What do I want to do for the rest of my life? was the question I asked myself 7 years ago when I was trying to decide what to study and, working in Recruitment made me realize we all ask it more than once in life.
It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement – Maslow.
Abraham Harold Maslow was the psychologist who invented the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That guy actually knows about people’s motivations and still, he concludes that it’s normal to not know what we want. What?
Some have known what they want to do since always, and they’ve worked to get to that so wanted role. Some others are just doing chile, mole, y pozole (Mexican saying to describe a random mix). There’s nothing wrong with testing out different areas when it comes to your career, actually, it helps to find what you like to do the most. It makes my job very difficult, tho.
You might have heard the “The best people I know didn’t know what to do with their lives at 23” comfort. I’m not untrustworthy about it but, you know… you do need to start somewhere.
- Identify what you are good at and makes you happy.
It may sound like a cliche, and it is! But even if we all have heard it, why 80% of people don’t like their jobs? (Start With Why, Simon Sinek) This is your start point.
Jake Knapp starts his book SPRINT by giving you context on how the method started. He was deeply interested in time-management and how to make sure you’re getting the most of your teams so he started working on the method without knowing it could reach so many people. That’s all. He created something really awesome and helpful for other people and companies just because he found a need the world didn’t know had it.
Jake’s case is not the only one, you have a bunch of other examples like the creators of Warby Parker (you can check their full case in Originals by Adam Grant). After their first year, they shipped more than 100,000 pairs of glasses and reached 60 employees. They just wanted glasses at an affordable price! Inspiring huh?
Work is the thing you’ll do the most in your life, you spend more than half of your day at your office (or in your lap if you do remote work) and if you’re spending all that time in something that doesn’t make you feel proud, excited, or at least ease, you’re wasting time. If you are unemployed, think about this point when deciding on a job.
The problem with finding “what I want to do” is that we’re in disadvantage when it comes to information. There are thousands of careers out there, there’s a high probability that you won’t know about all of them when choosing. Minimize this risk and do your homework; research about the jobs you’ll like to have or people you admire for their career path, try talking with people in different areas. Don’t do it only externally, you can also ask yourself some questions about your current/last job like what did I like the most and the least about my responsibilities? what was the most challenging activity I got to do?. This won’t give you a full answer but it should give you a clue.
- Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
The first case Simon approaches in Start With Why is the Wright Brothers’. They didn’t have the best equipment or the best-prepared team to fly the first airplane. However, they do had passion and a Why. if you already have one, you’re halfway to creating something great!
Don’t be afraid of getting a big dream for yourself. If you want to start your own business, why wait to have all the money you need? by the time that you’ll have it, it’s probably that you won’t have the same willing, strength, or drive to work on it.
Maybe you’re not passionate about launching your own company, maybe you are passionate about that dream job. To get it, I recommend The Three-Steps Plan.
I was recently asked for a Biomedical MS graduated if she should study another Master. After talking a while with her, I understood her situation: she really wants a job in Research and was assuming that in order to get it, she needed to study another Master. She didn’t even know for sure the requirements the position has!
This is a super common error, that’s why the first step of The Three-Steps Plan is: don’t assume, inform yourself about the skills you need to get that job. The second is to focus on developing what you’re still missing of those skills. The third step is to start applying! even if you don’t get the job at the first attempt, you’ll get a lot of feedback and go back to step one.
- Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Yes, I love the idea (as you can see in other of my articles) that there are factors outside us we can’t control, and sometimes they’ll give us an advantage. Find the balance between letting things happen and making them happen. Right opportunities don’t just come up. They are all the time around us but, you’ll never have your own right opportunity if you are not prepared to take it. And this leads me to the next point:
- There’s always room for growth.
Try new things, read a book, take a course on that skill you’ve been dying to develop even if it’s not related to your current job, don’t be afraid of doing networking or get involved in activities outside your daily scope, it will provide you a bigger picture about problems and how to approach them.
These days, if you don’t learn about something is because you don’t want to. It’s the easiest thing to put on a YouTube tutorial, find a very detailed article or read a great book about anything.
- Trust your gut, follow your heart and take your brain with you.
May you always love what you do.
– V by V