For a long time, I felt like I had made some wrong career choices and I was stuck. Then, on May 9th, 2014, I said “adios” to my stressful day job, left for maternity leave and never went back. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. Up until that point, I was stuck in my job and knew that I had so much more to offer. For years I dreamed of the “one day” when I would know what I wanted to do next and I would stop standing still. Well..that day had finally come!
When you are struggling with discouragement and being overworked or bored, I completely understand how far off your dream career can feel. I want you to know that it really isn’t that far away. You have career choices.
If I can do it there really is no reason you can’t do it, too. That’s why I am so excited to give you just the very first steps you need to make your dream career or business a reality. I realized I was in charge of my destiny, just like you are too! Don’t settle!
3 Ways to Narrow Down Your Career Choices & Find the Right Career Fit for You:
1) Friendly Feedback
Often, we aren’t aware of the strengths that come so naturally to us. That’s I recommend going outside of your own brain to get some friendly feedback before you change jobs. It’s time to interview your friends, family, colleagues, and relatives. Gather as much information as you possibly can and thank them for their time and input. You can do this in-person, by phone or by email. Then, see what common themes appear.
The three questions you want to ask are:
What do you think is my greatest strength?
What do you see as my special talent, ability or gift?
What do I do naturally or effortlessly that is special?
Make sure they know they have permission to be candid with you. Also, don’t be defensive or upset when presented with feedback. Say thank you no matter how it makes you feel.
The most important thing is to try to get common themes. Don’t worry about the negative stuff as much as the information about your strengths that you get over and over again.
[Related: Best Places to Work]
2) Purpose & Mission
You cannot move forward with your job search without nailing your mission and purpose. You want to make a difference in the world and you’re not going to make that difference if you don’t know what your mission is.
If you aren’t sure what your mission and purpose is, you won’t reach your full potential and you won’t do the job you were born to do. You will always wonder if you are in the right career. You also won’t find work that matches your values, which are those things that matter most to you.
So here are some questions to ask yourself to determine your purpose:
-What activities do you do and lose track of time?
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What makes you feel excited about life?
What do people typically ask you for help in?
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
What would you do if you only had one year to live?
What has you bouncing out of bed in the morning, eager to start your day?
Next, it’s important to create your mission statement.
Everyone needs a mission statement. We only get one life. Don’t let someone else mold it for you. Even if it is just a few words on a post-it note, you need something to help you focus in on what is most important to you.
You know in your heart what is most important to you. In fact, your mission and values are expressed every day but how you live – you just might not realize it.
3) Motivations & Values
The next step in finding your ideal career is identifying your motivations, which can also be called values. Motivations are the rewards each of us needs. Some examples of motivations are flexibility, autonomy, and intellectual challenge.
Motivations are really important to be aware of to make sure you are aligned in a job correctly, and it is also important to remember that your motivations can change based on your current life situation.
For example, if you are a new working mom you might have different motivations and want more flexibility than when you are a recent college graduate and you wanted challenge and teamwork.
When you are determining what your values are during your job search, here are a few to think about.
Achievement/Accomplishment: Producing results that are significant, completing tasks, and projects successfully
Advancement: Consistently moving ahead to new and progressive opportunities
Autonomy: Ability to choose own projects, set own pace, schedule and work habits and minimal supervision of your effort
Balance: Spending equivalent time and effort on tasks, work, and life overall
Belonging to a Group: Having a sense of being a contributing member of a group
Challenge: Involvement with stimulating or demanding tasks or projects
Competition: Engaging in activities where results are measured frequently and compared with others’
Creativity: Making, inventing or producing innovative, imaginative or original things or ideas