person thinks, well, no, that's, that's easy. Everybody should be able to do that. So, it's much tougher in that respect to try and figure out what we're good at. Because chances are, we usually think what we're good at is second knowledge, which is just common experience. You look at a problem, you go, oh, well switch this to this, and this to this, and you're done. You know, and that's it and we don't think twice about it. Whereas someone else may think that's really difficult than you think, oh, I can never do that. So, now we have to figure out, we have to look at what comes to you easily.


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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