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Published on April 15, 2020

8 Questions to Help You Choose a Career That Suits You

8 Questions to Help You Choose a Career That Suits You

When it comes to choosing a career, there are plenty of factors. It is important to make the correct career choice since many people work more than they sleep.

By asking yourself these eight questions, you will be best positioned to choose a career that suits you.

1. Can This Career Support My Desired Lifestyle?

Your lifestyle is a combination of time and money. Depending on whether you have kids or wanting to travel, you will need a certain amount of time away from the office.

Does this mean your work needs to offer flex-options?

Sure, that is one way to make sure you have time for your family and leisure activities. You could also explore working four, 10-hour days or on a 9-month calendar. Once you understand the time aspect, you need to determine how much income you need to live your lifestyle.

If you want to travel or have a large family, you need a certain amount of money to afford that lifestyle. Depending on what matters to you the most, you can choose to sacrifice your time for a few years to afford more time later in your career, or you may prioritize chasing your passion and dream career.

The choices are vast, but you want to be intentional with how you spend your time and money. Studies show 78% of people are living paycheck to paycheck[1].

However, we know that 78% are not living in poverty. That number simply reflects the number of people who spend all the money that they make.

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2. Does This Career Challenge Me?

Imagine being a talented professional athlete and competing against kids in elementary school. Sure, you are going to win every match, but you will not feel the same satisfaction as if you were challenged by other talented professionals. Choosing a career requires you to gauge the opportunity for growth and advancement.

This is important because your chosen career will allow you to build new skills, attain additional education, and expand your knowledge base.

As you grow in your career, tasks that were once difficult will become easy. When this happens, you are left with two choices. You can coast for the rest of your career while only putting in minimal effort to get above average results. Or you can take on new challenges in areas where you are not guaranteed success.

The difficulty with this decision lies in our fear of failure. When you take on new challenges, there is going to be a learning curve that can create fear and self-doubt.

Do not allow your fear of the unknown to cause you to stay in your comfort zone.

3. Who Can Mentor Me?

You only know what you know, and if you want to know more, you will either have to experience it yourself or learn from someone else’s experiences.

By finding someone who is in the career you want to choose, you will have someone to ask and seek guidance from. They can share what they learned and tell you what it takes to build a career in a certain industry.

Will you need a certification or additional education? Will you be willing to move?

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Instead of waiting until you start your career to learn all these things, find a mentor who is a few steps ahead of you.

4. What Would I Do for Free?

Chasing money is one of the quickest ways to end up broke. Most careers are going to require more than the love of money to stick it out.

You probably know people who are making good money, and yet they are miserable. They work in a career where they feel like they are losing a piece of themselves every day.

The reason it is good to ask yourself what you would do for free is that your mind has an amazing ability to rationalize anything. What this means is you can find yourself in a toxic work relationship (or any relationship for that matter) because you have convinced yourself it is “not that bad”.

Instead of making yourself believe that you are doing what is necessary, allow yourself to imagine the career you would pursue for free.

5. Where Is My Line?

It would be nice to live in a world where everyone is ethical and trustworthy. However, you do not need me to tell you that this is not always the case.

If you find yourself in a compromising position, you must decide where your line is located.

You may recall the Veterans Administration was in the news because patients were waiting for 115-days to be seen. When the new mandate came down to create a 24-day wait time, the employees noted how they felt compelled to manipulate performance records to meet these ambitious goals.

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In a Harvard study, researchers discussed how good people are provoked to make bad choices. The reasons are:[2]

  1. When it is unsafe to speak up;
  2. There is excessive pressure to reach unrealistic performance targets;
  3. There are conflicting goals;
  4. When no positive example is being set.

You will surely face at least one of these four scenarios in your career, and you will be the one to decide for yourself if it is worth it.

6. Am I Continuing to Grow?

One of the most common reasons people disengage from their role is because they no longer feel like they are growing.

Choosing a career is more than making money and having job security, it is also about that feeling you are learning new things. You will notice low skilled careers tend to have a higher turnover rate. Of course, the lower wages that tend to accompany low skilled positions are a part of the decision-making process; it is also the mundane nature of doing the same thing every day.

