It’s more possible than ever to do what you love for a living. People no longer need to assume that work must be tedious, boring, and distinct from their passions. The upcoming generation is full of people who want a career that offers meaning, flexibility, and personal growth. They want to find a vocation and real connection to how they spend their time, not just simply working for a paycheck. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink explains self-determination theory, which proposes that people have three basic needs that motivate them related to intrinsic growth; and these are competence, autonomy, and relatedness. This theory holds that all of us have the capacity and need for growth and fulfillment. People seek out what they feel good about, what makes them feel good, and what provides them with growth and personal satisfaction. More and more, people are unwilling to compromise this personal growth and autonomy, and will do what it takes to create these opportunities. Fortunately, it’s also more reasonable and logical than in the past to create your dream job. A traditional business model is less essential in today’s world. There is less job stability with continual changes from outsourcing, contracting, and technological advances, which means taking life into your own hands offers greater stability. Organizations hire less full-time employees and more part-time workers, and more people are working numerous jobs. People don’t have to be limited on the type of work they do anymore.
Why bridge the gap between work and play?
Experiencing Flow and using strengths Using our strengths and abilities in an optimal way provides greater psychological well-being. Everyone has unique strengths that can be applied in their life. When we are able to stretch our skills and reach for growth we can experience moments of “flow”. Flow occurs during those moments when time just fly’s by because we’re so engaged in what we’re doing. Consider those times when you have these flow experiences and consider how you can incorporate these more in life or career. By doing so you will experience greater satisfaction with what you do. Purpose and meaning People want to know that what they do is significant and offers value to the world. Feeling proud of what we do provides a sense of personal power and provides further confidence and motivation that we’re living out or purpose. Many conventional jobs don’t offer this meaning and growth. Jobs that lack creative outlets and are based on automatic and compliant routines start to become dissatisfying and demotivating. Discover what you feel you’re meant to do in life, and how you can get started in this direction, and you will see much greater satisfaction.
6 steps to your calling
Step 1: Identify what you want.
Do you want to be self-employed, find a new job, or start a business? Do you need to get further education or can you get started right away in the industry? The first thing that needs to be done is to figure out what change you want to make. This consideration will lead you to consider the “why?’ behind your decision and gets you closer to a meaningful and uninhibited vocation.
Step 2: Consider personal characteristics.
There are three main personal characteristics to consider when thinking about a career or vocation. These include skills, interests, and values.
- Skills: Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. What do you feel confident doing? What have you always been good at? Skills can always be learned so you don’t need to limit yourself, but by considering what are strengths and weaknesses are, it can give us direction.
- Interests: Everyone has unique interests. These are the things you are excited and enthusiastic to be a part of. What do you prefer to spend your time doing? The idea of passion relates to interests, and by doing what you’re passionate about you will be more motivated and happy in the long-run. Taking steps to make sure your career matches up with your interests provides a chance to have a fulfilling livelihood.
- Values: Values are what is important to us. Clarifying our values is a crucial aspect of self-development. Without a sense of values, our behavior may seem meaningless and misdirected. Values come from family, friends, society, and popular culture. Think about what is really important to you in everyday life and want you want from a career. Do you value spending time and working with other people, or do you like to work independently? Do you want your work to help society, or do you want to simply make money? Be aware of what’s important to you and you can begin making decisions that are in line with what makes you happy and feel proud of the decisions you make.
Step 3: Identify alternatives.
Now that you have an understanding of your skills, interests, and values you can consider the different areas and fields that would be most fitting. According to Career Clusters Institute there are 16 career clusters or overall fields for occupations. These include:
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
- Architecture & Construction
- Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications
- Business Management & Administration
- Education & Training
- Government & Public Administration
- Health Science
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Step 4: Collect information about each alternative and prioritize.
There is obviously much information to consider about each industry, though many options can be eliminated simply based on your interests, values, and skills. Put all your alternatives in priority order and begin educating yourself about the industries that are interesting and fit your values, and how you can start getting involved.
Step 5: Take action.
It’s time to start making contact with people in the industry and preparing yourself professionally. This will require personal and professional development. You may need to educate yourself about the current developments in the field and the requirements for entry. For instance, if you need a license to practice counseling this must be considered. Though, you may also be able to immediately get involved if there is no barrier to entry. Life coaching doesn’t require any formal training or education, though I believe that some sort of certification offers credibility.
Step 6: Review the decision and possible outcomes.
When it comes down to it, determining your career and vocation is a lifelong process. Your interests and values will change throughout your development, and your experiences will take you in new directions. Reviewing your current situation and considering new possibilities will be ongoing. With a solid foundation of self-understanding you can embark on a journey of self-discovery to pursue your passions and reach your goals. It’s just a matter of knowing how to reach this point and what benchmarks to accomplish along the way. We have a right to devote our time, energy, and effort to our livelihood and what is meaningful to us, so just remember the above steps and keep pushing forward until you find your calling. Photo credit: Robbie Biller