Practical Advice For Building a Rewarding Career
July 15th, 2015
We spend most of our life at work. We ought to love what we do.
On average, people around the world spend almost as much time in the workplace as they do with family. That time away from family can be very hard for a lot of people.
Loving your work is the best way to remain happy while away from your family. This means you need to find your passion.
But what is your passion?
Thats a tough question for many people. Some may never understand how to make a great career while doing something they love.
Ironically, doing what you are passionate about should in theory give you the energy to work extremely hard and excel in your career. However, there are other variables to keep in mind.
You not only need to find your passion. You need to understand where you want to go in life.
In this article I am going to give you a template to realise your biggest career goals and find your passion.
It doesnt feel like work to me. I love what I do!
It sounds simple. Do what you love, the money will follow.
You most definitely DO need to work in a field you love. However, dont assume the money will follow.
You will achieve much more success if you create a practical and definable plan of action, pushing you to accomplish your goals and build a stronger career.
Essentially, your passion can be one of two things:
Nobody is good at everything, but everybody is good at something.
You may already know what it is. That one thing that you naturally excel at. It is easy for you. Everyone around you says it is difficult for them.
What is your talent?
Is that natural talent something you could turn into a career? Would you be happy doing it on a daily basis?
This can be a particular set of skills or attributes. For example, you may be great at coding on computers, designing or writing.
You arent necessarily great at it, but you love doing it. It makes you feel happy.
Lets say you had enough money to support yourself without having to work. What would you do?
Figure out that thing you feel you couldnt live without.
The chances are you have more than one interest or hobby. Ideally you want to pick something that is a combination of the two options above.
If you are able to find something that you have a natural ability for, and enjoy doing, that is your best bet for building a rewarding and accomplished career.
What about if you have a natural ability for something but dont enjoy doing it? Or love doing something but arent that great?
Hone in on your natural ability. Find some aspect of that talent that you could use in a career of interest to you.
Leveraging your strengths will allow you to truly excel in your career. But remember, if you dont like what youre doing, you will never put as much effort fourth as you would with something you love.
If possible, create the passion so you can utilize your talent.
Focus strictly on what you love doing. Become the best you can be.
You may not have the talent, but you will have the competitive edge of being extremely dedicated to your practice.
Hard work will always outshine talent. Especially if that talent isnt working hard.
Note: The average person changes their career 7 times in their life. As millenials, with more opportunity than ever, you can likely expect that number to rise.
Dont get discouraged if you find something you are passionate about and lose that desire. Find another passion and pursue it.
After every career transition, you will move forward with more skills and experience that you can apply to your new career.
What do you want out of life?
Do you want to make lots of money? Become famous and recognized in your field? Live a humble and minimalistic life?
Think about what you desperately want to do or achieve. Then, build your goals around that vision.
Take a minute to understand what you truly want. This will give you the tools to create an exact roadmap that will lead you where you want to go.
What did you decide are your strongest ambitions?
Set your goals to reaching the top 1% in your field and finding the most profitable niche to specialize in. Be prepared to create a strong network and do the things necessary to move up the ladder.
This will involve much self development as we will cover shortly.
Set your goals for working on the most impactful projects in your field.
Be prepared to get active in your community. Speak at events, create content such as articles detailing cutting edge technology and ideologies.
To be a recognized expert, you dont necessarily have to be the best. You just have to be the most visible.
Be involved, online and in the community.
Humble doesnt necessarily have to encompass frugality and minimalism.
This group is for those who arent interested in flash, and simply want to live life on their own terms.
Perhaps you want to travel and retire early. In this case, plan to maximize your savings and reduce expenditures. Simultaneously strive for increased income.
If you just want to make a difference in the world, but dont care for the spotlight, look for high-impact projects that dont receive the news coverage they deserve.
Now that you have an idea of what life you want to live, what do you need to work in your field?
For high-level professions you will likely need a bachelors or doctorate. For others, you may need less (formal) education.
Do a quick search to find what formal experience and education is involved to work in your desired field. Then, figure out if it is a viable career option.
Are jobs extremely competitive? Is there a market for your skills in the area?
You can counteract competition and lack of demand by building a network of relationships that you can leverage for your job search.
Note: Some cities have more opportunity than others. If you are willing to move, you could gain work experience to simplify job searching in more competitive cities.
Use a timeline of 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years. In those segments, what could you be doing to advance your career?
Try to stay away from huge goals at first. Set small, actionable goals that are easily achievable (and contribute to the bigger picture of your career vision).
The little successes add up. They also make you feel great to be achieving things.
Get in touch with someone you know in the field. Ask them how they got started and what requirements are set in place.
Do more research. This is the time to learn about competition, unemployment rates, education and experience.
In this time period you should be able to learn what you have to do and start putting steps into action.
