I thought, “Maybe it’s time for a career change”. My first career seemed like a good idea at the time but, looking back, it wasn’t. After years of suffering I realized that, if I wanted work that fit me like a glove, I needed to dig in and make choosing my future work into a project: a career design project. I became a career detective, looking for clues about how I best connected with the world. Instead of looking for fingerprints and DNA, I need different clues:
Natural talents Everyone is born with a unique group of talents that are as individual as a fingerprint or snowflake. These talents give each person a special ability to do certain kinds of tasks easily and happily, yet also make other tasks seem like pure torture. Can you imagine your favorite comedian as an accountant? Talents are completely different from acquired knowledge, skills, and interests. Your interests can change. You can gain new skills and knowledge. Your natural, inherited talents remain with you for your entire life. They are the hand you have been dealt by Mother Nature. You can’t change them. You can, however, learn to play the hand you have been dealt brilliantly and to your best advantage.
Personality traits and temperament Are you engaged in work that make it necessary to suppress your true nature. An elegant fit between you and your work includes and supports the full self-expression of your personality. Telltale signs of a career that doesn’t fit your personality include: the necessity to assume a different personality at work, restricted self-expression, activities that conflict with your values.
Passions, meaning, mission, purpose People who are enthusiastic about their work are usually engaged in something they care about and are proud of what they do. They feel they are making a contribution. They may need to work to pay the bills, but that is not what gets them out of bed in the morning.
Fulfills your goals Having something to shoot for is an important part of the joy of working. A custom-designed career supports you to fulfill your personal and family goals and gives you a sense of challenge on the job.
Rewards fit your values Like a biscuit you give a dog, rewards are the motivators that help keep you happily performing your tricks at work. Some rewards mean more to you than others. That is because they are linked with your values. Values and rewards are the opposite sides of the same coin.
Compatible work environments Each person flourishes in some work environments and finds others stressful or otherwise inappropriate. If living a full life outside of work is important, don’t succumb to
Go for vitality, not comfort. Be unreasonable. At every moment you have one essential choice: to let the programming steer the boat or to take the helm yourself. Your present circumstances, your mood, the thoughts that pass by all have a life of their own, independent of your will. You can, at any moment, take flight on new wings into an unprecedented life by making a choice for vitality, for designing a future, a life you will love.
Remember back to your childhood, back to the beginning of the journey. Remember your childhood visions of the future.
If you were like most of us, you dreamed of an exciting future where you were passionately engaged in life. Perhaps you dreamed of being a rock star or a professional athlete, a detective, or the first empress of the galaxy. You might have envisioned yourself as a brilliant surgeon, as an artist, or swinging from a vine over a bottomless chasm. Wiser now, you might smile at the naïveté of childhood dreams. Your vision may not have been reasonable or practical, but it was certainly passionate. It put you in the midst of a life that was fully lived.
How well does the word work fit with your childhood dream job? Doesn’t it seem strangely out of place? The way these fantasies usually occur seems to fit better into the category of “adventurous vacation” or “getting paid to play.” Our dream jobs are more play than work. When people dream of being a lawyer, they aren’t thinking about being buried under endless piles of deadly dull paperwork or having to defend an unscrupulous client. In our dreams of being a fireman, we are fighting the fire, not repacking the hoses or passing long nights in the firehouse playing endless games of pinochle with two cards missing from the deck.
When you get down to the very skinny truth, under all the sophisticated conversation and pretense, no one really wants to work if that includes a life of suffering. One definition of the word work that is not in the dictionary, but nevertheless is a part of our internal dictionary, goes something like, “Work—something I would rather do less of” or “something I have to do when I would rather do something else.” Underneath all the serious reasons people give to explain why they want to change careers, lead a company, write a book or drive an eighteen wheeler, there is an essential, powerful motivation that’s not discussed in polite, sophisticated company. They want to do something they are passionate about. They want satisfaction, an adventure. And, they want to have fun.
How about you? Is it time to move your life forward?
“A passionately lived life is not always comfortable. Going for it involves being open to all of life – the joys, the sorrows, the mundane as well as the magic, the splendid victories, the most abject defeats. You might even stop closing your eyes during the scary parts of the movie.” – Nicholas Lore
When you are at work, wishing you were doing something else, you have a choice: keep doing the same thing and endlessly suffering, or starting the process of choosing and finding a new career. It isn’t always easy, and it is uncomfortable to adventure out into the unknown. But, what you’ll find is a passionately lived life around that corner.