Let’s talk about how the best moment in your preceding career could hold the key to where you’re going next in your professional path. For most of us, there are some truly golden moments where we’re able to bring together all of the pieces to pull something off in a truly career-defining way. Can you identify a moment that you consider to be a peak career experience? Hold it in your mind for a moment. Next, we’ll mine for gold buried within your golden moment.

While we’re in the middle of our peak career experience, we’re primarily focused on how the “victory” is linked with the specific objective of the moment. This objective can be anything from being an anchor in an acquisition to guiding a team in bringing a product to market. However, we have to look at our peak career moments through a different lens when the goal is to leap to a new role. When we’re looking forward, we have to reexamine those golden career moments to break down the components that made them both roaring successes and personally satisfying.

Dissecting a Peak Moment in Your Career

When using a peak career moment to plot your future, you have to look at the different threads that went into reaching your goal. This is how we find the right one to pull at! While the actual goal may have been a specific benchmark, your toolkit for getting there drew from many different technical, organizational, and interpersonal strengths. Here are some questions to answer as you go back for a play-by-play look at the career victory in your mind:

  • What skill(s) did I bring to the situation that most particularly equipped me to reach the goal?
  • What tools did I use to pull “the best” out of the other people working with me?
  • What did I find most satisfying about the experience aside from the actual goal that I reached?
  • Did I find that I was able to apply the lessons learned from that experience to future experiences in a way that is uniquely mine?

Everyone is going to have different answers to these questions. For instance, you may have discovered that what you enjoyed the most about an experience where you helped push a team through to the finish line on a grinding project was your role as a default coach and mentor. Could this mean that there’s an untapped “inner teacher” that was manifesting in every corporate role you took on without conscious awareness? For another person, stepping in to give input about tweaking the design of a product to keep a project in the black even though they were responsible for budgeting could be an indicator that there’s a “secret” product designer hiding behind the finance title.

What to Do Once You Identify the “Hidden Peak” Within Your Career Peak

Look over your answers to the questions above. What kind of image do they form when you put them all together? Is there a particular career role, job title, or professional genre where all of those strengths and “satisfaction points” fit together, ideally taking shape in front of you? Write down at least three job roles or “life purposes” where you can see these factors being important. In some cases, you may find that the answer is just a quick step to the left or right of your existing career. In other cases, you may discover that the success toolkit you’ve built up over decades in one field uniquely equips you to offer a value that’s all yours in a completely different corner of the professional universe.

Peter Sherer is a nationally recognized career coach who offers clarity and confidence to mid-career and senior executives in transition. His rigorous assessment tools enable his clients to identify a meaningful assignment that uses all of their skills and experience in just two short days. Learn more and get in touch with Peter today.