The Road To Your Dream Job
How To Find And Get The Job Of Your Dreams
Working on your own terms, doing something you love and feeling fulfilled sounds like the stuff of dreams, sometimes. With camps split between thinking you should follow your passion and that a job is just a job, I’d like to show you a way to find what is it you actually love and how to start living it.
This article will be split in more parts — the change won’t happen in one day, you know. But it will also not take forever.
The basic idea is that if you’re not doing what you love, there is some kind of internal conflict or insecurity preventing you from doing it. Together we’ll start unravelling those issues and get to the core of what you really want.
Finding and doing the job you love is a process that will involve most aspects of your life, and that is the beauty of it. As all the pieces of the puzzle harmonize, not only your work will improve, but also your relationships, self-esteem, self-confidence and health. Sounds like a tall order for some self-help, but it’s definitely doable.
To start with, why do I believe it’s important to do what you love?
For a long time, I was split between thinking that a job can be just a job and wanting to do something I truly loved. On the one hand, I thought maybe other aspects of life were more important, so the job I had shouldn’t matter so much, because it was just a means to an end. On the other hand, I always felt like I would like to do something I truly loved. A dream job that would suit me.
Doing what you love sure helps. And, even more, doing what you love becomes an integral part of your life. It’s “you” as much as all the other parts of your life that you love are, because a job comes to be seen more as an outlet for your self to express itself and what you want to offer to the world, rather than just getting the money you need for daily things.
When you do what you love, you have more energy to enjoy your life and do the things you want. To enjoy your relationships and hobbies. You grow more and faster when you work on something you love, because you are going with the flow of your inner self and true wishes, not against it. A cook living in line with his deeper wishes will go further than a carpenter mismatched with his profession.
Doing something you dislike is like the slow death of your soul. It may sound exaggerated, but doing that is so incredibly draining, that just a couple of hours can make you feel completely exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally.
Taking the attitude “a job is just a job” becomes just a cop-out, an easy excuse for not fighting to find or do what you really love, because a job is never just a job. If you’re doing something you hate for 8.5 hours a day, not counting overtime, you’re not going to have any energy left for what you love, be that activities, people, hobbies. A job shouldn’t be something you endure every day and for which you have to recover every day.
The way I see it, the activities we do in our lives have 3 qualities. They’re:
- things that drain you
- things that give you energy and
- things that get you in a state of flow
As an example, making small talk is draining me, helping others solve internal and external issues is very energizing, and biking gets me in the flow.
I would not want to be in the flow all the time, but I really do enjoy having a part of my day involving that feeling. As well, I would not necessarily enjoy being high-energy all the time, as it doesn’t give me as much space to become centered. I love having a balance of energizing and “in the flow” activities daily.
And then there’s the draining activities. Life will involve a certain amount of those, I think. Sometimes you endure something draining for a bigger, more important goal. But I really do think we should focus on reducing the draining activities, one way or another. And we also need to not confuse “difficult” with “draining”.
We will start working through all the potential problems one could have in finding their true career, from the most basic levels up to the final tweaks.
There are some tools that will help on the road that we are starting on. You will need a bit of courage, the willingness to experiment and try things, awareness, determination and perhaps a support system of some sort. If you can, I really recommend not holding it all in yourself. Find a good friend who’ll be willing to listen to you vent if you need it, or provide you with the feeling of safety that knowing someone has your back gives you.
Better yet, start working with a therapist or a coach too. A good one will know how to provide you with support and will have a clear idea of things you can do to help yourself. A solid, centered external perspective is gold sometimes, and it really helps having someone both empathize with your experience and normalize it — meaning, help you see that all the struggles and emotions you’re going through are normal and that fear is not always an indication that you’re on the wrong road, for example.
How to become aware is quite a complex subject, but, to get an idea: awareness means becoming conscious of your internal landscape, as well as your external reality. At the beginning, we’ll focus on your internal self-awareness.
You’ll need to start paying attention to how you feel. There are many exercises to help you do that. You can meditate a bit, try to quiet down and listen in, you can write freely, you can talk with someone, if that helps you crystalize your feelings better. Ask yourself how you feel about different things, try to notice reactions that you have to different things along your day.
Here’s a fun little game for increasing awareness:
As you go about your day, try to feel whether the activity you’re doing drains you, energizes you or gets you in the flow. Make a list with three columns, and start recording. And keep an open mind. Sometimes the weirdest things fall in each category. Sometimes they are things you didn’t expect, or things that collide with the ideas you have about yourself, or what you think you would like to be.
In my case, things that bring me in the flow are pretty much anything in smooth motion — driving, biking, skating (well, not that smooth in my case yet, but I can really resonate with it : )) ), rowing, but also dish-washing (oddly enough), painting and writing, cooking, sometimes. Things that energize me are talking with someone about something that matters to me and them, unlocking mysteries, finding secret solutions for problems. It makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes. And making plans, traveling. Being in nature for a while. Things that drain me are small talk, listening to something long and boring, teaching others things I am not interested in. Being stuck in the same place for too long. Same room, or same task.
There’s also degrees in everything. Some things energize me a bit, or just restore me to a baseline, like sleep, and others take me to the next level of energy. I feel a degree of flow when I cook, and another one when I row on water. It’s also the love of water, I think :) Pay attention, listen into yourself and try to determine how you feel about the things you do daily, and contrast them with eachother.
Keep an open mind and practice self acceptance, at the same time. Which is why probably one of the first steps is to work on your self-esteem and self-confidence. It always helps. If you’re undecided, the process of building self-esteem and self-confidence will help build your identity, if you’re chasing the wrong things (for you), it will lessen that need for using props as your own self gets stronger and you start appreciating it more. If you are afraid of failing, your growing self-confidence will reduce that fear and push you to try anyway. If you’re afraid of success (yes, that does happen), your growing self-confidence will help you feel able to handle it, whatever “it” is.
It IS worth going for it. If you’re doing something that drains you incredibly, you won’t have energy to live your life, much less enjoy it and take care of other things that are also satisfying.
The energy we have is not something infinite over the course of a day. Use it wisely. Emotional energy is the same, as is mental. Isn’t it a pity to use it all up doing something you hate in order to go on doing something you hate yet another day? And if we’re going to spend 8.5 hours per day doing a job (something I disagree with), which is most of our waking hours, shouldn’t it be something that makes us happy to be alive?
Circumstances are different, and some consideration is needed when talking about different situations — it won’t be as easy, maybe, to find and live your true passion when you have certain constraints — financial ones, or people depending on you, or living in a place with little opportunities, but I can promise you that it’s doable. Don’t give up.
If you have a specific issue related to finding or living your true passion that you’d like me to address, feel free to leave it in a comment below, or send me a message — I’ll reply.
And stay tuned for the next part of the saga! Next time we’ll begin drilling down and we’ll deal with figuring out what to do when you don’t know what you like, or what you want to do.