Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 18? Like, honestly, deeply, know? For most of us, the answer is a resounding no!
The truth is, most of us don’t even know how to cook for ourselves at 18, let alone know what we want to do with the rest of our lives.
Still, well-meaning family, friends, and teachers tell us to “get good grades, go to college, then get a good job.” This was the tried-and-true success formula for generations, and even if it didn’t always lead to happily ever after, it promised a certain degree of financial stability.
I was an overachiever who followed this formula to a T… all the way to a major quarter-life crisis!
I knew I wanted to do something different from a young age – something exciting, something big.
I learned how to dream from my favorite Disney princesses: Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel reading Sweet Valley High books and novels starring daring, young heroines. Later, movies like 13 Going On 30, and How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days showed me how to live a dreamy life as an independent career woman.
So I graduated high school, set on being a glamorous writer in New York City. My ambition, grit, and hard work took me there only 4 short years later, only to find that I didn’t actually enjoy the lifestyle in New York and that I didn’t want to be an editor.
I finally had everything I had worked so hard for my entire life… and I didn’t want it. It took me the rest of my 20s – and a whole lot of therapy, meditation, and personal development – to find my dream career as a success coach.
I would never have thought this journey would take me here, but I’m sure glad it did!
Here’s the truth: you can only find your perfect, dream career by taking the time to truly get to know yourself and what you really want. Dig deep and ask yourself… what do you really want, underneath the details?
Here are some questions to journal out:
- What’s your dream lifestyle?
- What does your ideal workday look like?
- What are you most passionate about?
- How do you love to spend your free time?
- What feelings are you going after, underneath it all?
- If anything was possible, what would you do?
- Where do you want to live, and what do you love about this place? What do you value the most?
- What can you spend hours doing, without realizing a whole day has gone by?
You might know the answer to some of these big questions already, which is great! And sometimes, you have to learn through direct experience. For example, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t vibe with the busy New York lifestyle until I moved there, and realized just how much of a California girl I am!
As you evolve, your career and desires will evolve, but the only way to figure it out is to just begin – take action by following your joys and passions. Move to that city you’ve been dreaming of. Save up and travel the world for a couple of weeks (or months!). Sign up for that class you’ve wanted to take for forever.
Your dream career isn’t something that falls in your lap – it’s something you uncover through action. Don’t be afraid to keep trying, changing course, and allowing yourself to evolve. We all try on clothes at our favorite stores – yet we don’t try on careers, which stays with us much longer than that cute pair of shoes!
Once you narrow in on a career that you want to try on next, seek out successful people who are doing something similar – and are happy doing it.
Observe what they do, how they live, engage them in conversations. Follow influencers who resonate with you, read books on your chosen career topic, and soak it all in. You don’t have to walk the path alone, either – find a friend who is also interested in finding their dream career, and do it together!
If there’s something I’ve learned in my journey, and in working with my clients, it’s that finding the right career is anything but linear. Pay attention to the whispers – your intuition – telling you when it’s time to move on from a certain situation that isn’t working.
The worst thing you can do is to get stuck along your career path – or in a job you don’t love – because you’re afraid of taking the leap (baby leaps at work, too!). The only way you won’t discover your dream career is by failing to move forward because of fear.
Be kind to yourself on the journey, try not to stress too much, and have so much fun on your career discovery journey!