If you’re feeling frustrated and unfulfilled at your job, and yearn for more meaningful work, you’re not alone. The good news is, you always have a choice. It might not be easy to discover your calling, but you will understand yourself a whole lot better by taking time to explore and develop your talents.
“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.” Tony Hsieh
Why is it so important to do what you love and prioritise work that makes you happy? Tony Hsieh’s New York Times Bestseller, “Delivering Happiness”, highlights how being a part of something bigger and living a life of purpose helps create a better, happier world for all.
While money is an important part of life, it doesn’t fill us with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing we’ve made a difference by doing something we enjoy. So how do you go about discovering your calling in life?
We’ve come up with a simple blueprint to guide you through the process.
1. Make a list of what you’re good at, and enjoy doing
It helps to list down all the things you do well, which you actually enjoy doing. Besides giving you clarity of your skills and talents, it’s a good way to brainstorm options for a career move.
Another question to ask yourself is, “What profession would you choose if there was no obstacle standing in your way?” You can always learn the skills to do something new. It all boils down to how far you’re willing to go to make your dreams a reality.
2. Ask friends, colleagues and superiors to name 3 things you’re really good at
This is important as we tend to be our own worst critic. Getting someone else’s opinion on what we’re good at helps to dispel our doubts and insecurities.
3. Make a shortlist from 1. & 2.
Based on your shortlist, assign a rating for each dream job on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the job you want most). From there, underline the top 3 dream jobs you’ve selected. These are the jobs you should prioritise.
4. Identify successful people who excel at your dream job
Whatever your dream job is, look up successful people who’ve mastered the job, and start reading their work and following their blog (if they have one). You can also ask your social circle for advice if you know anyone in the industry. It always helps to learn from those in the know, but make sure you compare and contrast opinions from different individuals.
5. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you’re good at
The chances are, you probably have transferrable skills you can apply to your dream job to begin with. But even if you don’t, you can always learn. Take up classes during the evenings or weekends. Besides learning new skills (like playing an instrument, cooking, web development, or anything else you fancy), you get to evaluate how you feel actually doing it.
The point here is to explore any hidden talents you might have. You might be surprised!
6. Try doing your dream job for a week (or two)
It could be on a voluntary basis, an internship or just a short-term assignment. See how you feel after doing it 8 hours a day for a couple of weeks. You’ll know whether it feels right. If it doesn’t, you can cross it off your list and move on to the next.
Obviously doing it for just a week or two is very different from doing it full-time, but it should give you a taste of what to expect if you were to commit to it. Go with your instincts.
7. Ask for feedback
Ask for an honest review of your performance. A couple of weeks might not give your direct report much to go on, but ask them if they feel you have a flair for it, and what areas you need to improve on. This will give you clarity of what to work on, if you decide to make a career out of it.
8. Come up with an action plan
If it feels right and you get positive feedback, you can then start working on an action plan to make your dream job a reality. Check out our 7 Practical Steps for a simple guide on how to do that.
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