Everyone likes being promoted and getting a raise, but those are just external recognition of your internal growth. Promotions feel best when you know you have earned it through the continual development of your skills and leadership.

7. Where Does My Personality Fit?

You can find plenty of information online about choosing a career based on your personality type.

Among the most referenced materials is the work of John Holland and the Holland Theory of Career Choice:[3].

“According to John Holland, there are six key categories that define the modern worker. His assessment offers a framework that considers career interest and pairs ideal environments for certain personalities that also play a role in job satisfaction and performance. The six types are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.”

For example, those who are Enterprising are most likely to lead and persuade, and as a result, this group would enjoy being a sales manager or attorney.

8. Where Do I Want to Live?

Choosing a career is going to have a direct impact on where you will live.

If you want to work on the floor of the stock market, you will find yourself living in New York and close to Wall Street. Large metropolitan areas tend to provide the best opportunity for careers in engineering. If you are not excited about working in places like Seattle, Boston, and Atlanta, then you may want to explore careers for more rural areas.[4]

If someone was interested in working in the tech industry, Silicon Valley is going to be on your list. This is not to say that opportunities in tech are not available anywhere else in the country, but you will have more opportunities in the tech industry if you live near Silicon Valley. The same holds true for broadcasting in New York and entertainment in Hollywood.

You must be strategic in where you choose to live to provide yourself the best opportunity to succeed. For those who would prefer to choose the location based on their kids or proximity to their family, you will want to examine which professions are prevalent in your area.

If you can find a company that has a local headquarters in your area, then you open up the opportunity to find a career that fits you.

Final Thoughts

These eight questions are a great starting point when it comes to choosing a career that suits you.

At different points in your life, your answers will change. You will desire to make more money, a change of scenery, or a simpler life so you can spend more time with loved ones.

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Regardless of the reason, if you start with these eight questions, you will be well-positioned to choose a career that suits your wants and needs.

Looking for More Career Guidance? Read These:

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

Change begins with the hope of what’s possible in your life. Hope leads to a sense of expectancy Combine this with setting short-term goals, and the likelihood of being more happy and successful moves from possibility to reality.

Short-term goals, when created with well-formed criteria, offer incremental steps towards successfully achieving your bigger goals.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll discover the secret to creating short-term goals that will set you up for success and help you sail past challenges of staying motivated easily.

What Is a Short-Term Goal?

Short-term goals are ‘short’, meaning the time frame can be as short as 10 minutes, a day, or as long as a week or a few months. Well-formed short-term goals begin with the end in mind.

Quick tip:

Write down the specific result you want to achieve and the date when it should happen. Then, work backward from this date, describing what you’ll notice yourself doing (and achieving) until you take the first step.

A short-term goal is the smallest step you need for you to reach a bigger goal centered around achieving something you passionately desire.

Passionate desire‘ is the key.

As Tony Robbins says,

People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.[1]

Having passion when setting goals means getting your mind and body activated to fuel your energy and focus. Each time you achieve a short-term goal, your body celebrates by producing and releasing chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin oxytocin, and endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters).

Ian Robertson, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure, says,

Success and failure shape us more powerfully than genetics and drugs.

The regular release of the body’s natural chemicals supports brain change at a neural level, building your confidence, and renewing your goal-oriented focus.

The Benefits of Setting Short-Term Goals

Regardless of the area in your life where you set your short-term goals, it will have a ripple effect across all your life domains.

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  • Improve your career prospects and your sense of identity also shifts.
  • Improve your body shape through managing food intake and your energy improves in a way that’s noticeable at work and home.
  • Improve your mindset and your attitude changes around how you engage with others.
  • Improve your health and your desire for self-improvement lifts.

6 Steps to Success With Short-Term Goals

Setting short-term goals will lead you closer to a happier and more successful life, but can you achieve that?

Take the following steps and you will start achieving your dreams:[2]

Step 1: Know Your Best Hopes

Try this process yourself by thinking of an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

For example:

  • What are your best hopes for your finances?
  • What are your best hopes for your relationship?
  • What are your best hopes for your career?
  • What are your best hopes for your health?

