Are you just ‘getting by’ in your career?
Have you stalled, doing a job you don’t enjoy?
Do you know what it feels like to do something you’re passionate about every single day?
Do you work all week in order to ‘live’ at the weekends?
Whether you’re trying to find the right career or you want to make a slight change to your working practices, this article will help!
As noted in our article ‘8 ways to improve your health at work,’ the average person spends at least 10% of their entire life working. Don’t waste 10% of your life!
Understanding career anxiety and controlling your ego
According to Alain de Botton, it’s easier than ever to make a decent living but it’s not so easy to avoid career anxiety.
What is career anxiety you ask? Well, career anxiety is the need to have a “good” career, even at the expense of your dreams!
It is the part of us controlled by our ego and is the way we act in response to society’s norms, the media, corporate advertising and general job snobbery!
The whole point of this article is to help you create a happier, healthier lifestyle by controlling your ego, embracing consciousness and enjoying every single day.
“If you find a job you love, you will never work again” – Winston Churchill
Step 1. Self Assessment
Just take a second to think about what ‘living’ means to you…
Do you consider emotion, passion, pursuit, discovery and a sense of purpose higher in your scale of happiness than financial gain?
Most people do!
Do you need material possessions and financial wealth to attain these feelings?
Most people don’t!
So, ask yourself…
1. Who are you?
- What motivates you (Passion)?
- What are your values (Principles)?
- What have you been put on this planet to do (Purpose)?
The three P’s (Passion, Principles and Purpose) feature heavily in The Unbeatable Mind, a book written by former US Navy Seal Mark Divine. Although simple, this model provides a great foundation for finding out who you really are.
Answer the questions honestly. If money motivates you, that’s fine – just make sure that you understand what it is about money that motivates you?
It’s highly unlikely that it will be the figure showing on your bank statement. It’s more likely to be the things that come with it – status, power, popularity?
The same goes for material objects – What is it about specific material objects make you feel good? Are these feelings just a means of feeding your ego?
Oftentimes, such ‘feel good factors’ are not material at all and you can create happiness simply by making a change to your current position.
Check out Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari for a priceless lesson about the value of time and life experiences vs. the value of possessions.
2. What do you want in a job?
After you have found out who you are, the next step is to find out how you can fit your passion, principles and purpose into a job.
It’s never been easier to create a career from your passion. The power of the internet allows you to connect with likeminded people worldwide.
Whether you sell something obscure, provide advice on a niche topic or are just generally entertaining, there is no excuse – the internet provides unlimited opportunities, incomparable to any time in history! Just make sure you are patient, disciplined, consistent and dedicated to living your dream!
“If you want to know where your heart is. Look to where your mind goes when it wanders” – Unknown.
3. Find your “why”
Sinek argues that “why” is the ultimate question that drives an inspired career.
So… Why you do what you do?
What we do and how we do it are much more obvious.
Your “why” comes from deep within you – you can feel it in your gut and heart.
One way of connecting with your “why” is to explore your ‘Soul Primary Expression Modalities.’ Don’t be put off by the obscure name. These modalities are simply the ways of expressing yourself that best represent your spirit. Here are some examples:
What forms of expression make your heart sing and allow you to communicate clearly?
Brainstorm 2-3 modalities to provide you with a direction in choosing the right career for you.
Step 2. Where are you?
If you’ve read this far, you must have realised that it’s time to realign who you are with where you are.
Please consider your career right now and ask yourself:
- What do I do now, that aligns with who I am (found in step 1)?
- What do I do now that I enjoy?
- What do I do now, that does not align with who I am (found in step 1)?
- What do I do now that I do not enjoy?
- Does work make me happy?
- Do I need a slight change or do I need something entirely different?
- Do I want something more or do I want less? (There’s nothing wrong with wanting less! – See Gareth Philpotts’ article on Minimalism)
- What do I need to do to align where I am now with where I want to be?
Now you will have a good idea of what you are happy with in your career and what areas you need to change.
The key is knowing what you want in life (who you are), where you are and what you need to do to get where you want to be (action).
Please read the story of the Mexican fisherman (below) to put things into perspective – it will change your life:
Step 3. Action
All of this personal exploration leads to our final point… TAKING ACTION! This is what leads to change, new opportunities and ultimately your dream life.
It could start by taking a short class or negotiating with your boss to reduce your working hours (see Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 hour work week” for a clear guide on how to do this).
When you start to act yourself, think about who you are and clearly communicate why you do certain things it won’t be long until you start living the life you always dreamed of.
You see, if you do something you enjoy every day, the chances are you will do it well… If you do it well, it will be valuable to someone… If it’s valuable to someone, you will make a living from it… Once you earn a living from it you can carry on doing it well… People often talk about vicious circles but you never seem to hear about fruitful ones like this.
This ‘fruitful circle’ is a basic version of law of attraction.
If you stop thinking about unhappiness in your job and start moving (taking action) in a positive direction, you will find that new opportunities will arise from your efforts.
Your life is in your control and your career is just a small part of that!
In a nutshell, there are three simple steps you need to take in order to position yourself in a career that you love:
- Determine who you are and what is important to you – Find your “why”!
- Take stock of where you are now in your career and what you would like to change!
- Take action to get from where you are now to where you want to be!
It can be tempting to hit that snooze button and put off taking action until another day. But resist, persist and transform your life by taking steps towards the right career for you NOW!
They don’t have to be huge steps. Remember, as Chade-Meng Tan teaches – one small task per day, like a mindful breath, creates momentum and the intention to improve (Technique taken from Chade-Meng Tan section in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss).