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Encore Careers – What’s Your Expertise?

As you begin to evaluate your encore career, it is important to establish your core values as a tool for discovering your encore career. The next step is to determine what skills or expertise you have that align with what you define as your personal values.

In order to do this, you must look back over your experiences to find those things that you’re not only good at, but you really enjoy doing. Face it. There are lots of things you’re good at that you dread doing. But, what’s the sense of creating an encore career that has you doing anything but what you most enjoy?

Uncovering those things that you most enjoy that you’re good at is a great next step on your internal journey of discovery for your ideal encore career. Take some quiet reflection time, and ask yourself these seven must-ask questions:

1. What do/did I enjoy most about my current career? This is a terrific place to start. Write down every thing you like about your work, that puts a smile on your face. If the challenge (and enjoyment) are long gone from the work you do, think back to the beginning. What excited you about the work? What pulled you out of bed in the morning that you couldn’t wait to do?

2. What do I most enjoy learning? Over the years, you’ve most likely invested a lot of time and energy in learning. Only include what you learned for the simple joy of it. Please leave out what you either “had to” learn for your work, or what you learned for the people you love, but didn’t light you up.

3. What do other people always come to me for? This is a great one. I’ll bet there are a number of things that the people in your life consistently ask you for. It might be for your ability to see the big picture, help solving a problem, or just to be heard. These are great clues as to what you’re good at. Again, only write down the ones you really enjoy doing.

4. What do I discount as valuable because I do it so effortlessly? For years it never occurred to me that my energetic, enthusiastic cheerleading would be something that I could earn a living at, because it’s just part of who I am, and I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl. But, my coaching, writing and presenting make good use of this gift, and that I get paid for it is a wonderful bonus.

5. What do I love so much that I would pay someone to let me do? Okay, so now you’re sworn to secrecy. I love my work as a coach and workshop leader so much that I would gladly pay my clients to let me coach them, and my Boot Camp participants to let me inspire them. Of course, one needs to make a living, but it’s a great way to feel about the work that you do. Your ideal encore career should feel like this.

6. What am I doing when I lose all track of time? They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s true for me when I’m designing a new keynote, workshop or Boot Camp. Hours pass and it feels like minutes; my creative juices are flowing and I’m having a blast. When does time fly for you?

7. What do I love to do just for the sake of doing it? I love presenting. Being up in front of people, sharing my passion, knowledge and expertise thrills me. It never gets dull, I never get bored, and it gives me the opportunity to meet interesting new people all the time. What do you love to do this much?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a valuable piece to add to your “What’s My Ideal Encore Career” puzzle. Your answers should begin to reveal some of the essence of your ideal encore career picture.

Remember, in order to find your ideal encore career, it’s imperative that you determine what it is you want first, then get down to the nuts and bolts of how to get it.

Copyright (c) 2009 Lin Schreiber, A Certified Retirement Coach. She is the author of the popular ABC’s of Revolutionizing Retirement, helps self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement” by designing a new encore life that includes a fulfilling encore career. To claim your free Encore Career Starter Kit, visit her site at http://www.EncoreCareerStarterKit.com.