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What do you think: are you happy in your engineering job? Is your career panning out like you expected? Are there things about it you wish could be better? Are you still looking for the right workplace, the right engineering position, the right team environment? 

Maybe you’re wondering how you can be more comfortable in this engineering world. How you can find the place where you make a difference. How you can get to the point where you feel at the heart of it instead of outside looking in.

Today I’m gonna share a piece of advice with you that I wish someone had shared with me long ago:

Find out who you are and do work that resonates with that. 

And beyond just giving you the advice, I’m gonna set the stage to help you follow it. 

In the beginning (of your career) there is you and there is your work. At first you’re paying a lot of attention to your work. 

Identifying a field you like. Finding the right organizations and opportunities. Getting a job. Learning how to work as an engineer and professional. Getting familiar with the organization’s mission and your responsibilities, etc.

Even later in your career, you pay a lot of attention to what work you’re doing, what technology is having an impact, what opportunities to focus on, who to work for and with, how to approach your particular job, how to solve this particular problem, etc.

You’re paying a lot of attention to your work – and that is important – but you’re not paying a whole lot of attention to you. Are you happy in your work? Are you feeling satisfied and fulfilled? Optimizing your work situation will only get you part of the answer. 

Here’s the thing:

If your work resonates with who you are, then satisfaction and fulfillment follow. 

If your work resonates with who you are, you’re more likely to be motivated and making a difference, to be in the flow. You’ll be energized.

The only way you can know if your work is resonating with you, if you and your work are in sync, is to know yourself, to know the elements of who you are and what you bring and let that lead you. 

I’m suggesting that instead of identifying with your job or tech area, identify with yourself. And I’m going to teach you how you can do that using a concept called your energetic center.

How Your Energetic Center Leads You to a More Fulfilling Career

Identifying with your energetic center instead of identifying with your work will serve you better in your career. Because there’s a lot about your job and your work that you can’t control, and there’s a lot about your energetic center that you can. 

Your job can be taken away. Your funding can disappear. Your customers can change their minds. Any number of outside forces can interfere. But you are constant. You’re changing and growing and becoming, of course. But you’re still you. 

Identifying with your energetic center instead of identifying with your work increases resilience, builds confidence, and ensures some stability in this unstable world. 

Identifying with your energetic center helps you stay true to yourself. It puts your energy in the center as the touchstone.

Work that resonates is drawn to you and your vision is created around you. Not the other way around.

Identifying with your energetic center enables opportunities that are in sync with it. By allowing your energetic center to lead you to these opportunities, you have a much greater chance of reaching your potential as an engineer and leader. 

This is how your life and career experiences can be most fulfilling, how you will reach performance excellence with enjoyment, intrinsic motivation, and harmony with others. 

The 4 Elements that Power Your Energetic Center

Your energetic center is where your values, skills, strengths, and passion meet. You can imagine – you can feel – that this combination of elements is very powerful. 

I have a whole workshop on your energetic center that includes some in-depth guidance on how to identify and define all the elements of your energetic center. And you can contact me if you want to hear more about that. Here, though, I’m only giving you a brief description.

  1. Values are those ideas or concepts that you live by. Identify your values and choose the 2 or 3 that are most important to you today. 

Apply your values to your goals, your decisions, and your interactions with people. Ask yourself, “What am I doing today, and how does that apply to my values?”

  1. Skills are what you bring from your training and experience. You can assess your skills by considering your education, employment, learning, and life experiences. 

And you can further characterize and strengthen your energetic center by adding to and developing your skills with intention. For example, beyond simply learning and training, learn more about what you love and choose training resources that are motivating for you.

  1. Strengths are where you excel. You can identify your strengths by assessing what you know about yourself and what others know of you, and by highlighting from your resume what you’ve done well in past work. 

In light of your energetic center, consciously select work that involves your strengths. Consider how you can apply them in your tasks and assignments. Communicate your strengths to others so that the right kind of opportunities come to you.

  1. Passion is what drives you. Your passion may already be obvious, or it may take time to develop. You can find it by paying attention to what you love, what people seek your input for, and what ideas you seem to keep coming back to. 

You can apply mindfulness to help clarify your passion and further define your energetic center. For example, bring the topic up often. Use meditation to expand on it. Write about it and talk about it with others.

Now think about bringing all 4 of these elements together and what it would be like to use this energetic center as the power and guidance for your career. Nothing can be more powerful to you than the energy that comes from within.

How to Use Your Energetic Center to Navigate Your Engineering Career

The idea here is to take the time to figure out what these elements are and keep them in focus. Allow and enable them to help you grow and have a meaningful career. Here 3 ways you can do this:

As your career progresses, your energetic center will become clearer and stronger. No matter what happens, your energetic center stays intact. This is what you have to bring, and it’s valuable.

Most women learn throughout life to not put themselves first. But in the case of your engineering career, it’s imperative that you do. 

You’ll own your career and be happier in it. Your satisfaction and fulfillment will lead to quality work and greater impact. Good news for both you and your employer. 

Focusing on your energetic center is a shift from the way you’ve learned to approach your career. It defines your work in terms of what is meaningful. It doesn’t allow your work to define you. You are at the heart of all that you do.

Recap: Today’s topic is your energetic center and how it can ensure happiness in your engineering career. We talked about the importance of doing work that resonates with you. 

I introduced the concept of your energetic center and described it’s 4 elements. Then we closed with some suggestions for how to use your energetic center to lead you to a meaningful career.

Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast, we’ll take a look at how far we’ve come as women engineers. Stay tuned for Episode 23.