Your career is important. Here’s my logic…
There are 365 days in a year; 104 weekend days and 11 public holidays. Let’s say you get 3 weeks of vacation time (15 days). You spend 235 days working a year. What?! That’s the majority of your days!
How many of those 235 days are you all fired up? (Wait a second, you do remember what that feels like, right?)
How many times do you say: this is exciting, this is fun, and wow I’m good at this.
How many times do you: laugh out loud, smile with teeth showing, and eyes twinkle.
Can you imagine if most of those days you were fired up? Imagine: what if you radiated joy? How would your life be different? How would you feel if you said wow I’m good at this a couple times a week.
I get it. Thanks to a couple decisions you fell into this line of work. Maybe you don’t even remember how you got here. Maybe it was the money (if that’s the case, you obviously sold yourself short because you are reading this). Stop this train of thought, for now. Let’s focus on the present and the future, for now.
You’re here now, looking around, and asking yourself –
Is this what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of my life?
How does that question feel? What do you immediately think of when you ask yourself that question? Do you hear a voice screaming, HELL YES? Shouldn’t that be the goal?
You deserve a HELL YES response.
Let’s get there, together.
I’ve been doing lots of self-reflection lately. These are the three questions I’ve been asking myself. I’ve had the best clarity when I’ve asked them in this order.
- What am I good at?
- What brings me joy?
- What does the world need me to do?
Why these questions and why ask them in this order?
I answer the questions in this order because I believe feeling successful and feeling joyful is important. I also believe that I deserve to be paid for being successful and being joyful. I believe that organizations and the world want me to feel successful and joyful. They know that I am the most productive and most engaged when I am feeling that way.
What am I good at?
This question helps get clear on what you do well. What skills, talents, competencies, whatever you want to call it, do I have. Think of the times that a co-worker, friend or partner asked you for help – what was it for specifically? What are you known for? But just as importantly, what comes easily to you?
Start by listing out competencies, like these:
- Problem solving
But don’t forget to include all those softer skills and talents you have. They are just as important. Like these:
- Building relationships
- Understanding people
Now list out the skills or “required knowledge” you’d see on job descriptions. Maybe you have a degree or a certification, and thanks to that training, the associated knowledge and skills come easily to you know. Like these:
- Adobe Flash
You should have a nice big long list. And if you don’t have at least twenty things, you are selling yourself short. No one is reading this list, go on brag and toot your own horn. Now is not the time to say – well that doesn’t come that easily to me, or it comes so much easier to so-and-so. Shut that little voice up.
You are smart. You are talented. You deserve this.
What brings you joy?
This is a great question to acknowledge the fun, the joy and the happiness that you deserve.
What gets you fired up? What are you doing when you lose all track of time and place? How do you fill your free time? Look around your house, what’s hanging on your walls? What’s filling your space? If you were thumbing through a catalogue of courses, which would you love to sign up for?
Don’t include people on this list, more on that in another post. Let’s stay focused on those 235 working days a year.
Now go beyond your hobbies or extra-curricular activities. Like these:
- Getting to know new people
Did you see what happened, right there? Some of the examples are repeated from the previous question. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.
Lots of the things you enjoy are things you are also good at. Of course there are things that you enjoy that you may not be good at, in my case painting. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying painting. I just paint less often, and do the things that I enjoy and I’m good at, like cooking, more often. Why? Because I want to be successful even at the things we enjoy, that’s natural (psst. nobody likes feeling like a failure).
What does the world need me to do?
This is the last question because you deserve to feel successful and joyful every day. Make it a priority by asking those questions first.
Review your answers to the first two questions. Which of those talents and joys will someone pay you to complete? You may have to do some research on the current job market and emerging trends. Read articles and review job descriptions. Think about the past: what have you been paid to do that has brought you success and joy?
Find the sweet spot!
At this point, you should have a list of possible careers or job titles that are based on your passions and talents. What a concept!
Passions and talents that become a job are the best careers. You get paid, you feel successful and you’re happy being there. Companies love it when you’re in the sweet spot too – you’re more engaged and more productive.
In the past you weren’t focused on all three questions, that’s probably what led you to reading this post. You may have had a job that you were skilled at, but that may have left you unfulfilled because it wasn’t enjoyable. Or you may have had a job that you loved doing something you were really great at, but you weren’t making enough money. Focusing on only two of the questions left you feeling like your workday was a struggle, you had little money or you felt unfulfilled.
The bottom line
You deserve better than that. You deserve a paying career that combines your skills and passions. I believe in you.
So what’s holding you back? Leave me a comment.