How to find your focus

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

As Marie Kondo would say – does it spark joy? No, not your Tupperware drawer – your career!

Many project managers would consider themselves a jack of all trades, ready to jump head-first into any project, but consultant advisor and mentor Laura Dallas Burford believes this approach may no longer be best.

In this podcast, Laura speaks with Elise Stevens about why it’s so important for project managers to find their focus. In a market that’s segmenting, particularly in complex project delivery, potential clients want to know what you’re passionate about and how that lines up with your strengths, skills and experience.

Elise’s focus is promoting and supporting women project managers. Check out Laura’s profile as part of the Celebrating Women in Project Management series.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Project managers must understand why and what they’re doing in order to be successful, particularly if they’re starting a new consulting business or applying for a new job.
  • To find your focus, it’s important to consider three things:
    • Who are you? What matters to you and how do you define success both personally and professionally?
    • What are your strengths and expertise? How can you build on yourself?
    • Where is the demand? Who is going to pay you?
  • Being a jack of all trades can sometimes mean being a master of none.
  • Your focus does not have to stay the same throughout your entire career. It can grow and evolve over time.
  • Being genuine and credible is more important than knowing everything.
  • It’s normal to be anxious as you begin to find your focus and you shouldn’t expect to get it right the first time.
  • Trusting your gut and giving something a go, even if it doesn’t work, is better than falling back on something you’ve done before.
  • It’s important to have a support structure for the days when you doubt yourself.

About Laura Dallas Burford:

Laura Dallas Burford, MA, PMP leverages more than 30 years of management consulting experience to help business professionals grow their consulting businesses with her proprietary approach The Consultant Model. The model starts by helping professionals clarify their focus so that they engage with their ideal client and build relationships that lead to proposals, signed contracts and paid work.

Laura offers project management and consulting seminars and training, writes blog articles, and has a YouTube channel focused on consulting insights. She is the author of Project Management for Flat Organizations, a 2013 Small Business Book Awards winner.

You can connect with Laura on LinkedIn.