The Toughest Career Questions and How to Gain Clarity
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

black man in suit thinkingIf you’re a thinker and an innovator, you’ve often spent your life asking questions. Should I do this? Should I do that? Is that the right way to go? Is this the right choice? We also ask questions to get to the meaning behind things, especially when evaluating ourselves and our work lives. Why can’t I get a promotion? Why should I do this task? Why do I want this job?

Many question can be backed by curiosity and evaluation. Others are motivated by fear and hesitation. Forbes contributor and career coach Sarah Vermunt offers some key questions to ask yourself when evaluating your life and career, and how you can throw fear to the wind through a healthy question-and-answer process. She writes:

I learned the “5 Whys” tool from Martha Beck, a coaching mentor of mine. Here’s how it works. You identify a stressful thought or an action related to your career or business (e.g., I should quit my job), and then you drill down the rationale behind that thought by asking why five times, going deeper each time.

I use this exercise to help my clients get a better understanding of their thought processes — to determine whether the thought is true, or is simply misguided. You start with a thought or inclination, and with each why you drill down closer to the motivating assumption. Let’s try:

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.