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“Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it makes you happy.”

~ Megyn Kelly, Fox News host

 

career choiceMs. Kelly was a guest on the Charlie Rose show a couple of weeks ago.  She came across as a confident, self aware and thoughtful person who clearly values ideas and enjoys discussing them.  It was a fascinating conversation in which they talked politics, her relationship with Roger Ailes the former Chairman of Fox News, as well as her role in the Presidential debates.

But  there was more to the interview.  She was candid and insightful regarding her own career trajectory.

If you do not know, Ms. Kelley, a native of Syracuse, pursued a career in law and was a fairly accomplished litigator in Chicago.  She was driven to succeed.  She is very smart, and very savvy, all important qualities for a trial attorney.  But she knew, deep down, she really wasn’t satisfied.

She is not the first successful lawyer who has shifted career gears and she will not be the last.  As she walked Charlie through her career, she made a statement, almost in passing, that struck me as a very important  career management lesson that far too many ignore:

“Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it makes you happy.”

And so Ms. Kelly took a huge career risk, leaving the security of being a well-paid and valued law firm associate, on track to be becoming a partner, for a career in journalism, a profession not known for paying its entry-level reporters a lot of money.

It seems clear that Ms. Kelly is much happier as an anchor than as a lawyer.  She realized that while was she was good at what she did, practicing law did not provide the emotional fulfillment she sought in life.

Which brings me to the career tip of the day:  Just because you have earned an MBA or some other advanced degree with an eye to becoming a CEO, banker, or lawyer, for example, does not mean that you are cut out for that work.  You may be smart and you may enjoy it, but that does not make you good.  Or just because you’re good, have you achieved the critically important “emotional fulfillment” potential the position holds for you?

And there is the irony.

Take the time to think about what you are doing.  Do that which makes you fulfilled and happy.  I have written about this many times in the past but what better time to have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself than at the end of the year, normally a time for personal reflection.

Are you really happy with your work. Are you really successful?  Are you delivering value? Are you fulfilled?

Is 2017 the year you need to make a Megan Kelly change?