A really good friend of mine is always saying “when you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life”. It’s a mantra and quote that has stuck with me for many years now and words of wisdom I live by and have imparted to my kids and clients alike. The way I see it is you have at least two choices. You find your bliss or passion in a career or hobby and you go for it or you find a way to be passionate about your current career.
1. Satisfaction Check – Look at each area of your life and determine your level of satisfaction with each area. You should consider your career, finances, health and wellness, relationship with your significant other, family and friends, personal growth and development, physical surroundings, fun and recreation and anything else that is important to you. I like to rate each area on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest level of satisfaction (your bliss) and 1 being a low or no level of satisfaction. Then I suggest taking a good hard look at each area to analyze the gap. Determine what would have to happen or change for the gap to be reduced or eliminated. For example: If you rated your career a 7 out of 10. What would make your satisfaction level with your career a 10? Perhaps more clients, less travel time to work, a better relationship with your boss, etc. Once you’ve identified all the items that could make a difference in your level of satisfaction you need to commit to action. Taking even one action will move you one step closer to a higher level of satisfaction in that area of your life.
2. Values Check – Know what’s important to you. Being really clear about your values and what’s most important to you helps you make better decisions more often. Make a list of what’s most important to you in your life right now. Then rank everything on the list from highest priority to lowest priority. Take a really close look at your top 5 values. These are your most important values. How closely aligned are these top 5 values to how you spend your time day to day? What have you been neglecting that’s really important to you? Many successful people put as much time and thought into what they do in their time away from the office as they do in the office. Can you make connections between what you do for a living and what’s important to you? For example: perhaps you have an expensive hobby you are passionate about i.e. race car driving or flying planes. You are in a high paying career that you perhaps don’t love but it provides you with the time and money to race cars or fly planes. Find ways to love your work or at least be grateful for your career as it is providing you with the means to follow your passion of racing cars or flying planes-there is a connection to your values, there is a sense of purpose.
3. Competencies Check – Before leaving my corporate career of 26 years to start my own business, I did some planning and strategizing to determine the type of business I wanted to be in. In the business world it is common to conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Applying this same management tool can be very effective when applied personally. Start with an assessment of your personal strengths and weaknesses. What are you really good at? What aren’t you so good at? Engage others to provide you with feedback in these areas as well. You may be surprised by hidden talents you have taken for granted or haven’t been using. Consider opportunities available to you today to utilize and optimize your strengths. For example: There are careers and businesses in existence today that weren’t around 26 years ago when I first started my professional career. The world is constantly changing and evolving and so are the opportunities. Look for the opportunities or create some new ones. As for threats, it’s important to recognize that they do exist and to plan to minimize or mitigate any risks.
4. Mindset Check – Lastly, it’s important to recognize that no one or one thing can make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy!
Based on my experience as a career coach I have found that many people find it easier to be accountable to someone else than it is to be accountable to oneself. A coach can support you by working with you to help you find your passion, determine your career and life goals and then hold you accountable every step of the way.