We all aspire to find meaning and purpose in our careers, whatever our line of work maybe, but the question is how do you actually do that?
Through this post, I’d like to share some practical steps you can take to make sure that you don’t stay stuck in a career that’s not meant for you but rather you are empowered to find a career that allows you to do what you genuinely care about.
Define what “meaningful” is to you
Conventional wisdom may indicate that a meaningful and successful career is one that brings loads of money, recognition, and fame. And maybe that is true for some people, but is that true for you?
You need to take a moment of self-reflection and truly consider what a meaningful career looks like for you and how that fits into the context of a meaningful life.
When trying to decide what a meaningful career looks like, try to consider how your intended career weighs against the following factors: legacy, mastery, freedom, and alignment
Look at the list of things you will have to achieve on this job and ask yourself if these are things you enjoy doing and can see yourself doing for an extended period of time. It’s not always going to be rainbows and roses, so even on the mundane days, you have to ask yourself if you would be willing to stick it out.
Are you creative and like to think outside the box? Do you like to follow rules and preserve order? How well do you handle uncertainty? Do you like being told what to do or do you prefer to be left to your own devices most of the time? Are you good at convincing others to do things or do you prefer to let the numbers do the talking?
Will your career allow you achieve the things you want to professionally while allowing you to stay true to yourself?
Make a list of all the things you know you kick-ass at and totally dominate. Are you a good writer, speaker, convener, motivator, team player or thinker?
Does the career you’ve chosen put you in a position where you can display your mastery of these skills? Are there other skills that you have a feeling that if given the opportunity to do so you could master easily? Would this career afford you that opportunity?
I think we all know intuitively what this means. Whatever career you choose, it’s going to come with some constraints i.e. salary, benefits, vacation days, how much you get to travel etc.
When you imagine yourself living your best and freest life, what does this look like? Will this career allow you to achieve that vision of freedom that you have?
When it comes to alignment, the question you have to ask yourself is whether your chosen career is in line with your personal values and the type of work culture that you value. This requires a bit of research and digging to find accounts from people who have worked there.
For instance, a company might be well-known for fostering creativity but also condoning a culture of misogyny. You need to be able to determine for yourself whether the culture that exists is one you see yourself fitting into seamlessly or whether it is one where you are willing to change to adapt to.
What other principles have helped you in achieving a great career?please drop your comments in the comment box below.