Ever had someone ask you this question?
Seems like we know the answer when we are in our early teens.
What happens around the age of about 20? For those old enough, what happens about ten years in to your working life?
As children we have a lot less fear. So we are able to think and connect more with our sub-conscious thoughts and not distract from them. Some have such a strong connection that they know that’s what they will do. And they do.
Let me explain. I know a friend who is now a doctor. She told me from the age of about 13 she knew that is what she wanted to do because her brother was ill in hospital as a child and she saw how the humour and care of their doctor was able to help the situation. It wasn’t just his job it was his personality she was referring to.
She sounded very tired almost slurring her words as we spoke one day on a call at about 10pm at night, organising plans for the next day. I asked her how her day was. She said “I’m exhausted both physically and mentally” then went on to describe in detail how a nurse had misplaced some notes and a patient was shouting at her earlier in the day.
I asked, smiling on my side of the phone, “Do you like your job?”, expecting her to rant about all the things wrong with it. She said “No, I love my job”.
How? Why? Walking five miles a day in a ward, getting berated by patients then filling in piles of paper work didn’t sound like an exhilarating job to me. But she seemed content. As if she was doing what she was meant to be doing. As if she would not even seek to find happiness in another role because she was so happy. The grass was greener where she was.
I have another friend, on the other hand who wanted to be a pilot ‘when he grows up’. He now works in Finance and is 10 years in to his career. He told me how everyday on his drive to work he would watch the planes fly in the sky and daydream…what would life have been like. “That could’ve been me”.
So I asked him, what happened? Where did the plan change? He said at about 16 he never thought he would be good enough to pass the exams required to be a pilot. So he didn’t know what to do and just chose Finance at University as a generic topic to keep the options open when he graduated. He knew anything on the medical side was not for him. He used a process of elimination to set his career path. Much like I did in multiple choice questions.
Life is like a multiple choice question. You can either use a process of elimination to ‘hope’ you get to the right answer, or work out the correct one.
He works shorter hours than the doctor, has less stress, and probably gets paid about the same if not better. I asked him “Do you like your job?” He said “I’m miserable Prabhmeet, I feel like I’m wasting my life, I could be doing so much more”.
I had many more discussions like this with many many people. Each telling their own story.
Can you relate to this?
I asked my friend what if being a pilot also made him miserable, how does he know he would have been happy. He agreed it could be possible. But, he said he would have been living his passion. He would be working with people in an environment that he enjoys. Because he would be interested he would want to learn more, and progress more in the field.
One thing became clear to me. Choosing a career is always thought of as an outwardly decision. What job will give you respect. What will earn you good money. Where will you have security? What will the job be?
All great questions to ask. But what if we flip this thinking on its head. Choosing a job is very much inwardly.
In fact the key to choosing a career is your personality. You see, the job you will do greatest in, is one that suits your personality. Read both examples above and notice how subtly either people or their personality is described.
For example then, if you are strong, challenging and inquisitive a demanding high pressure role will serve you well.
On the other hand if you like a methodological approach, are more reserved, less aggressive, thats completely ok. Because there are roles that need that EXACT personality to be a success. You don’t need to change who you are.
Sure you can change if you really want to. I’ve tried it. And it’s hard work. You spend more time trying to be someone you’re not and less time focusing on actually progressing in your job.
Have you ever had that feeling when you are around certain people and your shoulders feel tight, your neck is clenched and your mouth struggles to always open. Maybe not to an extreme extent but maybe a little bit..maybe 5% or 10%. And when you are around certain other people, you feel so happy that your shoulders drop, your muscles are relaxed and you feel like you can say anything and people will want to listen.
Match your personality to your career.
How do I know what roles will match my personality?
What would you enjoy doing? Like really enjoy, not what you think you should be doing because of parents, friends, uncles, aunts siblings etc.
If you are working at the moment and you are in a role, feel free to leave a comment saying what personality you think best fits in your career. Let’s help each other through sharing knowledge. You never know how it may impact that one person who is stuck in their career choice but has a lot to offer and comes across your comment and has a eureka moment! This isn’t just me writing, this is where you can contribute and help others too…and you know what, it will feel great. So give it a shot, there is no right or wrong thing to say just your own personal opinion.
Therefore to summarise, to really enjoy your career, you need to
1. identify your passion
2. to identify your passion you need to think about what you enjoy
3. to think about what you enjoy, you need to understand what your personality is like
4. If you don’t know what your personality is like, think who are the people that I enjoy being around the most. Then think about their personalities
But what if it’s a career that I’m not successful in?
What if I don’t enjoy it after I do it?
What if i don’t earn enough money doing my passion even though it sounds amazing?
Yes, I am aware of the recent trend in house prices and university fees etc.
But let’s all have a big round of applause for…fear. Because this is where fear likes to make an appearance.
As we reach adolescence, our concious thoughts become more powerful than our sub-conscious ones. Then we end up in a career that society wants us to be in.
This isn’t the career that YOU wanted to be in. What a waste huh. I would even quite controversially call you selfish. You have been created to do something great! But you choose to do something that someone else will be great at doing.
Follow the steps above, find your purpose in life then live it!
Try it and see. You won’t have any regrets because you will be doing something that you want to do. That you wanted to try. That you want to experience. Seniority, respect and money will come when you’re not just working through a role but you are awesome at it! Not for your bonus, friends or family but for yourself! The world will call upon YOUR expert knowledge, knowledge you have gained by doing something you enjoy.
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