Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Joe Wilner of Shake off the Grind.
We all want that "job" where we jump out of bed for in the morning, and feel excited and energized about the day ahead of us. Though, the majority of people are not happy in their job. They have reached an impasse, feel stuck, and are no longer gaining growth from their career experience.
Reaching an impasse can be a very beneficial moment in someone's life though. It's an important part of personal and professional growth. It signals that it's time to start looking deeper at how we want to spend our time, and what type of professional endeavor and lifestyle will provide satisfaction and fulfillment.
Many people feel that finding career fulfillment is a lofty and idealistic dream. It's easy to have doubts once we’re habitually conditioned to a certain lifestyle and daily routine, but I truly believe that people can find work that’s inspiring, purposeful, and ultimately fulfilling.
As long as you love the process and experience of what you’re doing, true career fulfillment can be obtained. If you have positive well-being and your values are met, then you’re on the right path.
So, what will provide you career fulfillment? Below are a few guidelines to consider.
If you didn't have to worry about money, what would you pay to do?
This can be a real eye-opening exercise. If you had all the money you needed, and didn't have to worry about paying bills and everyday expenses, what would you do? Furthermore, what would you be willing to pay to do every day if money was irrelevant?
Would you write songs and play music?
Start a not-for-profit organization that provides education and training?
Learn as much as possible by traveling the world, meeting with spiritual gurus, and engaging in relentless education, training, and personal development?
Okay, I’m speaking for myself, but just think about it.
“We'd love to be involved with the creation of something very special, something quite large and something quite exciting.”- Richard Branson
If you’re willing to pay to do it, it must have some serious intrinsic value. It’s probably something that’s fulfilling day in and day out. There’s ways to monetize almost any activity or area of interest, so really consider what enlivens your enthusiasm and passion for living.
Recognize that money does not provide enduring career satisfaction. People who love what they do are more satisfied, so first do what you love and the money will follow.
Enjoy the process more than the proceeds.
Write down the top 10 things or jobs you would want to do despite money, skills, abilities, or belief that it's even possible. Your selections may be all over the board, but just write down the 10 areas that interest you the most.
Work with people you respect
Have you ever had a job that really wasn’t all that great, but you really loved your co-workers. As much as you disliked the work, relationships make it hard to leave, even when a much better opportunity arose. Working with people we respect and appreciate is essential for career fulfillment.
Be careful of professional relationships where people gossip and talk behind your back. Avoid these relationships and recognize that these toxic interactions can’t last if you want true fulfillment on the job.
If you respect the people you work with, there’ll be more creative development and interaction, while experiencing more productivity and positive emotions.
Your relationships outside of work will be healthier, because you aren’t bringing home frustration from your job. Having positive and encouraging relationships at work will provide inspiring and nourishing interactions in and out of the office.
Figure out talents, skills, and values
Experiencing different activities and professional responsibilities is the most direct way to know what interests you have, and what values you hold. It’s important to get experience doing many different things in order to learn, build skills, gain knowledge, and establish values.
Experience can come from volunteering in a particular area of interest, or educating yourself about different job markets. It’s also not a bad thing to make linear job changes. Not every new job has to be a promotion. In this way you can gain more insight and understanding of what you want to do. Sometimes the actual occupation is different than the overall industry.
You should recognize that you don’t need to stick with an undesirable day job just to boost your resume. I have done this many times, and often received much frustration and lack of fulfillment.
There are many formal assessments that can help with understanding talents, skills, and ability. Kuder Inc. provides career planning assessments to help gain awareness in skills, values, and interests, and will match these with numerous possible job occupations to help begin the process of career planning.
Write your own job description, and take a leap
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay
Unless you have known what you want to do since you were 5 years old, your dream career probably hasn't always been so clear. You have probably changed a lot over the years, and may feel a little uncertain about where you best fit-in. To discover what you want to do, put together the pieces of what you’ve learned about your values, skills, interests, and desires.
From this, develop your own personal job description. Use details including your responsibilities, how much you'll work, and how much money you'll make. A very logical way to find career fulfillment is to devise a description about what you want to do. You don’t have to fit into a premade job role where you have no intrinsic motivation.
Be willing to embrace some uncertainty through the process of pursuing your self-made career. No matter how well you know yourself, your world, and your work, there will be obstacles to push past in order to find your dream job.
All heavy hitting successful people have failed many times before they succeeded. Stephen King’s book Carrie was rejected 30 times, Oprah was said to be “not fit for TV”, and Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Don’t sell yourself short in what you capable of doing and where you fit-in. Career planning is a process, so continue charting your path to discover your values, purpose, and meaning. Experience life and set out on journey of self-discovery.
Joe is an entrepreneur and coach who manages the blog Shake off the Grind, where he helps people find success through the up’s and downs of life. You can also find Joe on Twitter.
* Nathan Hangen and I created an e-course called Fear to Fuel to help people face their arch nemesis and do creative work that they love. If you are interested in taking your passion to the next level, click here to check out the free bonuses we put together for you.
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Image courtesy of gregglesworth