I wrote this post on why your career matters when it comes to relationships, and to follow up on that, I’d like to share some tips on how to find the career that best suits you.
Two Kinds of People
I think there are two kinds of people. There are people who have always known exactly what they want to be when they grow up. Innately, they just know. Like one of my best friends, Jacki, who always knew her calling was to be a math teacher. She is passionate about math, and she loves helping others learn. She is also brilliant at teaching. Those who just know find the holy grail of career fulfillment:
They are able to align their passions with their skills.
They are in the element.
I am finishing up this book, The Element, and I HIGHLY recommend it. I also highly recommend the Passion Test:
Anywho, as I was saying, there are two kinds of people. The other kind of person, (I fall in this category) doesn’t quite know what they should do with their lives. They may like so many different things and can’t just choose one. Or, they like a lot of things but don’t feel the kind of passionate, obsession over one thing. They are interested in one thing for a time, then move on to the next after something new comes a long.
What I’ve realized is that sometimes people can’t figure out exactly what they need to be doing with their lives BECAUSE IT DOESNT EXIST. You’re lucky if you think “doctor” or “teacher” and know you fit that role exactly.
But some people, like the cartoonist/blogger/author/artist/entrepreneur Hugh MacLeod, didn’t fit any given mold. He had to CREATE his job, his multifaceted, entrepreneurial job that allows him to do much more than anything that already existed in one given career role.
If Your Dream Job Doesn’t Exist, CREATE IT
I’m encouraging you folks who can’t exactly put a finger on that “career.” Don’t be discouraged. If the job you want doesn’t exist, CREATE it.
I never knew that I was going to set out to make a career out of being a dating columnist/fashion and beauty blogger. My dating blog satisfies my need to write and bring something meaningful while my fashion and beauty blog satisfies my need to create something aesthetic. I didn’t know my income would come the way magazines make their income (through advertising). I never knew this world existed. I never knew that a flower company would offer to pay me $30 a month just to replace the word “flowers” with their brand in one of my old posts, for example. I never knew people would actually pay me to give advice through email and phone consultations.
What People Will Pay For
One of my close friends asked me, “What makes you think you can charge people when you don’t have credentials?”(like a degree in counseling and therapy) and you know what I told her? I told her that my time is valuable. My biblical research and unique insight may not mean something to a lot of people, but what I offer is helpful, and I believe that it’s valuable.
Back in the earlier days when I didn’t charge for email consultations, after several email correspondences, a reader actually mailed me a $50 gift certificate to show his appreciation. Another gentleman emailed me and said, “Where is your book and where can I buy it?!”
That is what got me thinking that what I offer is valuable. That is when I started believing I could make a career out of this. And when I look at what other dating “coaches” charge for consultations and programs, I know I am offering something valuable for a very low cost. I know I am helping people.
Here’s what I’m trying to say: You have something to offer the world that is valuable. Don’t let anyone (especially your inner critic) tell you otherwise.
Someone out there is willing to pay for the value that you put into the world.
The great thing about creating this new career reality is that it’s ever changing, full of unexpected surprises, and constantly evolving. I know this is just the beginning. I know in the future I want to work with my friends, collaborate with other artists and writers, and who knows what else could unfold?!
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Now, how do you begin the process of finding out your dream career?
I would suggest asking yourself these questions:
1. If there was no such thing as money, what would you DO with your time?
This will give you insight as to what your passions are. Is there any way to translate your passion into making money? If you like to garden, could you start an online gardening and consultation service? It doesn’t have to be online; you could also start a landscaping business or offer your gardening expertise to newbies. Do you like to read books? Could you start a site doing book reviews?
2. At the end of your life, what would you regret NOT doing?
Instead of thinking about what you want to do, you can also turn the question around.
3. What person’s position in life do you admire? What life do you want to emulate?
Look at people in established careers, those at the very top of their profession. What success story appeals to you?
And the important thing is that it matters to you. There is only one of you that will ever exists. EVER. And because of that, you have something uniquely valuable to offer that no one else can. Can you imagine anyone else doing exactly what Hugh MacLeod is doing, in exactly the way he is doing it?
The same thing goes for you. And it doesn’t matter if it is an important job by anyone else’s standards. I know a girl that told me her passion is retail. And that’s what she does. And you know what? I think she’s luckier than Andre Agasi who admittedly wrote in his biography that he doesn’t like tennis or Serena and Venus Williams who also admitted that they don’t like tennis. They may be successful, but they didn’t reach the holy grail of career fulfillment. They had the skill but they lacked the passion.
Don’t settle for the thing you are good at but don’t necessarily LOVE.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can make a career out of something you LOVE but are not skilled in.
You need love. And you need skill.