Are you unhappy in your career? Thinking that “this is not what I signed up for”? Or feeling that you don’t fit with your job and that this is not what you were put on this earth to do?.
If this is the case, then it is time to think about what you are good at, what skills you prefer to use to and what your true passions and interest are because somewhere in there is where your perfect career lies.
One of my favourite podcasts is the ABC’s Conversations with Richard Fidler and Sarah Konowski because it’s full of interesting insights on how people think.
Recently, Sarah interviewed Osamah Sami, author of Good Muslim Boy. As the son of Iraqi immigrants to Australia, Osamah believed there were two career paths open to him:
- Taxi driver
His father was a prominent Imam in Melbourne and his family expected him to become a doctor to maintain the family’s good standing in the community. When Osamah failed to get the Year 12 grades to entry into a medical degree, he used photoshop to fudge the results on his certificate so he could bluff his family he had ‘achieved his KPIs’. He even spent a whole year sitting in on lectures at the University of Melbourne’s medical school. Finally, his ruse was exposed and he had to confess to his family he had lied in an attempt to be the good Muslim boy they wanted him to be.
Osamah’s story is more dramatic than most but it did make me wonder how many people choose career paths to please others instead of being true to themselves?
Be True to Yourself
As a kid at school, Osamah was interested in acting and he was always putting on plays to entertain his family and friends. His strength was storytelling and entertaining the crowd. But he put his artistic flair aside and studied physics and chemistry, which he didn’t enjoy and wasn’t good at. It’s not hard to understand why he started to skip school.
In her TED talk, Grit – the power of passion and perseverance, researcher and psychologist, Angela-Lee Duckworth, says there are two factors that determine how successful a person will be:
- Passion – having a love for what you do.
- Perseverance – the ability to stick at it.
Together, these two qualities produce grit, which bears more influence on success than intelligence, education or socio-economic advantage.
“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Angela-Lee Duckworth.
If you are not passionate about what you do, you will not want to stick at it, and that makes it hard to be successful.
Osamah Sami is now an actor and author but his career path was a winding journey that took grit. But his story shows that you can take many detours on your career path towards the journey of finding the career that best fits you.
What If I Don’t Know What I’m Good At?
If you’ve been stuck in a job you don’t like for a long time, it can be easy to lose your self-identity and self-confidence, leaving you feeling disheartened and believing that a happy and successful career is impossible.
A client of mine once said “maybe being happy in my career is not meant to be for me”, which is the saddest thing I’d ever heard.
The good news is there are tools to help you identify your strengths and what jobs suit your personality. For example, I use a tool with my clients called Harrison Career Guide which allows us together to objectively assess their strengths and it also suggests career paths that aligns personality, skills and the things they like doing.
The advantage of using a tool like Harrison Career Guide is it can open your mind to alternative career paths. Careers that you had not thought of previously. It can be easy to define yourself by your job title but that way of thinking is closed-minded and doesn’t consider your potential for growth or the transferability of your skills. For example, you may be an accountant and one of your strengths is attention to detail. Attention to detail is a very necessary skill for an auditor but it is also useful for a process manager, an editor, event manager or professional organiser who helps people get their lives and homes in order. Same strengths, same skills but many different outcomes.
Another way to evaluate your strengths is ask three people in your personal and professional network to give you two or three keywords they think sums up what they think you are good at.
In my article How to Find a Career You Love I talk about the need to explore and understand your character as the first step to cultivating a flourishing life. What is fundamental to your nature? As a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards, before you bore the responsibility of paying bills?
Use this research to remember who you are and what you love doing. Knowing your strengths can open up a world of career opportunities.
Finding the Right Career Path
Once you have a good understanding of your strengths, you are then in a good position to evaluate alternative career paths. You can start by making a list of jobs you think you would be suited to, then do your research and find out the entry points, salaries, locations and all the details you will need to make a decision.
Alternatively, it can be useful to seek independent professional advice on how to transition out of your current role into a new career. Changing jobs, let alone embarking on an entirely new career, is one of life’s big stressors so having someone on your side to talk to through the transition can make it easier.
Take the First Step
If you are thinking about changing careers, I offer a Career Switch program, which includes an assessment of your strengths and an appraisal on what roles might be suitable for you. This program is backed by my money-back guarantee. If you don’t feel I’ve kept my promise of providing you with knowledge, tools or strategies to accelerate your career, then I will give you your money back.
It all starts with a free 45 minute career breakthrough conversation. I invite you to book yours today and take the first step to becoming your future you.