So you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, huh? Join the club. Most people I know just ‘fell into’ their current role. They followed their nose until they got to where they are. They’re not overly happy in their job, but it doesn’t suck.
And that’s a big part of the problem. They’re busy and they’re comfortable so they don’t make a move. Their job is not causing enough pain to motivate them to change. On top of that, they don’t know what they really want. Sound familiar?
If you’ve always wondered what you want to be when you grow up, here are 6 strategies to help you work it out:
1. Confront yourself
Ask yourself, “What am I willing to sell my soul for?” because we do it every day, in so many ways. We sell our soul when we settle for a comfortable job that sucks the life out of us, little by little.
We sell our soul when we follow the career path that friends and family expect us to follow. We sell our soul when we go for the promotion that will mean long hours and a corner office.
Start making conscious decisions about what you’re willing to live with, and what you won’t compromise on.
2. Learn what you love
Have you ever said, “Wow! I’d love to do that!” when someone tells you what they do for a living? Maybe they’ve said they’re an entrepreneur, or a photographer or scientist. It doesn’t matter what they’ve said, the point is that you’ve heard it and been amazed.
You’ve also been a little in awe. It’s like they’ve reached for the moon and grabbed hold of it. This is a really strong clue that you shouldn’t ignore. It’s an indication of the sort of role you’d love.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony
3. Ignore your relations
Don’t make the mistake of asking your friends and family what you should do. Why? Because they love you and want the best for you. So they give you advice that will protect you and keep you safe.
Truth be told, they probably haven’t figured out their own dream career so they’re not equipped to give advice. Besides, do you really want to do what you’re told?
4. Get a guide
Independent advice, from someone who has no preconceived idea about what you ‘should’ do, can be invaluable. Try finding a good career coach.
A career coach should both support and challenge you. They should also help you acquire skills and strategies that you can use for the rest of your life – any time you change jobs. Even if they don’t help you discover your dream role, they should be a worthwhile investment.
5. Find your superpowers
Everyone has superpowers, although they don’t always realise it. Your superpowers are the things you do better than anyone else. If you’re not sure of your strengths, try taking a reliable quiz. This gives you an idea where your superpowers lie.
Princeton Review has a free career quiz that assesses your personal Interests and usual style. This sort of tool can help you to discover yourself. It may not be conclusive but it can give a strong indication of what’s likely to bring you satisfaction and happiness.
“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn vos Savant
6. Scare yourself
The biggest hurdle to your career change is fear. Deep down, you’re scared. It’s ok. We all are. We’re all afraid of change and afraid of the unknown – at least a little bit. The trick is not to let it stop you.
The only difference between you and people who achieve their dreams is your ability to overcome your fear. As Seth Godin said, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” So embrace your anxiety. Get familiar with a little unease and apprehension.
Challenge yourself. Who knows? You might just find there’s a braver, bolder version of yourself inside. And that they’re desperate to help you live your dreams.