My best friend has always said you either do work that is your passion or that supports your passions and interests. Neither is better than the other. In the past, my work supported my passion. Yet it was still important to me that it did 2 things. (And when it didn’t fit these 2 rules, I walked away.)
- Let me live my one true rule for anything: Always Be Learning. There had to be enough of a challenge
- Not take up all my time – mental time or clock time.
This allowed me to spend my free time focused on becoming a better writer and curiosity-explorer, both of which are what I do with my life.
What are your rules?
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for your first job, a new career, a job change, or a project that makes you feel alive. Knowing what matters to you at the skeletal, foundational level will make the process simpler.
Remember the Friends episode when Phoebe and Joey had the dialogue about making decisions? Your first response is probably your truest (at least for now!) Ready? 1…2…3..Go! What are your rules?
Now that you’ve established the baseline, you can build on them
So here are ten different ways to find work you love and have fun with the process. Happy exploring! Oh, and grab a notebook or your keyboard because this is an invitation to write it down and write it out.
#1 Get curious about what you enjoy in your current or past jobs.
Ready to write? Make a list of 10 things for each of the following areas. Look at your tasks, processes, and patterns. You can also look at personal interactions like how you work with people such as coworkers, clients, students, etc.
- Mind – what gets your mind and brain working in ways that get you excited?
- Body – what do you like about the physical aspects of your work?
- What is the best part of your day? What do you look forward to doing?
- What puts you in the flow where you feel good or great about it?
#2 What interests you enough to dive (or at least dip a toe) into learning new skills?
Don’t worry about passion. Identify areas of curiosity. You don’t need to have any current ability in this area. Just notice where you are curious and where you feel a twinge or surge of interest when you hear about a new subject or have a new experience. For me, there was an amazing amount of interest that developed around going to networking groups and hearing people’s stories and seeing who lights up when they talk about their job or business. It’s fascinating to me. Just like I’ve always loved memoirs and biographies and podcasts and documentaries. How about you?
#3 What time of day do you feel most energized?
Maybe you are a night owl who has to report to work at 6 a.m. Would you like the same work if you just did it at a different time of day because you’d have more energy?
#4 Know yourself better.
Take some time to dig deeper. Instead of complaining about how unhappy you are, take steps to figure out what floats your boat. How to do this?
- Personality tests and understanding how you are wired like the Meyers-Briggs, the Enneagram, Human Design, and so many others will take you into a deeper reflection of yourself and your stories around your identity, likes, love, and dislikes.
- Journal through the questions in LIFElihood. The book is designed to flesh out the roles of work, time, money, and intention in crafting a life meaningful to you.
- Take a class on a subject that sparks you up. See if there is something that surprises you.
#5 Talk to people and ask them about what they do.
And listen to the interviews I do on the LIFElihood podcast. Do it with sincere interest. Don’t want to be too nosey? Pshaw! People who really enjoy what they do are usually pretty happy to help you out. And we all love to share what we are excited by.
Ask them the questions I ask you and my guests on the podcast. And ask them your own questions. Be genuine in your interest about what it is really like.
#6 Stay open to surprises.
Yep. That’s it. Roll with the waves, be curious-er and curious-er. Don’t be a cynic. That way life will delight you and positive attracts positive.
#7 Take action on activities you enjoy.
Put yourself out there. Meeting like-minded people can open up great opportunities.
#8 And try new things!
Do those things you’re nervous or unsure or scared about but feel like if you could just break through your fear, it would all make sense.
For some folks, that means going to a Toastmasters meeting. For others, it means going for a group hike in the woods.
Are you the talkative sort? Try being quiet and listening.
If you are the quiet type – for whatever reason – maybe it is time to use your voice and have a conversation even if it is awkward or uncertain. And then reflect on how putting yourself out there feels in your thinking brain, in your heart/mind, and in your body.
#9 Do something wildly different from your current work – either as a paid or unpaid job.
When I need a break from writing, I do a physical job like painting or home repair. Get some perspective.
#10 Practice a skill.
You’ll either get REALLY GOOD at it (or at least get better) or you won’t. Either way, you’ll have proof, something tangible to base your next steps on.
And if you decide it’s not for you, no big deal! (Just don’t give up too soon! It’s amazing what is just around the corner when you push past the point where you are frustrated.)
- If you are in a sales job and the only thing you really like is building your spreadsheet, maybe you should get better at Excel functions or databases.
- If you are a line cook but what really interests you is the tools you use and how they make or break efficiency – or how they inspire cooking or detract from it, maybe you should talk to the people who sell the knives and cookware about what that is like.
There are so many more ways, but try some of these out and see where it takes you in your journey of discovery.