I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up... where do I beginning trying to figure out what career I should have?
1. Know thyself.
The first step to figuring out what you’re meant to be doing is getting to know who you are. Sounds kinda self explanatory and simple but really it’s the step that most people ironically don’t take into consideration. We often chase things cause we felt that we “should” or our parents said it was a good idea or because we have a degree in it. But you wouldn’t be reading this article if you were truly fulfilled and happy in your career. Spending the time to really getting to know and understand every single facet of yourself is the basis of figuring out what is ideal for you. You have the power to decide what that is for you!
You have to know what your strengths, weaknesses and every skill in between. You have to explore what truly floats your boat, what pisses you off, what you don’t want to live without. In reality, knowing who you are is the beginning of really taking stock of what you’re great at, what you’re good at but don’t really like and what you wish you were but aren’t. For example, just because you’re good at sales doesn’t mean that you actually like selling or that you should become VP of Sales.
Actionable Activity: There are numerous online tools to help you figure that out from a Myers-Briggs assessment to Strengthsfinder 2.0 can give you an idea of the areas that you excel. There are also wonderful free resources such as Good & Co – whose psychometric tests and visuals are insightful and fun. At the end of it all, taking stock of your passions, interests, and all things and situations that light your soul on fire is a personal discovery.
2. What are your values?
Most people either don’t actually know what their values are or don’t know how to apply it in their careers. For example, if you’re passionate about making the world a better place then working for an online gambling company, no matter how much money they offer you will eventually make you feel terrible about what you do. Your ideal career has to support your core values and what you consider to be important. After all, when we’re spending at least 50% of your productive waking hours in your job, it really should align with your beliefs and principles.
Actionable Activity: Perform a self-appreciative inquiry. Look back at your career and see what you consider to be your greatest achievements are. Even know what annoys the living crappola out of you gives you clues to have you consider important in your life. Write 5 bullet points of your greatest accomplishments at work! That’ll give you an indication of what you’re proud of and love to do.
3. Know your must-haves.
Have a list of non-negotiables. It’s a lot easier to start narrowing down your path to an ideal career when you know what components have to be there. This is about knowing what kind of environment you’ll flourish in. For example, you really want to work in a cool, laid-back office, well chances are that working in a corporate environment like the banking industry won’t be your best bet. In order to design the life and career of your dreams, you need to know what you want.
Actionable Activity: Invest in yourself. Take some courses that inspire you. Figure out what the commonality is between things that you really enjoy and sparks job in your life! And of course, shameless plug - work with a Career Coach to help you unearth your Passions and Purpose :) If not me, then find someone who can help you achieve your goals. Cause as the famous commercial goes…”Cause your worth it”.
For more actionable activities and tips, templates and checklists on how to create your ideal career and get any job you want - check out my Practical Guidebook to Career Success!