Many of my clients come to me asking similar questions. How do I know what I should do with my life? How can I translate my passions into a fulfilling career? How do I discover my calling?
So many people are unsure of the impact that they want to make in their lifetime, and only a few years ago, I was one of them. When I completed my MBA, I went to work at a top consulting firm. I felt I had everything figured out and was excited to start, but I soon realized that the role just wasn’t fulfilling me as I thought it would. I knew that I had to dig deep to find out why this was. So, I decided to take the time to embark on my own self-discovery journey.
I discovered my calling and turned my passions into a meaningful career that I can be proud of. Now it’s your turn! Here are three basic steps towards discovering what impact you want to make in this world.
1) Identify your values
Your values guide your life and career decisions of what is important to you. When I think of my values, I think of the characteristics about myself that I would never compromise. A large part of having a meaningful career is doing work that you enjoy at a company that you believe in. If your organization doesn’t align with your values, you may find yourself frustrated and reluctant instead of happy and motivated.
For example, if you truly care about social responsibility and helping those who are less fortunate, you may want to consider an organization that incorporates Corporate Social Responsibility into their business model.
Here is a list of values to help you define what’s most important to you. Identify the ones that match your personality and define what they mean to you to begin self-discovery:
Authenticity, Excellence, Passion, Accessibility, Sustainability, Altruism, Balance, Dependability, Care, Challenge, Change, Commitment, Energy, Volunteering, Enjoyment, Excitement, Fun, Generosity, Honesty, Creativity, Inspiration, Justice, Learning, Support, Openness, Nonconformity, Patience, Teaching, Uniqueness
2) Identify your interests
When I was in university, I accumulated over 1000 volunteer hours. Most of this time was spent helping and mentoring others. When I look back on this, I realize that this was a key indicator of my major interest: inspiring others to succeed.
Think back to your childhood, high school, and university years. what activities did genuinely enjoy doing? What problems did you enjoy solving? What books did you enjoy reading? This could include anything from a project in school, to how you spent your free time. For example, if you were an adventurous kid with a knack for anything outdoorsy, you may want to consider a career in conservation in the non-profit sector.
When you reflect, try to forget everything that you think you want to be and start from the ground up. This will allow you to really dig deep into what makes you tick. Only then will you come out of the self-discovery process enlightened and ready to embark on your dream career!
3) Identify what you’re great at.
It’s true: you can do anything you want to do. But, life is going to be much easier on you if you pursue what you’re great at. The best source of information about what you’re good at isn’t necessarily what your grades were during school. You can get a good idea of your talents by taking various personality tests that assess your strengths, learning style, and aptitude. Here are a few that you should take right away:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – to identify your personality
Find Your Strengths – to identify your top 5 strengths
Another method is to ask your colleagues and friends what they think about you to identify your brand and reputation. Your own perception of your abilities may be quite different from how others perceive you. A great way to get this information is to construct a simple, five-minute survey on SurveyMonkey or Google form and distribute this survey to at least 30 friends or colleagues via email and use the responses to constructively evaluate what your next steps should be. Here are questions you can ask:
What 5 words come to your mind when you think of my brand?
What do you believe are my 3 best qualities?
How would you describe my communication style?
How would you describe my leadership style?
- What’s the most unique value I provide to my friends/ clients/ network?
I recently completed this exercise to help with my new website design and here are the common words that my connections said about me:
The self-discovery process is a difficult but necessary task. Be patient. Dig deep. Trust yourself.
Have you ever hit a roadblock in your career? If so, what would you recommend that others do to get going again? Let us know in the comment section below!