Figure this out; an average career person spends most of his or her waking time at work. Even when relaxing away from work, the thoughts keep wandering back to work matters. If it happens that the work feels boring or unsatisfying, it can easily take a toll on that person’s physical and mental health. Just thinking of tolerating long hours of mundane tasks, or thinking of waking up the next day to a dreadful job can lead to frustration, stress, or even depression. In addition, it can be very difficult to advance in such a career.
That is why leading a meaningful, fulfilling and lifelong career path is very important for your overall well-being.
However, finding your true career path is easier said than done. Many factors come into play when settling on a career path. There is your passion, childhood dreams, family expectations, and the need to pay for bills, just to mention but a few.
Considering all these, how do you find your true professional path? Here are 4 steps that you can take to discover the career path that is right for you.
- Assess your 4Ps
Your career path should be shaped around your passion, preferences, personality, and principles. Put these four elements into considerations when choosing your professional path.
Doing something that you are passionate about will make you happy in your work. It will give you a sense of a purpose and you will have an inner drive that will push you forward. If you are lucky enough to combine your profession with your passion then it will not feel like work, it will be more of a pleasure. Moreover, not only will you make a living out of it, but your job will give meaning to your life.
When it comes to preference, you would thrive better doing something in the nature of what you prefer. For instance, do you prefer working full time or on a flexible schedule? Or, do you prefer working in an office setup or the outdoors? Do you prefer to work with your hands or be in front of a laptop? Do you like having a setup plan or going with the flow? Keep all these questions in mind when you are considering future career choices.
Your personality would also matter in that if you are the reserved type or an introvert, you can find it hard to work well with people. Taking up a career where you don’t have to deal with a lot of people would be your best bet. On the other hand, if you are a lively extrovert you will feel energized by being around big groups of people. If you have an artistic mind you will succeed in more creative fields, whereas analytical minds would feel better if they have to deal with numbers.
Lastly, we all have life principles that we live by. Your right career path should align with and enhance your principles in life. If altruism is crucial in your life, you should find careers that make a difference in the world and help people. Similarly, if you feel strongly about social justice, you might consider working for different human rights organizations that are in alignment with your life principles.
You can take personal assessment tests online to discover your 4Ps.
2. Make a list of your options
After discovering your passion, preferences, personality, and principles, write down career options that match these four. For passion, think of the things that you can do even if you were not paid. Your hobbies should give you a good place to start from. For preference, write down career options that align with what you prefer in a day-to-day work environment. Do the same for your personality and principles. The idea here is to come up with an exhaustive list in order to make sure that you don’t leave any stone unturned.
3. Find an overlap
After coming up with a long list of career options, you need to start narrowing down to the one that is truly right for you. This is the point where you need to find your career sweet spot. This is the point where what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, and what the world or employers need come into an intersection.
In the list that you have, think of what you are good at in terms of skills. Think of what you enjoy doing in terms of interests. Finally, put into consideration that one of the goals of being a career person is to make a living out of your work. Research on whether the careers that match what you are good at and what you enjoy have a demand in the job market. If there is no demand for it, are there ways that you can monetize them and make money out of them?
Settle on a career where the three overlap seamlessly.
4. Develop your skills
After settling on a single career path, now is the time to assess and develop your skills necessary to succeed in it. If you are already working in that line of work, you can use your current position to take advantage of on-the-job-training opportunities to develop your skills further. You can also look out for internship positions or places you can volunteer to have a glimpse of the day-to-day work, and hone your skills while at it.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.