This process involves ‘chunking up’ your ideas to imagine the results more clearly. In this process, you try to achieve not only the goal and the outcome it gives you but also the changes in your behavior and mindset as a result of achieving your goal.

Step 2: Notice What’s Different

The next question to ask yourself is: “What would you notice that was different from the way you usually did things?”

‘Noticing’ helps you build a vision of what could be possible. The richer the description you can build around the tiny details, the more ‘real’ your preferred future becomes.

Step 3: Ask: ‘What Else?’

Most of us know there’s a hidden reason or a long-buried hope beneath why we want something.

Often, our ego gets a little defensive about it and protective of it. But if we dig and resurface the truth, then weight can be lifted, allowing you the freedom to move forward.

Step 4: Ask: ‘Who Will Notice the Difference?’

Relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and your partner are important. Seeing the change they’ll notice helps put another perspective on the differences they see in you.

Imagine what they will notice about you that would let them know something changed about you as a result of achieving this goal.

Step 5: Imagine a Miracle Happened Tonight

Imagine that if you went to bed tonight and a miracle happened; and you were the very best version of yourself and that you had achieved your best hopes.

When you woke up tomorrow morning after the miracle happened, what would you notice that would tell you you’ve achieved the change you’re seeking?

Step 6: Describe Your Day as If the Miracle Had Happened

Go through your day, moment by moment. Begin with what time you would wake up and then describe the differences you would notice in every tiny action you do.

Notice in detail what’s different about this day – a day when you are at your very best because you’re living your best hopes.

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How to Track Your Short Term Goals Success

When you set a short-term goal, establish a measurement system to track your progress:[3]

1. Create a Running Tally

One of the best devices to keep your short-term goal setting on track is to keep a running record or tally of the number of days in a row that you’ve sustained your goal.

For example, if improving your health is important to you and you plan to reduce your weight by 5 kilos by not eating any foods containing sugar, then set up a simple chart and track how many days in a row you can do this. Aim for 5 days, then 10, then 20 days in a row. If you have a small diversion and eat sugar one day, simply start again.

Once you feel confident that you can continue with this step, add another such as taking 5,000 steps per day. Again, set up a simple tally chart either in your diary or somewhere visible and enjoy marking up one more day that you’ve achieved your short-term goal. It won’t be long before your goal of losing 5 kilos is met.

2. Keep a Journal

Maintaining a journal will help you focus on identifying the things that are different because you’ve set a well-formed short-term goal.

Aim to complete the journal at the end of each day and recall in detail the things that you’re noticing. This helps keep you connected with your desired outcome and the transformation you’re experiencing in both your behavior and mindset.

Take a look at this guide if you’re starting out journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide).

3. Share Your Progress With a Trusted Friend or Coach

By voicing the change and expressing how far you’re noticing yourself move towards your goal, you’re reinforcing the power of change you’re experiencing.

And you’ll be activating the feel-good neurotransmitters that are so important for bringing your confidence, motivation, and positive changes to your brain to succeed.

Here’re more reasons why you should get yourself a life coach: 7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential.

4. Visualize Your Progress

Before you go to sleep in the evening, visualize your tomorrow. See yourself continuing to do the things that support your change.

Walk yourself through the tiny details that add up to the changes you want to see yourself doing, including the time you’ll wake up. In the morning, re-activate the visualization and then ‘step into’ your day.

Short-Term Goal Example: A Career Short-Term Goal

How to advance your career with short-term goals? Specifically, you will need short-term goals to help with your career. This is also how many people want to utilize short-term goals.

Start by Planning Your Career Visually

Walt Disney was sacked for lacking imagination. Oprah Winfrey was told she’d never make it on television. Careers are destroyed by naysayers intent on keeping you small. The successful person designs a career goal and then creates incremental steps to ‘ladder up’ with short-term goals.

Justin Dry from VinoMofo, a successful Australian wine distribution company, always begins his goal-setting process with visual planning. He says,

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I need to see it all in front of me like a puzzle I’m putting together. It kind of looks like the workings of a madman with lots of weird and wonderful shapes and lines connecting the words.

