There are many detours. There are many starts and stops.
And many jobs, companies, bosses, career experiments before we find that career path that just feels right. It’s a sweet spot, when joy returns and you look forward to coming to work, each and every day.
I often wonder, however, why it takes so long to uncover our professional path that brings out our best. A place where our unique gifts and talents are revealed and shared in a positive way. A place of “work flow” , defined by psychologists as “that feeling you have when you are exhilarated, euphoric, and have a deep sense of enjoyment characterized by a positive mood.”
Although I’ve experienced this a few times during my career, it’s never been consistent. I have seen glimmers of job fulfillment when I’ve been creative and productive, and time flies by, but then with ambition, I was on to “better” things, better titles.
Because something gets in the way. And it’s not just monetary needs – that extra salary. Sometimes it’s our own egos, and so we forsake those lesser jobs that fulfil us.
And we “sell our soul” seeking prestige instead of passion.
We give up our dreams.
Researchers, sociologists, and healthcare workers tell us that many terminally ill people state one of their biggest regrets is that they pursued ambition and money rather than following a job path that brings happiness.
But it’s not too late. There are clues from the following questions that may point you toward you true career path, of fulfillment and creativity.
Forget the personality tests. These generally indicate some of your strengths and align them to a job that features these strengths, but these don’t necessarily reflect what you really enjoy.
Do you volunteer? You have a choice of hundreds of nonprofits. Ask yourself, given your talents and interests, which one of them would bring joy into your life.
Think back to when you were a child or adolescent, what did you tell people you were going to do when you were grown up.
Think of a day, when time literally flew by. What were you doing?
In what work environments do you find yourself smiling, laughing?
Who are your heroes? What do they do?
When you doodle, what do you draw?
When you are at a social occasion, and find yourself in a deep conversation, what are you talking about?
What is your proudest accomplishment in your current career?
And finally… if you were able to say a few words at your own memorial service, what would you say about yourself?
Find your TRUE path... and you will serve yourself and others!