From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

July 2021
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Mentoring 5. “Right brain profiling”
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 7:43 am

Marci Alboher wrote about an approach
featured by Michael Melcher in his blog
(October 2, 2007) and book for finding
out what direction you might want your
career to proceed.

It involves “creating and evaluating a
Right-Brain File…”  “This is a way to collect
data that you aren’t ready to process. It
is based on the premise that applying your
analytical skills, alone, won’t get you the
life you want.”

The two authors present different strategies
for conducting your Right-Brain File. 
Melcher, the book author, suggests creating
a file and collect anything that tickles your
fancy into it. It could be an article, a photo,
a travel brochure, an email, an overheard
snatch of dialogue.

His “Right-Brain File consists mainly of articles,
but that’s just [him] me.” What you “put into your
Right-Brain File

  - might excite you, 
  - might intrigue you,
  - might make you boil with envy,
  - might just make you say, “huh.” “

“Later, once your file has grown, take a
look at what you’ve collected. What do
you see? Any patterns, inspirations,
insights?  What you have is a record of
what your right brain—the intuitive,
associative, non-logical part of you—has
noticed. It’s been noticing things, even
if you haven’t been able to put words
around it. Indeed, sometimes avoiding
putting words around your impulses is
one of the best ways to let them

Marci Alboher suggests learning from
people who know you and are in
different parts of your life.  To set up
the interviews, create a short
questionnaire (six to eight questions)
with questions like:

* What are three things I do really well?
* What are three things I don’t do so well?
* Based on what you know about me,
what job or experience have I liked the
best in the past?
* Based on what you know about me,
what job or experience have I liked the
* What are three things you can
imagine me doing?
* What’s something you can’t really
imagine me doing?
* How do I get in my own way?”

Now, I have collected a lifetime of
interesting articles but have never
thought to review them.  Maybe there
is something there?

The two blogs are interesting to view.

One Response to “Mentoring 5. “Right brain profiling””

  1. site admin Says:
    From Marci Alboher’s NYTimes blog is an
    interesting exercise and commentary….

    “For most of us, our goals are partly our
    own design and partly the internalization
    of messages about who we should be or
    what we should want.

    Consider a few common “shoulds”:
    • “I should make as much money as my
    business school classmates.”
    • “I should be a public-interest lawyer.”
    • “I’ve devoted a lot of years to my specialty,
    so I shouldn’t give it up now.”
    • “I should stay home with my children.”
    • “I should stick it out in my awful job rather
    than disrupting my family’s lives.”
    • “I should watch compelling foreign films
    instead of America’s Most Smartest Model.”

    Shoulds are fine if they take us in directions
    that are true to our personal values. But when
    they represent someone else’s values rather
    than our own, or reflect an earlier version of
    ourselves that is no longer relevant, they are
    a problem.

    Unexamined shoulds can set us down a path
    that will not serve us (“Everyone’s getting into
    hedge funds so I’d better not get left behind”)
    or they can block us from taking positive
    action (“I want to try something more
    entrepreneurial but I shouldn’t disrupt my
    family’s life”). Part of meaningful career growth
    is periodically making sure that your shoulds
    work for you. Interrogating your shoulds
    doesn’t mean denying them totally – they often
    have an aspect of truth to them. But it does
    mean holding them up to the light and
    developing a more sophisticated
    understanding of what they mean.

    In other words, don’t just accept shoulds at face
    value. Here’s a simple but powerful exercise.
    First, write out 10 “should” statements that
    relate in some way to your career. It’s easier
    than you think. Just start writing, “I should . . .”
    and see what comes out. Once you’ve written
    your shoulds, take a moment to reflect on
    who is actually speaking. Your mother?
    Your college roommate? Your spouse? T
    he New York Times Op-Ed page? You, circa
    1991? If any particular names come to mind,
    jot them down next to the appropriate statements.
    Finally, focus on four or five of the “should”
    statements that grab you. (I often feel a kind
    of tension in my gut for the heavy shoulds — l
    ike “you should be as impressive as the people
    in the alumni magazine.”) Now, restate your
    shoulds by writing longer versions about what
    is true and what is not true about them.

    Here are a couple of examples. “Should”
    statement: “I should stay home with my children.”
    Restated “should” statement: “I love my children
    and am a good parent. But that doesn’t mean I
    want to stay home with my kids. I would rather
    be a positive example of how to balance family
    and career.” “Should” statement: “Since I spent
    all those years getting a Ph.D. in anthropology, I
    should be working as a professor rather than in
    public relations.” Restated “should” statement:
    “I enjoyed school and am proud of how it
    opened my mind. But I know enough about
    academia to know that it’s not for me, and I
    really enjoy the pace of my job and the
    interactions I have with people.” After you’ve
    restated your shoulds, keep them around.

    Review them from time to time. It takes time
    and attention to rewrite our internal scripts,
    but it can be done. Once you do, you’ll be freer
    to focus your energy on what you really want, and
    who you really are.”

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