Put your plan into full motion.
Does your field require education? Explore scholarships and financing.
Weigh all your options, including internships and education abroad. Not only does experience abroad impress employers, many study abroad programs offer university for very cheap or even free.
This is where the bigger picture comes in. Think back to those career goals you made.
Find your first job in the field. Try to work where you want, on the projects you want, and strive for the income you feel would give you the freedom you deserve.
Use your passion to continue towards bigger goals, and ask yourself these questions:
Earlier I spoke about self development. The manner, and intensity at which you educate yourself outside of university and colleges will largely impact your career success.
Think about the skills you need or desire. Go get them.
If you truly want to achieve great things and/or career success, you need to be constantly educating yourself.
Surround yourself with the people who have both learnt the skills and achieved the success you desire. Implement a strategy for learning.
Keep in mind, we can only learn so much. Focus only on the things you are passionate about or those which will help you reach the different goal segments within your 5 year career timeline.
I said earlier that hard work will beat talent any day. Nothing beats hard work AND talent.
Build or improve on the skills you desire, and as they become necessary in your career.
In general I say never focus on your weaknesses. Building on your strengths is more important.
There are two exceptions. If you arent naturally great, learn to communicate and network better.
Learn how to win friends and influence people. Try to listen before speaking and take an interest in other people.
You are judged by how you speak. Practice public speaking, learn how to articulate yourself and work on your vocabulary.
For those who are very nervous about speaking, consider joining the Toastmasters club.
Remember, how people perceive you is very important. It will have a direct impact on your career growth and the job opportunities you encounter.
Try to make people see you as an educated, fair, friendly and well-spoken individual.
By improving my own communication, I have been able to get projects done faster and create stronger relationships with the people I work with.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with
Networking will allow you to create relationships. First, you want to provide value to people in the community. The more value you provide, the more you will get back.
By helping others, you will be able to ask for favours of your own as you need them.
Share your knowledge, experience and acquaintances where you see fit. In the process, you will likely make friends who share your passions or come from a different world.
Its great to surround yourself with different people. Gain a new perspective on things, and learn about success first hand.
You are who you surround yourself with. Remember to build relationships with successful people who you can learn from and will hold you accountable to your goals.
I have a few close friends who hold me accountable to my goals. They keep me motivated to work hard on creating value with Jobly and writing articles like this!
Youve found something you naturally excel at and love doing. Youve started your career and are surrounding yourself with people who will help you become successful.
Remain focused on your self-development and take advantage of every opportunity.
Push out of your comfort zone and try things that interest you. Be a renaissance (wo)man.
A renaissance man is someone who is skilled or proficient in a multitude of areas. If you can widen your skill-set, you can collaborate more with your team.
Showing your boss that you can be a team player is great. Plus, doing new things is interesting.
NEVER pass up the opportunity to try new things that interest you.
Take those communication skills youre learning and use them to help your team succeed.
Lift up your colleagues. Encourage their efforts. Always stay positive and be quick to write off failures.
If you can keep your colleagues from being discouraged, complaining or becoming negative, your boss will (hopefully) take notice.
If your employer doesnt notice, youre in the wrong company.
Having a great vision and clearly defined goals shouldnt just apply to your career. It should apply to your company as well.
Being with a company that doesnt truly understand leadership and employee development will indefinitely hinder your career. You need an employer that encourages you to grow.
The great companies will support you. They will encourage you to explore, try new things and fail, within reason.
Mistakes are simply a learning experience. I always say, when you fail, you simply learn another way of how NOT to do something.
We only grow when we are pushing ourselves.
Your career is incredibly important. I urge you to truly think about what you want out of life.
Remember, what you want today, may not be what you want tomorrow. Dont be afraid to change careers.
Too many people are trapped in a job they dont like working. Dont do that just because it is safe.
The benefits of job and life satisfaction greatly outweigh the cons of a career transition. Besides, you should be developing the skills and network to ease that transition anyway.
Develop your interpersonal skills, learn how to lead and pick a career you are passionate about. Try new things and work on projects that give you a sense of achievement.
At the end of the day, it is best to figure out what you excel at and find a passion within that talent.
Your talent will allow you to excel in your career. Building relationships with mentors and successful people will bring you accountability partners that motivate you when you feel stuck.
A rewarding career is built on understanding your strengths and weaknesses, striving for and surpassing your perceived potential and making friends in the right places.
Having friends in different places will enable you to reach out when you need a hand. Or solicit advice if you want to do something different down the road.
Wrap all this up in actionable goals. You have to achieve in increments because you cant do everything all at once!
It is a process but the small successes feel very good. They also become pieces of a much larger puzzle.
Passion, talent and hard work. These are the keys to any rewarding career.
July 15th, 2015
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