Trying to figure out what you want to do for a living is tough. It’s easy to admit, “Well I don’t want this!” but it can be difficult to put your finger on what you do want to do. The options are endless. If you can think of a need that can be filled, there is a title waiting for you out there. So what do you want?
I remember awhile back I bought the book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher. This was many years ago when I had no idea what I wanted to do, I just knew that I didn’t want to travel around the country every week as a project manager. While the book did not give me any answers, (which I was hoping it would!) it did open possibilities for me. It can take a lot of introspection and trial and error to find out what you are passionate about.
A few things I tried that helped in the process were:
To realize it is a process: I wanted so badly to pick something and let it stick. I tried on many hats before I finally settled down. Just know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now and that you will learn from each career attempt you try.
Start a list of all of the possibilities: I created a “What would be a cool job?” list. I decided to write down everything that sounded fun. I put no restrictions on it regarding my educational background, or if I would be any good at it. It was a never ending list for a few months, and had things added and subtracted as I went along.
‘Date’ a few of those possibilities: A great coach named Michael Neil suggests to ‘date’ a career. He relates choosing a career to marriage. He says that we don’t pick a random person that looks good and marry them next week. If you give yourself time to date a career, you can decide if you like it without the risk. If you think you want to start your own business as a jewelry designer, then take a class in jewelry making and see if you like it. Try to make these ‘dates’ reasonable financially. It may not be the best idea to spend $3,000 going to school for something that you don’t end up liking. Each attempt will allow you to learn more about the possible career and see if it would be a good fit long term.
Ask people that already know. Go through your list of possible ideas and see if you can find people already doing that. I’d suggest talking to someone who is in the business currently if you can find one. If you want to be a pet sitter, call up and ask a pet sitter to chat for a bit about it. You would be surprised how many business owners are willing to help you out.
Specifically, ask about what they love, what they don’t like, how they transitioned and any advice for you. This will give you better information than any book!
Start testing the waters: Once you have found an idea that seems to suit your passion, start to test the waters. It’s a good idea to try to start getting into it on the side of your current job so you can really see if you want to accept all of the pieces of it. Most careers or businesses have a lot of different tasks that go into them besides the work itself. If you want to start your own business, most business ventures require you have sales skills too. (to get the word out about your product or service!) There may be underlying skills that you may want to learn about before you jump into your new career.
A word of note, you may find a passion you love, but you really don’t like every single piece of it. That is normal. It is up to you to decide what you accept into your life, so if it feels right at this stage then that should be a good indicator that you have found something you want to start a new career!