6 Simple (and Often Overlooked) Ways to Find a Career You’ll Love

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s important to “know thyself” and to “follow your bliss” as keys to happiness and well-being.

As intriguing as these proclamations may sound often times they’re easier said than done. Indeed, gaining self-knowledge and clarifying one’s self-concept can be daunting tasks.

Many times we’re confronted with profoundly deep questions that are too difficult to answer.

– What is my life’s calling? (Guilty as charged for asking this question.)

– What’s my purpose?

– What am I meant to do with my life?

I believe in the merit of these questions, but sometimes people aren’t ready to answer them.

If we want to find work that’s fulfilling and satisfying we need to start somewhere.

So if you’re someone who’s been wrestling with these life-shaking questions to no avail, let’s keep it simple today.

Your calling could be right under your nose. Consider what you’re drawn to and what you admire in your day to day life as clues to a bigger mission.

Here are six areas you might be overlooking to help connect the dots between your career and your interests and personality.

1. Role models

“Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.” – Lana Del Rey

We all had role models as children. When I was 12 I remember going to the Warp Tour and looking up to the drummers in the different bands I liked. I wanted to be on that stage someday!

Whether we call them mentors, gurus, or role models, we have people who represent a central life goal or ideal we aspire to.

Our role models make the world a better place and can help us become better people.

As you answer the questions below, concentrate on what is admired rather than who is admired.

– Who did you admire when you were growing up?

– Who would you like to pattern your life after?

– List three heroes/role models:

  • What do you admire about each of these role models?
  • How are you like each of these persons?
  • How are you different from them?

2. Favorite books, magazines, and Movies

“Be true to what naturally interests you – and be brave enough to turn an obsession into a profession.” – Shelly Branch

I’m not one to suggest that the hot celebrity gossip in Us Weekly or People Magazine have much to offer when it comes to uncovering our calling, but the entertainment we’re drawn to can reveal some natural leanings of our personality and interests.

The books, magazines, movies, or TV shows we watch are filled with different characters and diverging plot lines.

We’re drawn to different topics and compelled by different stories. Maybe you really admire heroic journeys or how a character solves complicated problems.

Maybe you’re intrigued by celebrities because of the difference they can make in other peoples’ lives.

Answer these questions and reflect on your answers.

– What magazines do you read regularly? What do you like about them?

– What movies/TV shows do you really enjoy? Why?

– What’s your favorite book?

3. Leisure activity

“Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it.” – Katharine Whitehorn

We all enjoy spending our time differently. Leisure time is a clear link to our interests and self-expression.

The goal isn’t necessary to totally blend work and play, but to at least gain awareness about a career path by examining hobbies and how you choose to spend your time.

Consider these questions and how they might overlap with career related endeavors.

– What do you like to do with your free time?

– What are your hobbies?

– What do you enjoy about these hobbies?

4. Favorite saying

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” – Charles Bukowski

What saying or motto really stands out to you?

Maybe it’s “Always do your best,” or “Life is what you make it,” or “Live without regrets.”

Maybe your life motto has changed over time and you realize that what you used to believe doesn’t fit with what you want any longer.

A life motto or saying is a direct clue to how you want to spend your time and what matters to you.

It helps direct us toward values-based work and a lifestyle that is aligned with who we are.

Answer these questions and reflect on your answers.

– If you could choose a motto to live by what would it be?

– Do you have a favorite saying or motto?

– What is a saying you remember hearing?

5. Favorite and least favorite school subjects

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal

Most of us had school subjects we struggled with and others we really enjoyed. Math was my kryptonite. I’ll admit that part of the reason I went into psychology was to take less math classes. Hey sorry but I was a late bloomer when it came to ambition.

The point is, our curiosity for certain school subjects indicates our preferences and tendencies for learning and where we’re likely to flourish.

Answer these questions and reflect on your answers.

– What were your favorite subjects in junior high and high school? Why?

– What subjects did you hate? Why?

6. Earliest memories

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

Our earliest memories can help us understand more about whom we are and the worldview we possess.

Many people let their past dictate what’s possible for their future, so early memories can also reveal a core problem that we currently face and help us move beyond this.

Answer these questions and reflect on your answers.

– What are your earliest recollections?

– What are three stories about things you recall happening to you when you were three to six years old?

I’m interested in hearing your insights to these ideas.

Share below and let me know what these overlooked areas teach you about your calling!

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn