The Real Secret to Finding Work You Love and That Loves You Back!
So much has been written about finding a job or career you love. It’s become something of a cultural obsession, kind of like uncovering the professional Holy Grail. Honestly, who among us hasn’t thought, wouldn’t life be great if I could work at something I really enjoyed and in turn I became super successful doing it?
I must admit I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time over the course of my professional life trying to solve this riddle. No doubt, like some of you I thought, gosh, if I could just figure out what it is I’m meant to do I’d be all set. And I suppose like a lot of people I thought if I put enough mental energy into it, the answer would eventually come to me.
Well, after way too many years of looking at life this way, I’ve learned that I’ve been going about this all wrong. In fact, I’ve come to realize that the real secret to finding work you love and that will love you back lies in 2 simple steps.
First, you have to come to grips with the notion that it’s not so much a question of divining that one thing you’d like to do, as it is a process of elimination. But remember, in order to eliminate the stuff you know you DON’T want to do you need experience. Real, live, work experience and plenty of it! You know why? Because, finding something you love is kind of like dating. Most people don’t date one person and get married. Instead, they date a lot of different people over a long period of time during which (hopefully) they figure out what they like, what they don’t like, and what will be the right fit for them. Finding work you love is the same. So don’t expect to find it if you haven’t put in the time.
The other really important thing I learned is that in order to figure out what it is you’re meant to do you need to get to know yourself. This too takes time and effort. But I guarantee it’s worth it! So Instead of trying to be something someone else might want you to be focus on being your authentic self. Figure out what you’re already good at and then look to do more of it! Ask yourself, what am I a natural at? – Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry you’re not alone. A lot of times we can’t see for ourselves what others see so clearly in us. If that’s the case try this. Ask someone close to you like a friend, family member, coach, or significant other, who’s opinion you respect what they think you are naturally good at. Chances are this is also something you enjoy. After all, we tend to like things at which we excel.
Now, here’s the key ingredient in this secret sauce. Don’t discount your strength in this area! Just because it’s something that comes easily to you doesn’t mean everyone can do it. I did this with creative work. I thought that because it came so easily to me, and the solutions seemed so obvious that it had no value and that anyone could do it. I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a ridiculously long time to realize this. Please don’t make this mistake. You see this is your differentiator! It’s where you add value. So play to this strength! You’ll not only be happier, you’ll also be more successful because now you’re doing work you love, and that will over time love you back.
This much I know.