Ask Yourself if What You’re Doing Today is Getting You Closer to Where You Want to Be Tomorrow.
There will be no knock on the door with someone handing you a ticket to where you’ll find work you love.
There will be no superhero sidekick that appears next to you to direct you to the best path on finding what you’re passionate about.
And there’s definitely no crystal ball with a clairvoyant psychic giving you a fool-proof plan of knowing exactly what to do for the rest of your life.
Wanna know why?
Because you are the pilot of this amazing flight called life.
The funny thing about choices is that we crave the idea of being able to make those choices and have the free will to do so, but some of us rarely make consistent choices and commit to them long enough to see where it could take us. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown, or the fear of failure, that deter us from being committed enough to see the changes take form.
I remembered the days when the one question that kept me up at night was, “What am I really passionate about? What exactly IS my calling?”
And how the hell am I supposed to know this one divine question that would seem to solve all my insecurities and direction about my career?
The thing about passion and calling is this: It isn’t one particular thing that is the end all to what you are supposed to do until your deathbed. It’s usually a series of emotion, that leads to action, and a discovery of a direction.
It looks something like this:
Following your curiosity nose +
Taking actionable steps +
Time you spend doing it
In order to spark that genius that is in all of us, we need to acknowledge the things that may draw us on a daily basis, and to explore ways we may express ourselves that at first glance may not be the ultimate answer to what we’re genuinely passionate about. However, there are clues in all these significant events, and due to a busy life, they may go unnoticed. When we are busy trucking along with life and distracted with bills to pay and things to do, it is easy to forget the little things that peak our interest, and commit to times of experimenting with them.
Practice the habit of noticing and acknowledging the little nudges that may lead you to further clarity of your passion, which can ultimately lead you towards a direction of the type of work you actually love. Doing this more often daily, and as part of your life going forward, will open up more doors and possibilities of choices that are aligned with what lights a fire in your belly.
Here are 5 Actions You Can Do Today to Find Work You Love:
#1: Play Detective on What You are Curious or are Drawn to.
If you shudder when someone asks, “What are you passionate about?”, then I’ve got a better suggestion for you. Go with curiosity. Being passionate about something can put a lot of pressure in an almighty answer that god forbid, you would have to actually live up to!
What if you just had a sense of curiosity for different subjects and were drawn to finding out more about it because it intrigues you? The emotion behind curiosity takes you back from when you were a child again, to just simply be intrigued by a new idea the butterflies in your tummy. It’s less “permanent” sounding, and far less pressure than the idea of passion.
Going with curiosity is following your nose to see where it may lead you. Perhaps it leads you to a career and work that you’ll enjoy doing, perhaps it doesn’t. If you treat it all like an experiment to feed that feeling of curiosity, then how could you lose? You’ll be able to know even further about things that floats your boat.
One thing that I personally like to do often is write notes on subjects that I am reading a lot about or can get into conversation for hours about. I copy and paste articles to a notebook and take notice on topics I love to read about and discuss. Because of my mobile lifestyle, I like to travel light, so having tons of physical notebooks wouldn’t work for me.
I record it all on Evernote, where I can search for them later if I need to. There’s an awesome app connected to Evernote that is a Journal app, which I love because it dates everything for me and is synched with my Evernote system. Journaling is a great tool to use to remember insightful things about yourself in the midst of a hustle and bustle life.
Perhaps you like to write in a physical notebook instead…and that’s fine too. Carry a small one in your bag or purse, and when certain things come up in your life that peaks your interest, write them down.
Go deeper into your curiosity by spending some time as much as you can to research or discover more about the interests that got the curiosity vibes in your body. Ask yourself, “Why am I drawn to this?” or “Why can I have hours of conversation with a complete stranger about this particular subject?” I bet you’re going to start noticing certain patterns of what these “things” are.
#2: Take Inventory of All the Things You Loved From Past Jobs.
I know what you are saying. Um, Lydia, you told me to quit my job, not reminisce about my cubicle life experiences and shitty bosses. Yes, yes…but this is not an exercise to gather around the fire and regurgitate positive affirmations about the bitter taste of cubicle jobs. This is about taking inventory of what you actually enjoyed about the roles that you spent time doing. Maybe you hated most of the jobs, but even if there was 10% of that job which you enjoyed, it’s a good thing to remember what exactly that was.
When we take on a job opportunity, there’s something that drew us to that job, even if it was a slight nudge. It may be that this job role at first glance promised something we actually wanted. I remembered one of my first jobs working at a hotel doing front desk administration.
Majority of that job was not something to write home about, but one thing that I really did enjoy was being the person to make people feel good about visiting the city. I would go out of my way to recommend places to eat or things to do that would be off the beaten track of the tourist traps. I enjoyed that part of my job, especially when they came back and told me that it made their night and they wouldn’t have gotten to do those things if I didn’t give them my advice.
And my current role at Screw The Cubicle still includes that feeling I want to give people. That part where my advice mattered and my interest in finding new ways to experience and do things.
Make a list of the jobs you’ve had, and then think about the best parts of those jobs that you truly enjoyed and why. And then highlight or put a star next to those that you think you would still want to have in your next dream career.
Nothing of what we have experienced in our lives, whether good or bad, is a coincidence. Every situation was an opportunity for us to learn more and understand deeper about ourselves.
#3: Take Notice of How You Love to Help or Serve Others.
