a while back, someone asked me how I’d found my “dream job” and gotten to be so happy at work. I thought about it for a while and realized that I got to a good place by having a lot of complicated conversations with myself, wrong turns, and deep soul searching that I got around to figuring out what I was meant to do. in fact, it wasn’t really until I had my daughter that I started to see what I liked doing and what I didn’t. there’s something about having a kid that makes things very “real”, very fast, and ain’t no one got time for messing around when you’ve got a kid to take care of! since I switched roles at my company (where I’ve been for almost 7 years), a lot more people have asked me how I did it, or rather, how I came to figure out what I wanted to do. so I thought it’d be worth it to write up a series of posts and kick start more writing on this blog now that a new year has unfolded. follow along with the steps below to start figuring out what you’re meant to do:
start paying attention. pay attention to what you like, what you don’t like, what “brings you joy”, and what stresses you out. really focus on all of the things that encompass an average day and take note on these things. if you’re into lists, it might help to write out these things. start by making a few:
- what you like doing, i.e. what you aren’t putting off, avoiding, or what makes you at least somewhat excited
- what you don’t like doing. this can include everything that you put off, avoid, or anything that’s the opposite of how you feel in the other list
- what you realllyyy don’t like doing. this should be a shorter list (hopefully) that encompasses everything that spikes anxiety, gives you insomnia, or is something you dread
- what you love. is there something (could be something as simple as folding the laundry) that you absolutely adore? can’t wait to do? put it on this list.
when you’re making this list(s), try to be as specific and honest as possible. hate something you wish you didn’t? put it on the list of things you don’t like. the more honest and open you can be about what you like and don’t like, the better off you’ll be. I’d suggest spending at least a week doing this. deciding what you want to do for a long time, or maybe even for a lifetime, is no easy feat and it’s best done over time.
once you feel like you’ve exhausted your lists, use them to track your work tasks. specifically, create a spreadsheet that lists out all of your responsibilities in one column, and then in the second and third columns, list out whether you like it or not, and if you can move that responsibility onto someone else on your team. here’s an example of a friend’s recent list:
once you’ve created the list of work tasks and assigned them a “yes” or “no” to whether you like them or not, compare it against your first set of lists to see what matches up. you’ll be able to see why you don’t like certain parts of your job – because it doesn’t make you happy and or it stresses you out! now you’ve completed the first step in figuring out what you’re meant to do. in the next post, we’ll discuss how to use what you’ve learned in your list making to identify jobs that will fill up your career desires without draining you.