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I Have 8 Ideas to Spot Your Ideal Career Path. Do You Have 5 Minutes?

I Have 8 Ideas to Spot Your Ideal Career Path. Do You Have 5 Minutes?

Some grow up knowing exactly which career path they want to take while others just can’t seem to figure it out. Maybe you’ve been in the same profession for years and you’re looking to get into something else, but you’re just not sure what. We’d all love to find our calling early on in life and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that is rarely what happens. If you’re struggling to decide which career path is right for you, here are some ideas to help ease the stress.

Take the Tests to Find Out What Excites You

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that you’re going to enjoy. Make sure you won’t dread getting out of bed every day. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Sit down, think about the things that you genuinely enjoy doing and write them down. Having a passion for something isn’t the only thing required when discovering a career path, but it’s certainly an essential part. When you thoroughly enjoy something, it’ll definitely help you power through the bad days.

If you need some help, try taking the free personality test below. It requires you to really think about what you enjoy and to evaluate yourself. When completed, you’ll be given a list of different professions based on your answers:

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Big Five Personality Test

The next test asks a series of 60 questions about different things you could see yourself doing. Such as working with people or working with spreadsheets on a computer. At the end of the test you’ll be given a list of professions that you may enjoy just like the test above:

My Next Move Career Test

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Use the G+P+V Formula for Perfect Match

  • G-Gifts
  • P-Passions
  • V-Values

“Gifts” means to consider your strengths. Start by thinking about what you’re good at and writing it down. “Passions” means to think about what excites you. Do you enjoy helping other people, working alone, solving problems? Lastly, “values” is really all about your personality and lifestyle. What about the way you work is nonnegotiable? When you use your strengths towards what you’re invested in, a path that supports your values will lead you to a career that you genuinely enjoy.

Find a Mentor to Clear All Your Confusion

Having a mentor is extremely beneficial when figuring out which career path is best for you. They could really help you take your career to new heights. It’s like having an insider to talk with about the career and make sure you’re on the right path. If you’re unsure how to ask someone to be your mentor, try this: when you find a career that you’re interested in, explore different companies and people to see if you’re able to shadow for a few days. This will give you a better idea of what you’ll be doing in that line of work.

Take a Look at the Options You Have Never Considered

There are popular careers that we all know about such as being a teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc. For some, those typical choices may not peak your interest in the slightest. There are thousands upon thousands of jobs out there. Many you probably have not heard about. Take a look at these unusual jobs from Business Insider.

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You Don’t Have to Hop Between Full-Time Jobs, Internships Can Be Your Choice

If you have some flexibility, an internship is an awesome way to get first-hand experience in the field of work you’re looking to get into. As the internship comes to a close, you may be able to score a full-time job. It may help you discover that you’re on the wrong career path which is okay. Something positive comes from both outcomes. Either way, it’ll help build your network and introduce you to people who you can get career and job advice from.

Prepare a Clear Career Plan to Stop Yourself from Distracted

As with a lot of things in life, it will be more beneficial if you have some plans made and goals set for yourself. Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a writer, but after writing comes editing and you’re not sure that’s what you want to do. Maybe you’ve been a nurse for years, and you’d like to become a florist. It’s important to think about how you’re going to get there.

Make a map planning out where you want to go with steps, possible obstacles, and goals.

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Take Aptitude Tests to Understand Your Interest and Strengths

You may be sitting there thinking that you don’t know what interests you or what your strong suits are. Personality and career assessment tests help narrow down careers that you may enjoy, and are at least worth looking into. You may have taken them in high school so you could start thinking about what you’d like to do. Maybe you took one in college when you started to rethink whether or not the major you chose was a good fit. This one from Oprah’s website includes 5 aptitude tests on the first page. You can download and complete each one. When finished, head over to page two to see your results and what they mean.

Make Use of the Resources You Have

There’s no harm in reaching out to people. One of the best ways to find a career path is to talk with and ask people questions about their field of work. It will give you a little insight when you’re unsure what the job entails. Another great outlet to look into and take advantage of is LinkedIn. It has tons of information about a laundry list of professions, and you have the option to message people when you have some questions. Take a look at this site which lists many different careers and what they entail. It’s a great resource to use when researching.

Look at You career As a Stepping Stone

A career isn’t about racing to the top. Look at your career as if it were a marathon. Instead of a sprint, learn to enjoy all the twists and turns, all the ups and the downs that you encounter along the way. When you put all of your experiences together, you will find a career worth having.

Figuring out and deciding what career path you want to take may be long, frustrating, and difficult. It’s impossible to know if you’re going to enjoy what you choose to do twenty years down the line, but it’s important to think about the here and now. What do YOU enjoy? Choosing a particular career does not mean you have to spend the rest of your life in that profession. Explore all of your options and have fun doing your research. Knowledge is power!

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Erica Wagner

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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