“How do I figure out what my dream job is?”
It’s OK if you don’t know what your dream job is. Many women I speak with are ashamed that they still don’t know what their dream job is. It is a question kids are asked all the time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” So asking yourself that question as an adult seems like you are really far behind.
But, better to ask yourself that question NOW than five more years stuck in a job that is definitely NOT your dream job! Now is the time to start taking action to figure out what your dream job is.
The hardest part of figuring out your dream job is that you won’t find it in an online job search or during an interview at a company. Instead, you have to do some self-reflection to figure out what your dream job is.
Yes, you can use trial and error to figure it out but that can take a lot of time, and you might regret it in 20 years. People get stuck in jobs they hate because they take that first one that comes along without going through these steps to make sure you know what your dream job is. So, mark a date in your calendar and set aside time to do some serious thinking.
So here are the five steps to help you determine what your dream job is:
Step 1: Look At Your Previous Career Experiences
What did you like and what did you dislike in all career experiences you have had so far? We want to make sure we get you into a career filled with the things that you did like, not the things you hated! Also, make sure you think of internships and volunteer activities that you have done in the past. These don’t have to be things that you are an expert at or pay you a ton of money. They could be hobbies and things that you would do for hours and hours!
When I did this exercise, I discovered that I loved the training and mentoring aspect of my job. I disliked the financial management and Excel spreadsheets that made my brain hurt.
Step 2: Determine Your Values
To have a happy, successful, and fulfilling life, you must act upon your values, both in your personal life and at work. Taking your values into account when you choose a career could be the most important factor that determines whether you will or won’t be satisfied.
Ask yourself, “What are the most important things in my life right now? What are the most important things that I want to do in my career?”
Your values can change throughout your career, so don’t worry if you value your family more now then when you graduated from college, and you valued money more! 🙂 Everyone is different, so think carefully about what you value most about your life and work.
Step 3: Determine Your Mission and Purpose
We do not exist for the sole purpose of paying our bills, grooming our kids to be able to do the same, and, maybe, someday, retiring to finally enjoy life, should we ever reach that point. We are here to let our lights shine as brightly as possible, to drink in the joy of friendship and family, to serve and better the greater community and to tap into and inspire passion in everything we do. We are here to come alive.” – Jonathan Fields
Finding purpose and meaning is the #1 reason that people recently had changed or would like to change their careers. This is really about WHY you wake up and go to work in the morning. Each person needs to have that passion and purpose for doing the work we do otherwise our jobs will get boring fast.
Ask yourself, “Are you put here on this Earth for a special purpose, to do some unique work that only you can accomplish?”
Step 4: Determine Your Favorite Skills
A skill is an ability or expertise. A favorite skill is a skill that you not only possess but you are also interested in and willing to use. This is the difference between a skill and a favorite skill. In your current job right now, you might be skilled at it, but you hate it. This is how it was for me. I was great at financial management, and I could make Excel pivot tables in my sleep, but I hated it!!
When we are good at something, it is easy for us to get promoted and stick with it even though we hate it. You have to look within to determine what those skills are that you are both good at AND love to do.
Step 5: Determine Your Ideal Workday and Ideal Work Environment
This is my favorite thing to do with my clients!
Visualizing your ideal workday will give you valuable information to use in developing your career plan, and it will help you become more targeted about your career goals. Many people just fall into their first jobs and all jobs after that. Most people don’t give themselves the opportunity to think about what their ideal workday would look like. Does your day end and do you say, “Geez, where did the day go?!” You might be a victim of having your day happen to you, instead of doing what YOU want in your day.
This step is so important to me personally because I still have my ideal workday written out from a few years back. Right now and I am finally living my ideal workday every day. The same thing can and will happen to you if you start with these five steps today.