The world is changing rapidly. Industries are pivoting quickly, new technologies are emerging at a high rate, and we do not necessarily stay with one employer for the full length of our career. At the same time, we have never lived in a time with so many opportunities to make an impact on the world.
The key to building a career that matters is to start tapping into our potential.
We may have several, different jobs over a period. A career, however, is more significant than our current job. It is the overall idea of our contribution to the world that drives a meaningful career.
And if there is something this world needs, it is that more of us step up and start doing work that truly contributes to and serves our world.
So how do we find and do work that matters to us and the world? Here are seven ways to help you on your path:
Step 1: Listen inward
Most of us know deep inside what we really want. We have that calling, however small, deep inside. That dream that we tend to shrug off when it pops up. Too often though, we allow ourselves to be held back by fears, negative thoughts, and daily distractions. By practicing to listen to ourselves, we become stronger and more trusting in our knowing.
To strengthen your ability to listen (or if you feel you have no clue), engage in meditation. Or simply take time to yourself to sit quietly and think about the questions: How can I be of service to the world today? What am I meant to be doing today?
Step 2: Ask yourself the right questions
One of the most powerful questions I know is: Why am I doing the work that I do? It is an important question because until you can answer it honestly to yourself, you cannot be on a conscious career path. Many people pursue jobs or a career path for the wrong reasons. Asking the ’why’ question can be of great help to transition towards a more meaningful path.
Another powerful question is: What is it that I want to create? Moving into a mindset of creation is a great way to activate what you already know. Take notice of what it is that you long to create in this world and what it is that you are itching to change.
Step 3: Trust your process
It is helpful to think that, no matter where you are on your path, this is where you are supposed to be. All the experiences from your past have come together to create a unique you.
There will be moments where you feel stuck or unsure of your next step. Relish in these periods of confusion, as they play an important role in putting all the pieces together. Trust that you are in a process and that you are on your way.
Step 4: Act on inspirational experiences
Do not expect a moment of dramatic realization. We are more likely to find our path in the small moments of life when we follow what excites us. We can ask ourselves, “What activities make me truly happy?”
Following our inspirations in everyday life can be rewarding. We can reach out to an organization we like and find out how to be of service or call a person simply to tell them we admire them. We don’t know where our next opportunities will arise. The path to creating a meaningful career is in using our strengths and engaging in experiences that resonate with us.
Step 5: Say no before you can say yes
If we don’t know what to do next in life or what to focus on, we might want to look if something is holding us back. The next step might stay hidden until we quit something we are currently in at the moment.
This does not necessarily mean quitting a job today. It might simply be that we need to make a decision. We might have to be very honest with what is holding us back and own the fact that we are done with where we are right now. Decide that it is time to break the old for something new.
Step 6: Spend time with people who hold space for you
Just like the acorn needs fertile soil and sunlight to grow into an oak tree, so do we need an active support system to grow into our full potential.
One of the most important ways to ignite career clarity is to surround yourself with people who contribute to your growth. You need people who hold space for you. A group of people who allow you to be exactly where you are, who support you unconditionally and without judgment.
Never stop looking for your tribe. It will change your life.
Step 7: Stay in the present moment
Setting goals is important and fun. It can also make us blind to new opportunities and make us miss out on our true path. We can plan for the future, but we cannot plan for its outcome.
The true skill is to learn to be fully present and stay centered in the here and now.
“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts