You can gain so much by hearing other people’s career stories, but you have to listen carefully and in special ways. After interviewing over 300 guests on Career Buzz, and hearing thousands more stories in our CareerCycles practice, I’d like to share these five ways to listen and learn, next time you hear a career story — like on Career Buzz this Wednesday 11 to noon, or by listening to our amazing archive of career stories.

1. Listen for clues and inspired actions. It’s not one thing after another, it’s one thing because of another. Listen for clues that people followed which led them to take action. Clues can be external like a conversation with a friend, or internal, like a thought or feeling about the situation.

2. Notice changes in working identity. As we progress through our careers and lives, we change how we identify ourselves. Identity statements sound like I am a… or I was a… For example, I was an engineer; now I’m a career professional and entrepreneur. Changing working identity doesn’t happen easily, and if you understand how someone else changed their working identity, you’ll have clues about how you can change yours.

3. Understand their lessons learned. I like to ask Career Buzz guests what they learned about making career and life choices from their own lived experience. Listen to their answers because you can gain a lot from others’ hard won self-awareness. It can save you years. If you listen to archived Career Buzz stories, it’s the last question I ask.

4. Borrow relevant language, especially about strengths. After helping thousands of clients, I’ve noticed how hard it can be for people to name their unique strengths, skills and knowledge. That’s why I always ask Career Buzz guests what strengths they draw on to be successful. Their surprising answers can help you name your own strengths.

5. Tune into yourself to integrate what you learned. We live in a fast paced world super-saturated with stories. It’s too easy to hear one and quickly move on to the next. Stop! Listen! Ask yourself: What have I heard that’s relevant to my present situation and will help me in my career and life?

If you need help figuring out what your own story is telling you about next steps, try an exploratory consultation with one of our amazing team of career professionals.

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Lodro Rinzler began meditating as a child and sat retreats as a teenager, even going as far as attending a silent month-long retreat during which he shaved his head and took monastic robes and vows. He’s now a meditation practitioner and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Lodro is author of The Buddha Walks into the Office and will be leading a session in Toronto this Friday. Listen for Lodro’s clues, inspired actions, and changes in working identity.

Where can a degree in commerce & sports marketing take you? Before holding key leadership positions in the non-profit world, Mike Fenton worked with Tennis Canada, Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows. Ontario Gymnastic Federation, and Marketing Magazine. These earlier career experiences opened up opportunities, and Mike became CEO of NABS, and then ED of two more nonprofits. Hear Mike’s career story and how volunteering helped develop his career

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