Some people will tell or advise you that your resume is the most important thing that you can build. I disagree with that simply based on the fact that nearly 80% of people are unhappy with their current careers/jobs (according to study after study of employee satisfaction).
Think about it, our feelings and thoughts about our jobs spill over into our personal lives, in substantial ways. So if 80% of people are unsatisfied in their jobs, then we can reasonably assume that people are living more than half of their lives unhappy. And if those same 80% of people are so discontent, then why are they spending time in a job that they hate, rather than focusing on finding a career or new venture that they love?
In a Business Insider article published back in November 2016, Warren Buffett said:
“I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume.”
It’s time to take a time out and find out what matters most to you. A much needed time of reflection to focus on finding a fulfilling, life-defining career.
This notion is really about possibility, which whether you know it or not, surrounds you—you just need to find it. Muhammad Ali said it best:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
I recently watched a Ted talk about How to Find the Work You Love, presented by Scott Dinsmore. He compares having a job that you hate to jumping out of a window. Now why would you do that? But the fact of the matter is that most of us find ourselves hitting our heads against the wall, trying to make our jobs work for us.
Why are you doing the work you do? I think that you might find that you respond with, “because someone told me to.” Let’s just set that thought aside for a minute and try to think differently. We live most of our lives with people telling us what to do. Wait, aren’t we all adults? Can’t we make our own decisions? I’m here to tell you that you can, and more importantly, you should.
Ask yourself this, and be honest with yourself, why would you work at a job that is completely incongruent to your true passion?
Dinsmore suggests a framework to use as a lens to find a meaningful career. The funny thing is that we’re not prepared in college to find our passion. There’s no major in career development, so we’re pretty much on our own to figure it out. You have to start somewhere, so think about the suggestions that Dinsmore outlines below. And take a minute to check out his Living Your Legend career tools. His tenants are simple and very relevant as you plan for where you’re going, as opposed to where you’ve been.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Become a self-expert. This is an exercise in finding your unique strengths, not to show your current boss what you can do, but rather to help you find out what you really want to do. By becoming a self-expert you will learn to look out for yourself and change your perspective to find what makes you happy—personally and professionally.
Finding your sense of self is important in many ways. There are 4 things that you need to do: 1) believe in yourself, 2) live and speak your truth rather than giving away your power to someone else, 3) keep moving forward at all costs and let go of any insecurities that you developed along the road, and 4) always view yourself in a positive light.
If you need help getting started, you can take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, which I’ve found to be very helpful.
- Establish a hierarchy for making decisions. Part of work satisfaction is your ability to make good, rather great decisions, for yourself, not somebody else. The most important decision that you can make is to surround yourself with the right people. Environment is everything – and if you stay in the same place, with the same people, you will just breed complacency.
Look for people that you see as mentors, those that inspire you to be more driven, creative, inventive, and forward thinking. Where do you find these people? Well, you need to look outside of your current circle of peers and find people that are doing things or projects that move you. Study their actions, their ability to lead, and use their inspiration as a stimulus to build your dream.
Most importantly, and very difficult to do, is to limit all association with people that believe in impossibility because they will just hold you back. You don’t have time for impossibility, because what you’re seeking is possibility as your new norm.
- Use your experiences to guide you. Your past experiences are valuable because you’ve learned a lot, especially when it comes to what you don’t want in a job. You’ve got your resume built, but remember that it’s really just a piece of paper.
Using your experiences is about rebuilding your confidence. Your experience has lead you to where you are today and it will help you identify the people and your strengths that will help get you to what lies ahead. Capitalize on your accomplishments to 1) define your objectives, 2) to set a plan, and 3) to execute on what really makes a difference for you.
Don’t fall prey to the past, because it just fortifies your fears, your losses, and your potential ability to move forward.
Finding work you love requires strength and strength comes from change. So set out for a revolution rather than an evolution. What you need right now is to find the work that you think you can’t do, and find the belief in yourself to know that you can do it.
Remember, “impossible is nothing.”
I’ll leave you with a great quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”