How Sparketypes Can Help You Love Your Career AgainSep 03, 2023
I spent my entire career trying to figure out why I was or was not happy at work. I always felt like I was a little bit different from everyone else. I would look around and wonder why everyone seemed so… content. Unbothered by the things that bothered me.
The first six months of any new job were amazing. And it didn’t really matter what job it was. Because for the first six months I was learning something new. I was figuring out how the organization, the people, the products, and the services worked.
I was learning about new marketplaces and competitors. I was noticing what was working and not working. I was identifying all the gaps in systems and processes. I was analyzing everything to the nth degree. And I was recommending fixes and putting together new strategies and systems to improve things.
I loved nothing more than figuring out what was going on - and then presenting the solution to managers, leadership, and teams and seeing that aha moment when they got it and understood the implications.
But once everything was fixed and improved, my job satisfaction level rapidly dropped. At the time I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know why I was suddenly bored and uninterested. I would try to figure out what was going on…
- Was it the company, the corporate culture?
- Was it the people I worked with, my team, my manager, the customers?
- Was it the position itself, my daily tasks?
- Was it the industry, the product, the focus area?
- Was it my overall career direction?
- Was it that I just didn’t know my purpose?
No matter how much analysis I did, I couldn’t figure it out. So I tried different things. I changed jobs. I changed industries. I changed tasks. I changed career directions. Finally, I decided to change everything and started my own business.
I didn’t figure it out until I started doing some deeper work into coaching and personality psychology. Through my training programs I learned more and more about myself.
I learned that I had a personality style that was not highly represented in society - and the puzzle pieces around why I was never happy when those around me seemed so content clicked into place. Most workplaces and job roles are set up for the most represented personality styles - aka - most people. But I wasn’t one of those people.
But my biggest lightbulb moment came when I discovered my Sparketype. Sparketypes is a personality psychology methodology developed by Jonathan Fields, author and founder of a crazy popular podcast, The Good Life Project, and based around his lifelong quest around happiness.
Sparketypes help you to identify your unique impulse for the type of work that makes you feel the most alive, and the type of work that drains you. Once you know your Sparketype, it becomes an amazing decision making tool to help you really analyze everything about your current work or new positions and identify exactly what really energizes you and what doesn’t.
When you take the Sparketype Assessment, you get three results: Your Primary, Shadow and Anti-Sparketype:
- Your Primary Sparketype represents the impulse for the work that makes you feel most alive.
- Your Shadow Sparketype represents your second strongest impulse for work that makes you feel alive, but is often used in support of your Primary Sparketype
- Your Anti-Sparketype represents the type of work that drains you the most, is a harder lift. This is work where you may have developed a strong skill set, but while you may be good at it, it still drains you.
I discovered that my Primary Sparketype is Scientist, where the main impulse is to “figure things out”, which pretty clearly explained all the analysis and figuring things out I loved doing in the first six months of any job.
My Shadow Sparketype is Sage, where the main impulse is to “awaken insight”, which explained why I loved presenting my solutions to others and seeing that aha moment.
My Anti-Sparketype is Nurturer, where the main impulse is to give care and support. This was an interesting one, and at first I didn’t know how it fit in. But when I read more about the Nurturer Sparketype, I learned that it’s highly service oriented, and is about giving personal care and support. And this didn’t only apply to a typical “caring” profession, such as nursing, but can show up strongly in any profession, including business as the person who is really fulfilled by taking care of all of the needs and supporting a team over time.
So this, to me, explained why staying in a job once the initial problem solving work had ended, and giving support and care to the product or the team over the longer term actually drained me - and why I started to feel unhappy and bored (and admittedly quite guilty about that).
When I look back over my career using the lens of Sparketypes I can now clearly see exactly what was happening in each position. I can identify the type of work that really made me feel alive, and the type of work that drained me. I also realized that I stayed in jobs sometimes too long because I felt like I “should” be more of a nurturer, I should want to stay and support these products and people.
I also noticed that there were a couple of jobs I did stay at for a much longer time than others. These were jobs where I was able to change positions in the company relatively frequently. So I was able to move from learning about a position and solving one problem to learning about another position and solving the next problem. This kept me in my Primary and Shadow Sparketype, and then the Nurturer part of the position was given to someone else.
There were also jobs where I held a variety of positions within one position, and they were highly project based. This also fit my Scientist and Sage Sparketypes because I was again able to solve a new project problem, and sometimes multiple project problems at once.
Knowing my Sparketype and doing this retro-active review of my previous work gave me enormous insight that I use today for my career. Or should I say careers.
The first thing I realized is that I didn’t have to choose between two career directions I loved. I wanted to have a coaching business AND I wanted to continue being a marketing strategist. So I decided that my Sparketype fit ideally into a portfolio career, and today I run a coaching business that lights me up, and I partner with a marketing agency to create marketing strategies for their clients.
The second thing I realized is the type of coach I want to be, and what I really want to focus my coaching around. I am a Scientist and Sage coach focused on helping people solve the puzzles of their careers (or business!), and connect who they are to work they love.
This is highly project based coaching. While other coaches I know love supporting people emotionally over the long term, I come alive when I’m helping people solve a puzzle, see the solution, and then move on to the next person.
Knowing my Sparketype has also given me an immense sense of relief. I am ok being exactly who I am. There are reasons why I was unhappy at work, there are reasons why workplaces that worked for others didn’t work for me. There was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t know how I was wired and what specifically look for in positions.
If I had a tool like Sparketypes back when I was in my early career, I realize I would have been able to discern the positions and companies that would best fit me. I would have realized I needed to do project work where I could solve a problem, share the solution, see that aha moment and then move onto the next project and problem. And I would have stayed away from work that required ongoing care and maintenance, or realized it was time to move on when that happened.
But what I can’t change about yesterday, I can change today. And best of all, I can help other people get the answers they need around their work. I can help others learn more about who they are, understand the type of work that makes them come alive and the work that drains them. I can help other people start moving their career in a direction that brings them energy, and makes them feel fulfilled and on purpose.
So if you’re feeling stuck, frustrated and tired in your work and don’t know why, Sparketypes can help. And if you’re considering changing positions, but aren’t sure what your ideal next step is, Sparketypes is an ideal decision making tool.
You can take the Sparketype assessment for free RIGHT HERE. When you take the assessment, you'll receive an email with your results and some additional reading. Take some time to read through your results and make sure they resonate with you. Think about your current work and reflect back on your career and see where you felt sparked and energized because you were using your Primary and Shadow Sparketypes, or drained and depleted because you were in your Anti-Sparketype too much.
You can also sign up for a Sparketype review session with me to review your results in more detail RIGHT HERE.
About the Author: Nicole Croizier is a Certified Sparketype Advisor, Senior Professional Career Coach, Master Certified Soul's Calling Coach & Facilitator, and on the leadership team for the International Association of Career Coaches. She combines her 20 years of experience in marketing, recruiting, career development, and resume writing to help passionate professionals decode their career discontent, reignite their career spark, identify their ideal job, and transition to meaningful work they love.
She's helped hundreds of passionate professionals, coaches, consultants and solopreneurs spark their work through her own programs and as a coach instructor for Martha Beck's Wayfinder Coach Training and The Soul's Calling Academy. If you’re looking for a career transition magician, then book a career strategy call with Nicole now or explore her programs below: