Do you ever look in the mirror and ask yourself where the “real” you went? After having a baby or losing a job, all of a sudden you realize that you are no longer in touch with the “old” you, and you’re not quite sure who the “new” you is? Where did that person go or better yet, who are you now?

Being out of the workforce for any reason can cause us to lose our identity because we are so connected to our work that often our jobs become who we are. Any separation from that job, whether for motherhood or other reasons, can sever our relationship with the self that we are accustomed to being.

Now you are ready to reinvent yourself and re-enter the workforce or change professions, but what do you have to offer? Perhaps you are so out of touch that you don’t know where to begin.

The answer is there within you if you take the time to unveil it. What you have to offer is much greater than any position you have held in the past or will attain in the future. Your core essence transcends all of your jobs and is the unique value that you bring to everything you do. This needs to be an internal journey. If you look to others to validate your accomplishments, you are confusing a desire for fulfillment and life purpose with the need for recognition. This external validation will not give you the foundation you need to uncover your purpose and focus.

A clear understanding of what you have to offer gives you the sense of purpose and direction you need to move your life and career forward.

Ask yourself these five questions to start:

  1. What do you like about yourself right now? What do you dislike?
  2. Describe a successful situation when you felt totally fulfilled and alive.
  3. What did you personally contribute to this situation to make it successful?
  4. What do these qualities tell you about your value proposition?
  5. What do these qualities tell you about where you should focus your career efforts?

We feel most fulfilled and alive when our strengths are aligned with our work.

Marcia Reynolds states in her book, Wander Women: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction,

When you are clear about what you are meant to offer the world in a larger sense, you are better able to make in-the-moment decisions as well as significant life choices. Your sense of purpose gives you both the contentment and direction you’ve been missing.

When you are clear about what you have to offer, you can look in the mirror and recognize immediately the “real” you. This is a reflection of your core essence and value that is not defined by a job but does indeed help you to find the right career.