If you find yourself answering I don’t know to the big questions in your life, today is the day to start exploring. If you don’t know what you seek, then surely no one, including yourself, will be able to help you to get where you’re going. We live in a world that is constantly evolving – careers that existed a few years back are nonexistent, and careers of today may not exist next year. But I believe that we all possess something that excites us – something that we would love to devote our time and energy to even in this rapidly evolving world.
If you don’t want to live a life composed of one meaningless job after another, then you need to discover what matters to you. How? By asking yourself heartfelt questions and giving yourself the time and space to hear the answers. That means that you give yourself permission to tune out what everyone else tells you to do with your life. That means that you cultivate silence. That you find a path to communicate with yourself so that you can hear your mind and heart and confront your truth.
Career check-up tips for success
Work hard, but don’t expect all to fall into place as a result of your labor. You have to speak up sometimes and tell people where you want to go. What you’re aspiring to. That’s how you find mentors and supporters who will help you to shape your career. There is no short cut in terms of hard work. You have to put in the time and effort to learn and grow in all aspects of your life. This is evidenced by athletes who train daily, weekly, monthly, year after year, to improve. It’s evidenced by professionals who inch their way up the corporate ladder, via honest effort and hard work, year after year. One of my favorite quotes comes from Richard Marcinko’s Rogue Warrior: “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” Remember that you are always in training for your future.
If you admire a professional’s drive and motivation, their career path, or the life decisions that they have made, don’t be afraid to ask your inspirational someone to be your mentor. Sure, it’s nice if you form a magical connection when it comes to finding a mentor, but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you need to speak up when you meet someone who you think can benefit your career. Remember that along the way, you will likely inspire your mentor as well.
Don’t worry about failure. A wise friend told me the same advice that I am sure folks learning to walk a high rope hear: Don’t look down. And it’s true! If you look down, you not only lose your focus and momentum, but your direction, too. Fear is a real emotion and there’s plenty of times in our lives that fear is valid. While most folks don’t readily admit this, the truth is that no one has it all figured out in life. Even the high-powered executives and movie stars figure it out as they go. Why? Because life is a not a straight route. Life is full of twists and turns. Ambiguity abounds. The more we flow and embrace what comes our way, the less we have to fear.
The Dream Job
Here’s what I have learned: you don’t find the dream job. You create it. You write your own job description. Years back, when I worked in publishing, I decided to offer yoga classes at 7 am on Fridays. No one asked me to do it, but I figured it was a great way to put my recent yoga teacher training certification to use. Plus, it was fun! My colleagues enjoyed it and we all got to know one another better in a less formal setting.
Strive to be an entrepreneur in all that you do. Even if you’re a sales person in a clothes store or work as a check-out person in a supermarket. Find a way to do it your way. Individualize whatever you do. Be creative. Have fun. You don’t want to go overboard and break the rules, but find a way to adapt the rules so that they reflect your ingenuity.
As you evolve and grow in your career, you will become more adept at what you seek, and what you need to find fulfillment. Sure, we all have our work to do and we all should always be striving to be better and elevate not only ourselves, but the people around us, but we should never stop asking where am I now? What do I seek today? Have my goals changed? Where do I want to be tomorrow? Next year?
We all have a passion, if not dozens. If you believe that you are passionless, you are not tapping into your potential. You are not listening to your inner self. There are at least 6 things daily in my life that battle for my time and attention: writing, reading, running, yoga, teaching, and work. I love to work! And sometimes that involves coaching and consulting with students or executives, other times teaching a college class, sometimes writing. I can get excited to do the simplest things, like clean my home. I am a firm believer that passionate people are passionate about most things and boring people are bored with themselves, so not too much excites them. I once read that to be interesting, you have to be interested.
Cultivate your internal life
You can do this in a myriad of ways: journal, walk, pray, meditate, do yoga, run, jog, cycle, swim, sing, watch the ocean. Make quiet time in your life. Time for reflection. Time for uncensored thoughts. Learn what you aspire to. Remember what you wished for back in the days when there were not limits in your life. Examine your most simple aspiration, and your most complicated one. Let your life be a reflection of who and what you are inside. Do whatever you do with conviction, with kindness, with love, and most importantly, do it to the best of your ability.