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  • Diane L. Dunton

The Choices We Make


Career coaching is one of the services I offer through my consulting business. I began designing career workshops early in my career when I worked inside a company. When I left in 1996 to open my own business, Potential Released Consulting, I continued to offer this service. Though many years have passed (Potential Released celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016!), career coaching continues to be an aspect of my work that I thoroughly enjoy. The tools have changed over the years, but the questions jobs seekers ask and the challenges they face have not. Common questions include, “How do I know what direction my career should take?” and, for older workers, “What is important to me now? If I have to or want to keep working, how do I want to spend my time?”

I recently listened to an interesting episode of the Ted Radio Hour with NPR’s Guy Raz. “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions” first aired in March 2017. Through interview segments with journalist Malcolm Gladwell, Sheena Iyengar of Columbia Business School, Ruth Chang of Rutgers University, and Dan Ariely of Duke University, Guy explored the topic of decision making, including: the paralyzing effect of having too many choices; the steps involved in decision-making; how the environment we put ourselves in impacts our decisions; and why there are more likely perfect choices rather than a singular perfect choice.

How does all this relate to career coaching? I find clients are looking to make THE right choice in their job search or in deciding to accept a position. When I ask clients what they desire in a role or in their career, oftentimes money comes up first; but on further contemplation, money is further down the ladder. Challenging work, a stimulating environment, great colleagues, flexibility and the right tools to achieve results emerge as answers. In making a difficult decision, there may be no single “perfect” or right choice. Each situation, individual and company differs. Making decisions can be difficult but, as Ruth Chang explained to Guy Raz in the interview, committing to a decision creates your identity.

If you find you are struggling with your career choices and decisions, you are not alone. You might begin by listening to this Ted Talk to expand the way you’re thinking about the decision-making process.

Photo Credit: Doors image by Qimono used under CC0 Creative Commons.

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