Whether you use masses of post-it notes that cover a wall, large sheets of paper to spread your ideas on or a journal to map your path – messy planning gets your ideas out of your head so you see different possibilities and pathways available to you.

Begin this process by asking, “What are my best hopes for my career?”

Write them down and place them somewhere you’ll notice them every day.

Make You Think Like a Start-Up Entrepreneur

While successful career planning starts with a messy and random process to let those ‘idea gems’ – the embryos of well-formed short-term goals rise, the next step is taking these nuggets and using them to set your direction.

Think of yourself (and your career) as if you’re the CEO of your successful start-up – one with a clear vision of what you want and how you’ll get it. Rather than waiting for a boss to give you goals, be proactive, and set your own.

Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot says,

Set a vision, and be focused on the intent of these goals. Create actions which not only build on those of yesterday but also improve what you do tomorrow. Your pathways will need to be flexible, challenged, and accountable.

Begin by listing the bigger steps needed to achieve your goal. Then chunk these down into smaller steps with specific actions needed to achieve them. These action steps are the workhorses of your short-term goals.

Create a specific time frame to complete them and maintain accountability – as if you’re reporting to your ‘higher up’.

Begin this process by asking yourself: “What difference will I notice when I take these steps?” Then ask: “What difference will my boss/es notice when I take these steps?”

Establish ‘Triggers’ for Your Daily Habits

Twyla Tharp (born 1941) legendary dancer and choreographer, maintains an exacting routine designed to trick her mind into a daily exercise habit.

I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.

It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it — makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.[4]

To do this list, create a trigger point – the smallest step you’ll do that will catapult you into taking action as Twyla Tharp did. What will be your ritual of ‘getting in the cab’?

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Get You to Talk About the Future

Melanie Perkins CEO of Canva, a thriving design and publishing solution, is known for ‘frequently talking about the future’.

Orienting your thoughts towards a future-focus reinforces how important your vision and goals are to you. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “You are what you think.”

  • Make it a habit to read your goals daily.
  • Think about what you’ll notice that will be different in your life when you achieve them.
  • Express your goals to someone important in your life.
  • Whisper them to yourself throughout your day.

Future-focused conversations (both with yourself and others) establish a pattern of expectancy, which continue fueling not only your desire but also the expectation of achieving it.

Manage Mental Resistance

When you begin with ‘hope’, you activate a sense of ‘expectancy’. A belief that what you want is not only possible, it’s within reach. Hope and expectancy are two powerful motivators in propelling you forward to a successful life.

When you’re ‘moving forward‘ with hope, you’re orienting yourself towards your desired future. When ‘moving away from‘ something you perceive as painful you’re activating ‘fear’, which can also be a strong motivator helping you avoid pain; for example, losing your job if your quarterly performance scores don’t improve.

Sarah, a manager at a busy merchandising company saw her doctor because she was feeling tired. After a thorough examination, the doctor advised Sarah to lose 15 kilos as this was contributing to her tiredness. The news felt overwhelming as Sarah worked long hours and rarely found time to shop for fresh food, so she relied on fast food to keep her going.

For Sarah, the doctor activated her fear by describing what could happen (heart attack and/or diabetes) if she didn’t manage her weight by shedding 15 kilos.

While ‘moving away from’ motivation can be successful, a way of amplifying positive motivators that will see Sarah begin ‘moving towards’ her goal is by talking about what outcomes Sarah would notice by losing 15 kilos.

For example, managing her weight may see Sarah being more efficient at work, getting out more socially, or feeling more able to manage work pressures and deadlines.

To do this with your own goal setting, think about what’s important to you about achieving your goals. Write down your answers. Ask: “What will you notice that will be different in your life when these changes happen?”

Summing It Up

Change is possible. Short-term goals that build upon each other are the stepping stones to achieving your best hopes.

Using your creative imagination by noticing the small differences occurring daily offers a positive way to create practical change in an easy and doable way.

Above all, make sure your goal is powered by ‘passionate desire’ so you achieve your desired outcomes.

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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