How to Manage Your Career Part 3: Taking Responsibility for Purpose

The First Half of the Journey (Stages 1 and 2)

In the two previous posts, we discussed the two stages of the first half of the career: taking responsibility for oneself (Stage 1) and taking responsibility for others (Stage 2). Those who have navigated these two stages well will tend to be successful in the conventional sense. They will tend to be promoted, increase their earnings, and gain acceptance and credibility among their professional communities. They have entered the stage of “stable, reputable positions”.

The first half of the career journey: taking responsibility for oneself (Stage 1) and taking responsibility for others (Stage 2)

The Transition to the Second Half of the Journey (Stages 3 and 4)

Somewhere in your 40’s, something begins to happen. A new perspective begins to emerge. You’ve been around the block now and have seen what there is to see. Some of the things that you used to be infatuated with begin to lose their luster. You also realize that you are getting closer than ever to the end of your career. An inner voice urges you to start doing whatever it is that you were meant to be doing…ASAP.

Stage 3: Developing Leadership and Taking Responsibility for Purpose

Returning to our mountain-climbing story… You and you group are now getting rather far up. You notice that there is no one else near you. Most people have finished their recreational hike and have turned back. You know that the summit is still a ways away, and test of the journey will be challenging (and potentially dangerous). You and your group decide to push on. The mountain is calling you.

The beginning the second half of the career journey: taking responsibility for purpose and solving challenging problems (Stage 3)

Focus on Internal Commitments

In the first half of the journey, one’s motivations tend towards the more extrinsic, such as, recognition, achievement, money, or just the desire to prove yourself to others. If you think about it, anyone can want money or recognition, those are not unique to you or your deepest wants.

Leverage Personal Talents

In the first half of the journey, we seek to be well-rounded. We learn our reading, writing, and arithmetic as school children. We then choose a professional discipline and learn the basic knowledge and skills for that field. Fundamental knowledge and skills are indeed necessary for us, but is only half of what we need.

Generate A Compelling Vision

Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

Summary of Career Stage 3: Purpose

The transition from Stage 2 to Stage 3 represents a major shift in life orientation. In Stages 1 and 2, we take the world as given, as larger than us. We then adapt ourselves to the world. In Stages 3 and 4, we begin to have the ability to change the world.



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Antonius Tsai

Antonius Tsai


My work is in helping people connect to their greater selves and authentic purpose. (