The most daunting thing for me during my twenties was trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do with my life, from a career standpoint. I found it so difficult to commit to one career idea, or to really feel any kind of passion toward any particular career path. I changed my mind so many times I pretty much lost track. I went from wanting to be a Vet (dead serious, what the hell was I thinking?}, to a Social Worker, to a Teacher, to an Occupational Therapist, to a Nurse, to finally deciding to pursue a career in Human Resources. I ended up taking my advanced diploma in HR after already taking 4 years of University and obtaining my Arts degree, and finally at age 27 I feel like I have an idea of the direction I want to go with my career. But in all seriousness ask me again in a year and I will have probably changed my mind *insert eye rolling emoji here*.
The biggest hesitation for me has always been the idea of taking 4 years of University to pursue a career, and then hating it, or changing my mind and ending up back at square one. Well, guess what, that is what happen, and guess what else, it all worked out just fine. It was such a struggle for me to figure out what I wanted to do, all I desired was someone to tell me I would be so great at a certain occupation and point me in the right direction. I have researched various tests and strategies for figuring out the correct career path, anything to help me decide and commit, and that is what I want to share with you in this post, the best strategies that helped me truly figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I mean besides drinking wine and owning lots of puppies.
STRATEGY ONE – NATURAL ABILITIES & NATURAL INTERESTS
The first strategy seems pretty obvious, but I guarantee it is not a strategy that many people consider when making the decision of their career path. Many of us consider money, length of schooling, and job stability when considering a career path, which are all important considerations, but many of us forget to consider the most obvious and possibly the most important aspects: our natural abilities, and our natural interests. That is what the first strategy revolves around, making a list of what your natural abilities and natural interests are. So to pinpoint natural abilities, you need to explore what are you good at? Are you good at helping others? Are you creative? Are you a great writer? Are you great with animals? This is not always the easiest activity, pointing out all the things we are good at. Most of us are hard on ourselves when it comes to our talents and positive attributes, so ask someone else what they think your great at, it may help you get some ideas flowing. The second step to this strategy is making a list of what your natural interests are. Do you like Psychology? Business? Social Interactions? What do you read? What do you watch?
Now, once you have your two lists, one for your natural abilities and one for your natural interests, take a look and where the two overlap. For example, if your natural abilities are helping others and writing and your natural interests are Psychology, reading self-help books, and watching Ted Talks about Self-Development then you should be a Self-Help writer or blogger, or even a life coach. If your abilities are helping others and patience and your natural interests are animals and healthcare, you can look into careers as a Vet or a Vet Technician or assistant.
Give it a try and be very honest with yourself!
STRATEGY TWO – XYZ METHOD
The second strategy I found helpful is called the XYZ method. Basically there are 3 aspects we are going to look at and those 3 aspects combined will show us our ideal job (X+Y+Z = Ideal Job). To get our XYZ we have to follow 3 steps. So, the first thing to do is make a list of all the aspects you enjoy about your current job as well as all the aspects you enjoyed about any previous jobs. The second thing to do is consider what you would miss the most about your current or most recent job if you no longer had it or was moved into a different position. And the last step is looking at both of your lists and narrowing it down to just 3 things. Those 3 things are your XYZ. So out of my lists I pulled the following: Creating training tools and presentations + helping others + learning opportunities and self-development. These make total sense for me, because the aspect of HR I enjoy the most is the the learning and development side. I love creating new tools and training presentations and I love giving those presentations and helping others learn, I also love any form of self-development and learning opportunities for myself, which was on my list of things I would miss from a current or recent job. So my X+Y+Z = my ideal job in the area of training or learning & development which is the aspect of HR I enjoy the most.
STRATEGY THREE – CIRCLES OF LIFE
The last strategy is what I like to call the Circles of Life. Basically you have 3 circles, each one representing a topic. The topics are: Things You Love, Things You Are Good At, and Things That Pay. Where the three circles overlap is what your ideal career would be. For example: Things You Love – Flexibility, Healthy living, being fit. Things You Are Good At – Helping others, socializing, creating workout and meal plans. Things That Pay – Helping Others, Selling a Product or information, Education or Course. From that we can pull possible careers of: Personal Trainer, Gym Manager, Blogging about health & fitness, creating a health & fitness product, Going back to school to gain a background in Sports Medicine or Kinesiology.
Now, I know this is a lot of information to take in, so what I did for my readers is create a very easy to follow printable worksheet that outlines the three activities and provides a step by step guide to finding your purpose! It also includes a great diagram so you can complete the Circle of Life Activity. If you would like access to the free worksheet Click below:
I hope this post helps you, even a little bit, in figuring out what you want to pursue as a career and where your true interests lie. I hope you also remember that while income is important, not to pursue a career path for income alone. Make sure you are pursuing something that you have a true interest in and that you are good at. Sure getting paid well is great, but if you hate going to work everyday, is it really worth it? Also remember changing your mind a billion times is okay! If you never try different options, how will you find out if you enjoy something! My motto is change your mind a million times and eventually you will find out what you love. Just kidding, that is not really my motto, that just seems to be the way my life goes so I’ll just pretend it is intentional 😉
How have you figured out what career path to choose? Did you begin down one path and then make a drastic change in career? Let me know in the comments below!