Last week I asked a client who was pondering their next move What is it you actually want? They were stumped. I think often we can all be guilty of being on auto-pilot, drifting into careers (and other areas of life for that matter) which we feel like we didn’t choose but know deep down we simply weren’t in tune with what is really meaningful to us. It’s time to turn off the auto-pilot button people!
Next week I’m fortunate enough to be joining the media crew at the Wanderlust Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Wanderlust.com is a mindful living community created in the U.S. based on yoga, meditation and fun times where their brand ethos is ‘Find your true north’. I love this!
So what’s your true north and are you living and breathing it?
In the book “I could do anything, if I only I knew what it was” author Barbara Sher points out how many of us end up in careers which have been heavily influenced by our parents without us even realising (sneaky!). Just list all the careers your closest elders wanted you to do when you were 12 and you’ll understand why you were so confused at high school and sought advice from the guidance counsellors dodgy ‘career-picking computer system’.
All too often we end up in roles where the work/ life balance is unsustainable, we like the job but not the people/ leadership, we just drifted in there, the actual work is disappointing or we ‘make it’ & then feel unfulfilled . But then it’s ok for a bit. And then it isn’t. And it continues until you crack & go walkabouts or straight into another role which looks different from the outset but is just the same with a different wrapper. And while I’m not suggesting their is a perfect job out there which will be 120% ace everyday I can assure you there are people who’ve found their true north and are thriving.
One of the most simple, yet useful guides to finding a career you love is this:
- What are your intrinsic drivers ? List everything you LOVE to do but then ask what is it about them you love. Go back to childhood & right up to now.
- What do people close to you give feedback that you’re good at (I even did a survey of friends to find this out about 10 years ago & still missed the clues so pay attention!)
- What are people going to pay you to do. If this is a new career you want to make sure it’s not just a hobby.
If you’re more a ‘realist’ try describing the worst job you could ever imagine and then flip it on it’s head for the opposites. Or work with a buddy who asks you What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
A key to finding your true north doesn’t have to start with how you make a living – it might be volunteering, joining a new club, contributing to your community or trialing out new activities which excite you. Just start something!