Finding Happiness in Your Career
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Stress Management Coaching
Many factors affect how happy (or unhappy) you are in your career. But, whether you work for someone else or own your own business, work that feels fulfilling leads to a happier life overall. At least, that's my mantra.
But many factors affect the level of fulfillment you may experience when engaged in a particular job or career.
Without planning, you may never really choose your career. Instead, you may have fallen into a job. It pays the bills, so you keep at it without thinking too much about it.
And sometimes, your choices may be shaped by the type of education or background you have.
If you can choose your career, you may be drawn to a specific job or type of work based on your natural predisposition or aptitudes.
You may not even realize that you were drawn to a field due to your innate abilities, but more than likely, you were.
For example, if you are an outstanding debater or persuader, you may be drawn to studying and practicing law. But, on the other hand, if you are a natural nurturer, you may be drawn to the health care industry in some capacity.
The point is that, left to your own devices, you will likely choose a career that aligns with who you are and what you love to do.
Unfortunately, some people are urged to pursue careers that they are not interested in but are well-paid or have prestige. However, going into a field that you don't have a genuine interest in can drain your natural resources. It's like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
Instead of letting that happen to you, analyze what you love doing and do well already. This is where you may find the perfect career for you.
What Do You Do When You Are At Play?
Your strengths also affect how you play when not engaged in work. What do you love doing when you are away from work? Some people are drawn to computer games. Some are drawn to physical activities. Do you love photography? Do you play a musical instrument in your spare time?
Examine the kinds of activities you would do whether you got paid or not.
Of course, the activities they love don't pay all that well as careers for some people. Gardening is a passion for some people, for example. But you might have trouble making a living as a gardener unless you own a farm or start a business around gardening or landscaping. Still, pay attention to the things you love to do and lose track of time while engaged in that activity. For me, it's writing. I lose all track of time when I am composing a newsletter or blog post. So what is it for you?
You hear this all the time, but it is essential to be yourself.
Don't try to be someone else. While it may be noble to follow in your father's footsteps, for example, unless you are also good at the things your father was good at, it might not be a good fit. When you're forced to do things that aren't aligned with who you are, you will only experience misery.
Now, don't misunderstand. You sometimes need to do some things you dislike. Paperwork always has to be done. Mundane activities have to be tended to.
But if your work constantly drains you of your vitality and lust for life, you may need to rethink your career choices.
Take some time to discover your genuine aptitudes and strengths. Last week's post offered some examples of assessments you could try. If you can engage in work that is in alignment with your strengths, you will not only be more successful, but you will be far happier.
I urge my clients to go within themselves to get in touch with their heart space.
There is inner wisdom there waiting to be tapped. Listen.
Beyond going within yourself for direction, seek out as many opportunities as possible to identify your strengths and become informed of your weaknesses.
Don't focus on the weaknesses you have. But be aware of them.
Focus on your strengths and how they can help you find a career that you can love and be happy doing.
Remember that no job is free of all problems. There will be issues just about anywhere you go. But if you are happy and engaged in work, your love, you will hardly notice them. You will just be engaged in a career you love and are very good at doing.
"Don't die by your weaknesses, live through your strengths." -- Mark S. Kerr
Until next time.
It's time for another Q & A session! Join me this coming Thursday night for an hour of questions and (I hope) answers about career transitions for teachers--how to start and what to do to initiate a successful career transition.
I will start promptly at 7:00 PM EST and I will be happy to field any questions you may have about changing careers if you don't want to continue in the classroom.
I hope to see you there!