Sense of Purpose and Empowerment: Deb Elbaum’s Advice on How to Find Fulfillment in Your Life and Career
We’ve heard experts say it before: to succeed in life, you have to know what you want in life. This sounds easy, but many people actually get “stuck” in their careers because they can’t seem to apply this advice to their life.
Helping people become “unstuck” is Deb Elbaum’s mission as a career and life coach. Deb is a former physician who now works as a coach to assist people in their journey towards finding career success. She has a CPCC certificate from the Coaches Training Institute and an ACC certificate from the International Coach Federation.
Besides her professional training, Deb draws lessons from her personal experience to help people with their careers. Coaching is something Deb discovered while she was getting burned out in her prior career. At the time she was a medical writer—a job that felt more like a “have to do” rather than “want to do.”
Deb believes that daily activities that give us purpose are necessary to a person’s happiness. She says:
“Our happiness is directly correlated with our sense of feeling purposeful. When we’re connected to some purpose during our day—whether professional or personal—we feel calmer, more patient, and happier. In contrast, when we go through our days feeling like there’s no purpose to what we’re doing, it’s easier to feel impatient, frustrated, and sad.”
Deb talked to Federal Resume Writer about her top career advice and the secret to finding fulfillment in a career.
Know your choices
Knowing our choices gives us a sense of power and control over our life. A study by the American Psychological Association found that this autonomy influences a person’s well-being and happiness. Thus, the secret to becoming personally and professionally successful is “to recognize what is in your control.”
Deb explained further:
“Even with all of the constraints on us, we always have a choice. In fact, not choosing is a choice.”
Deb has three questions to help you evaluate your choices.
- What is in my control right now?
- Given my all these choices, what am I choosing to do?
- Why is this my choice?
Deb believes that knowing why gives us a sense of purpose:
“This question points to your values and priorities and reminds you of what’s really important to you. Knowing our “why” reminds us of who we are, which is always empowering.”
Deb’s Top 5 Advice: How to get “unstuck”
Whether you’re looking for a job or are feeling stuck, Deb’s advice will help you get back on track and taking bold and brave steps to success.
Get your story straight:
“One of the most important things you can practice is answering the question about why you are looking for a job, and why that job in particular. If your last job didn’t end well, remember that you get to tell the story the way you’d like, from the perspective that you think will serve you best going forward.”
- It’s all who you know:
“Networking matters! When you’re looking for a job, you should be talking to everyone you know; you never know where a potential lead will come from.”
- Confidence is critical:
“In my work, I coach people to build and step into confidence. When you’re confident, you project energy that attracts and impresses people.”
- Power Posing works!
“I use a lot of Amy Cuddy’s research and her TED talk in my coaching. One easy way to feel our most confident is to Power Pose for two minutes before any situation we feel unsure about—especially an interview, presentation, or networking event.”
- Be kind to yourself:
“When you’re having a tough day, bring in self-compassion. When you’re trying to figure out what to do next, think about what you want to give yourself permission for. You may need to give yourself permission to say ‘NO’ to something so you can say ‘YES’ to something else.”
Interviews: Your Opportunity to Negotiate
One of the most dreaded parts of the job search is the interview. Debs says interviews are about finding the right fit for the company. She added:
“During the interview, don’t worry if it’s the perfect job or not. Instead, use the interview to let them know how great you are, and to learn about the company and its people, to see how good a fit it will be for you.”
Deb advises job seekers to ask questions about the company and the position they want to fill.
During interviews, job seekers should be straightforward with their salary requirements and must be ready to negotiate. A study by Interview Success Formula found that 42% of U.S. professionals are uncomfortable negotiating wages. This hesitation can cost these people up to $500,000 by the age of 60.
Deb advises her clients to think about their salary requirements in advance so they won’t be caught off guard when asked about pay.
Build Your Confidence
When coaching clients, Deb pays close attention to those who’ve lost their confidence and are finding it hard to reintegrate themselves back into the workforce. She works with women who took a break from work to raise a family and guides them in the process of finding a job and settling in. She said:
“Going back to work can be a huge transition. In addition to figuring out the logistics and getting used a different weekly and daily routine, one of the other common issues is rebuilding professional confidence. Being a stay-at-home parent can sometimes erode someone’s feeling of professional competency.”
Career coaches like Deb are a huge help for people having a difficult time with their job search or their current career. They provide support and expertise that boosts people’s confidence—making them believe in themselves again.
“I love helping people transform self-doubt into confidence. All of my clients—through coaching—become more confident and trust their decisions more. They do amazing things! They start businesses, become leaders at work, and bravely try things they’ve always wanted to try.”
Thank you, Deb, for sharing your wisdom about life and career choices!