So over the last two years I’ve been working with lawyers.
A whole bunch of lawyers in professional services across three different companies and one of the things that can happen is early on in their career they generalise.
They have a whole bunch of experiences, they get a whole bunch of qualifications, and what they don’t want to do is limit their opportunities in the future.
The problem with that is eventually they cap out. Eventually their ability to command more money in the market and to have a profile in the market reduces because people don’t know what to see them for.
If you’ve got a similar problem where you’re too general and you don’t know what to specialise in, I’m going to share with you a framework for career specialisation that will not just help you decide what you want to be an expert in, but give you a heap more satisfaction in your career and your life.
Career specialisation is a topic that if you get right ultimately you can be more satisfied and earn more. If you don’t do it, if you stay general, you can cap out and stagnate in your career, so…
As I said I’ve been working with groups of people and they’ve ultimately said to me “Well I don’t know what I want to do.” so if you’re one of those, here’s the framework I use.
Choosing your specialisation is a combination of reflecting and getting clarity on two elements. We want to get clear on what you love to do. What are you really into, what turns you on, what are those unique abilities that you’ve got, what would be for you endlessly fascinating if you had to do it for 10 to 20 years? OK? It’s a big question, right? It’s a big timeframe. But what would you love to do over that time? If over that time you HAD to do something, what things would you do? Now, I look at two things in that.
There’s a previous blog I’ll link to which was about finding passion in my “Career Compass”. That’s more about what you’re not passionate about to find what you are passionate about. That will help you work out what it is that you love to do.
There’s a second model which is my model that I teach around “Genius” which is about saying of all the things that you can do have a think about the three things that you do that are unique and that only you can do? That you do in a special kind of way right?
So a combination of thinking about your passion, thinking about the things that you do in a special kind of way. What are those things that you love to do? Now for example one of the lawyers I was working with, she is in the employment area, they do a lot of negotiation between employees and employers, the bit she loves is when those things go wrong. She loves being able to get everyone back on track and talk to them in a way, mediate in a way that helps it all out. And for her, that’s a really special skill because not everyone can do that. She’s really passionate about it so actually she loves to do it. Which is a big tick.
Now the interesting thing about that is you might love to do something but there may be no market for it. Right, you may love to go swim at the beach… No-one will pay you for it, right?
So it’s a combination of then knowing in the future – What will the market value and what will they pay for? So if you choose to be an expert in something, for the next 10-20 years, you don’t really want a pipeline on that that’s only one year. You want to get a sense that it’s something that the market’s going to value over a period of time and will continue to value because funnily enough, people who value something tend to want to pay money for it.
The second is that you care about the impact or the service or serving a certain group of people and the impact it has on that group of people. You actually care about the value that it has to others and they’re willing to exchange money for it.
So here’s the thing, if you’re choosing a career specialisation and you’ve been general for a period of time, you might be an executive manager, and you’re doing a range of things and you know in your heart what you’d like to do is carve out a new career in a new space, think about what you could specialise in that might be a combination of what you’d love to do, use your genius and your passion but also something that delivers incredible value to other people. Where there’s a market for it and it could have an impact.
You may need to watch this once or twice over the next 6 months to really think about these questions because they’re not easy to think through. I reckon it took me a year to 18 months before everything really sat with me in a way that I got my own clarity.
Once you’ve done that, get in contact with me, either leave me a comment or get in contact with me.
What have you chosen as your specialisation based on what you love to do and your value to others?