A successful career or business boils down to one simple concept: If you serve others well, and provide a valuable service to them, you will be blessed with fulfilment and success. These days, the people just like you who are interested in creating careers or businesses not solely for the love of money, but for meaning and fulfilment, resonate with this the most.
I get clients and strangers that find out about what I do, and will say to me, “I don’t know what I’m passionate about and I don’t know what I do that’s really great to be honest”. And I’ll say, “How are you helping others that is appearing often in your life? What are the people close to you saying about you when they think of you? What makes you feel just fucking good when you do something for other people?”
The way we help people is our natural way to serve as human beings. Some people serve by solving problems. Some have a great way to make people feel good about themselves. Some are great listeners. Some always have an idea or plan for you when you think you have hit a brick wall. Some write words that make you feel tingly inside and experience emotions that change their outlook in the world. Some comfort you and make you feel protected.
What do you do to serve people or the environment you live in?
Start taking notice on how you help and serve on a daily basis. What feels natural to you and a no brainer? This is a clue to your genius zone, and sometimes goes unnoticed because it just feels so damn easy or second nature to you.
But I’m here to tell you that this is part of how you create a career that feels good to you, and feels good to others. And the fact that it feels natural, means that you would have done it anyway whether you’re being paid or not.
And that’s a sweet spot to be.
#4: Model Someone You Admire.
I’m not talking be a stalky, creepy dude or dudette. I’m saying to pay attention to the people that you admire and you respect that are doing something you can imagine yourself doing.
Who are you subscribing to or are following? Who’s Facebook or Twitter posts are you loving and find yourself thinking about how much you love what he/she is doing with their business or in their work?
I know I love getting e-mail and social media news from Tim Ferris, James Altucher, and Max Simon & Jeffrey Van Dyk from Big Vision Business. I enjoy Tim’s approach of mini experiments in life. I adore James’ raw honesty about his vulnerability as a human and his perspective on why traditional education and lifestyle may not be the way to go. I love watching Max and Jeffrey talk about how business can be purposeful and be a genuine expression of who you are.
There’s a reason why I keep them on my email list, and have not unsubscribed. I respect what they do with their careers and their businesses. They broadcast topics and do work in a style that I would love to emulate in my own business.
They care about shit that I care about.
So who do you admire and would love to model your career or business after? Get intimate with them and e-mail them to ask them a question about how they got started. Explore their website and research what they are doing and how they impact. Get inspired by the work they are doing and see what aspects of their work and mission you resonate with.
#5: Have an Honest Chat with Your Inner Self.
You know, that part of you that desires more for your life. That part of yourself that deep down inside, you know he/she already knows what you want.
We create boundaries and stories to keep us from reaching the stars because we are afraid. We got very good at listening and believing what others or society have told us of what isn’t possible. But there’s a part of you, the purest part of you, that knows better. It isn’t bound by fear, made up stories, or insecurities. This part just desires, it just wants what it wants.
You need to have more conversations with this courageous part of yourself.
I’ve spoken before about how to converse with your inner critic so you can both play nice with each other. Here’s what I want to talk about having a chat with your higher self that leads from purpose, the one that wants to guide you to who you want to be authentically.
You may have already heard his/her voice before. Perhaps you may have ignored it. But this time I want you to acknowledge this part or voice that you know holds the truth.
The best time to talk to this part of you is either right when you wake up, or before you go to bed. This is the time when you are in the midst of going in or coming out of a dream-like state, where your mind isn’t reacting to the 1001 things that come up during your day. It is less distracted and more present.
When your mind is calm and free (as much as possible) from internal chatter, close your eyes and envision what this part could look like. Perhaps it’s a version of you that you visualize as your higher self. Maybe it’s a glowing light. If you aren’t a visual person, you may just have a sense or feeling that it’s there. It may even have a colour.
Then start the conversation. You can start with something like:
- “Hello, is there a part in me that knows my purpose? Are you there?”
- “What name can I call you by?”
- “Can we have a chat about my purpose? Can you tell me what I’m here to do?”
- “Can you describe to me what my path looks like when I live my utmost potential?”
- “Can you tell me more about the type of work I am called to do?”
This part of yourself can reply with sound, feelings, or images. Take note of whatever piece comes through, as it may all be clues that can tie in together once you have more conversations. This is called “active imagination”.
The most effective thing that I have done so far to get more insight on inner dialogue with myself is either A) writing down verbatim on a piece of paper or typed on a document the exact conversation as I ask the inner part, or B) recording myself with my iPhone with the sound recording app. This makes it easier to converse with your part and you can listen to the recording or see your notes after, as when you’re in the “chat”, the answers come instinctively and you may not be able to remember everything.
Will you try this technique and see what your inner voice may want to tell you? Experiment with it by starting just once per week, and then more often if you can.
In time, as you make it a habit to have this active dialogue, you’ll notice that you can “converse” right on the spot 🙂
Have the sheer stubbornness to keep showing up ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Decide to start. Decide to start asking the questions that matter for your future. Just keep showing up, and take control of what you want to create in your life that you can express in a career you love.
The answers are already within you. You just need to start the bite sized action, one step at a time.
And trust those steps to direct you to find work you love.
PS: Did you incorporate at least ONE of the action steps in your day or your week? Let me know how it went below and what insight you received!
Photo credit: http://tigtf.blogspot.com/2010/11/shell-admiration.html