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6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Career

6 Steps to Finding the Perfect Career

Getting a job is not the goal.  Finding the perfect career is.

Millions of people in the world are unhappy in their jobs.  Why?  They have limited options.  They are afraid to change.  They have chosen careers that are not a good fit for their talents, or careers about which they are not passionate.  But you can avoid those pitfalls and take charge of your work life.  Here are 6 steps to finding the perfect career.

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Step 1: Create options

If you want the perfect career, you have to know what you want, and what you don’t want.  This requires options.  Luckily, many ways to create options exist: gain expertise through online classes or seminars, grow your connections by joining networking groups, update your resume and post it to several job boards, hire a career coach.  Any or all of these will increase your visibility and expertise, and therefore the number of potential options for your perfect career.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid to change

Most people start out with an idea about what their perfect career might be, and most people end up in a career that is different than the one they considered first.  That’s OK.  College majors are not life sentences.  If you didn’t find the perfect career the first time around, you can still create it.  Consider ways to use your major differently.  An education major might be useful because of its emphasis on planning; an accounting major might save you the expense of hiring someone else to balance the books for your entrepreneurial venture.  It’s all about reframing.

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Step 3: Know what you’re made of

It is impossible to find your perfect career without understanding yourself.  Take assessments.  Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Discover your passions.  Understand your motivations.  Your perfect career is not the same as someone else’s perfect career, and the more you know about what you’re made of, the easier it will be to determine the right fit.

Step 4: Define your non-negotiables

Does your perfect career require work/life balance?  Does it require a certain income level?  Does it have a high degree of autonomy?  Do you want to manage others?  Make a wish list for your perfect career, and decide what is absolutely essential versus what would be nice to have.  Refuse to compromise on the essentials.  Your perfect career is not just good enough; it’s perfect.

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Step 5: Interview jobs; don’t let jobs interview you

When you know what you’re made of, and you’ve defined your non-negotiables, use them to decide whether or not a role is right for you.  Interview prospective employers and screen potential jobs.  Will this job fuel your passion in 6 months?  6 years?  60 years?  How will it allow you to contribute in a meaningful way?  Do most of the responsibilities line up well with your strengths?  Will you have help in areas of weakness?  If not, it might be better to look elsewhere.  Have the confidence to say, “My perfect career is out there, and this is not it.”  Employers look for people who know themselves well and carry themselves with confidence.  If the fit for one role is not ideal, they might approach you with another that would be better for you.

Step 6: Be patient

Sometimes the perfect career is developed, not found.  Most people don’t start their careers with a very high income or an opportunity to manage others.  Often, specific experiences are necessary prerequisites for the perfect career.  If you have a job that affords you these experiences, it might be worth remaining patient in order to have more options later.  Also, never take a job just to have one.  It’s true that sometimes beggars can’t be choosers, but this is about finding the perfect career, not just finding a job.

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The perfect career is out there.  Have the courage and patience to find it.

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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

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No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

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If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

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Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

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If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

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