The biggest question I get asked is: How do I find my perfect career?
I’m going to break it down for you today.
Maybe you like your job but know there is more for you…
Maybe you’re bored out of your mind but don’t want to make a change..
Maybe you never intentionally chose your career, it just made sense or kinda happened (I hear this a lot) and now you’re wondering if you did choose, what would your perfect career be?!
You don’t want to make a move unless you know it is the right one.
But how do you actually know if the next job or opportunity is the right one?
How do you know you won’t make the move and end up just as miserable?
On today’s episode of the podcast, I am answering these questions.
I’m willing to bet you don’t even know the possibilities that are out there.
So if you’re ready to answer this question – what is your perfect career? Hit play now.
And if you take nothing else from this episode know this:
You can be happier than you are right now.
It’s not just for other people. It’s for you.
The impact you want to have, the lifestyle you want to live, the type of work you want to do – it is all possible.
What You’ll Learn
Why you can’t rely on what you’ve done in the past to know what your perfect career is
The downside of having a human brain
How your authentic self gets hidden away (and how to find it again)
Featured in This Episode
Are you questioning if you are in the right career? Take the quiz.
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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. This week’s topic is my bread and butter. It’s what I help people with every day and is the most asked question that I get: how to know or find what your perfect career is for you.
And what might surprise you is that when I help people figure out what their perfect or ideal career is, I don’t even look at their resume. Nope. I don’t ask them what their degree is either. Because all of those things, where you’ve chosen to work before and what school you chose, what degree or multiple degrees you have, they are your decisions from the past, and clearly they are not working for you today. So it’s not just about about finding the next best job on where you’ve been.
It’s looking at who you are today and what excites you, energizes you and is that missing piece to your happiness at work. And if we talk about your past and focus your decisions around what you want to do in the future based on what you’ve done so far, it really adds a bias and a filter to that whole exploration process that I take you through. So although that information is relevant, and obviously it is a skill set that you have, I don’t focus time talking about it.
But speaking of being happy at work, oh my gosh, I’m going to derail you because that made me think of something amazing that is coming for you. Several weeks ago, I launched something really special called Happy at Work for just my connections and current and past clients. It’s a private community where each month you get tools and resources to help you with the challenges that you’re facing, helping you get to that next level and, yes, even help you figure out what to do with your career.
And there’s a masterclass taught every month by me personally. And if you’re not familiar with masterclasses, it’s essentially a training where we dig deep on a specific topic and by the end, you have tangible steps to take related to that topic. Think topics like becoming more confident, negotiating a higher salary, creating boundaries at work. It is so much fun. Oh my gosh. I could spend the whole episode talking about this, but let’s get back to our topic. I will say that you will have the chance to join this community very soon, so keep an eye out.
And the best place to be able to be in the know is really my insiders email list. So if you aren’t there, let’s get you on it. You just have to go to melissamlawrence.com/email to add your email, and that’s it. We can put a link right in the show notes for you. So you’ll not only be in the know, but each week I’ll send you resources and motivation to get happy and advance in your career. All right, now let’s get back to how to know your ideal or perfect career. So, you’re not happy with what you’re doing.
Maybe you never have been. Or maybe you just have a sneaky suspicion that something else is out there for you. Now, you might be surprised to know that a lot of my clients haven’t intentionally chosen their career. They did what made sense. They got a good job as a scientist, a lawyer, a nurse, an engineer, and they like some parts of it, but it certainly isn’t something that they’re jumping out of bed on Monday morning for looking forward to their week. Then when they go to try to figure out what they want to do, they apply for different jobs in the same field, they try to get promoted, they maybe try to learn about another Department or even go back to school.
But it’s really like throwing spaghetti at the wall, isn’t it? Just trying to see what sticks, what gives them some excitement, what could be an option for them that will make them a little bit happier than they are right now. But I’m going to help you right now with this to make it even easier, because like I said, you can’t necessarily use the data from the past or your current situation to know what your perfect career is.
I do suggest that you reflect on previous choices and positions you have had and what you have enjoyed about them, but not to indicate the potential of what your future can be. Let me say that another way. The choices you’ve made so far don’t indicate your potential or what you can have in the future. I have clients that have started their own businesses, who have completely changed industries, who have had roles created for them that they didn’t even know existed. I can tell you matter of factly that you don’t know what is possible for you, and the reason I know is that you have a human brain.
Your brain, and the way that it thinks is based on your experiences so far. And it’s survival instincts to keep you safe and keep things easy And the same for you. To protect you from getting hurt from, say, trying something new. So your brain is always going to offer resistance when you try to consider other fields, starting a business or trying something new. That is its job. But when you have someone skilled in neuroscience and psychology like me coaching you, I can see where your brain gets tripped up, where you have patterns that are self sabotaging or holding you back.
And I don’t have the bias that your brain does that limits you. I can see things neutrally. So this is why I can help people do things they never thought was possible. I can show them their brain and their thinking and help them make decisions for who they really want to be and teach them how to manage their brain when it does what it’s supposed to do keep you from doing those big new, scary things. Now I say all of this because I want you to consider that when you are trying to figure out what is possible for you and what your perfect or ideal career could be, you have to know that your brain is going to tell you all of the reasons that you should stay right where you are.
So expect that as you try to explore your next step. Expect that your brain is going to offer resistance and give it some love because it’s just doing its job. Nothing has gone wrong. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be exploring new things or anything like that. So that is the first thing to consider when you’re trying to find your perfect career. What limitations do you have in your thinking? What experiences have you had that are causing you to doubt yourself and your abilities? Now the next thing to do is really to get to know yourself on a deep level.
Throughout your life, you have had experiences, met people, learned lessons, all that shaped who you are today. You likely already know this. What you might not realize is that all of those experiences and social influences create distance between who you really are authentically and who you show up as. Let me break that down a little bit more. Think of your parents or caretakers, or maybe you kind of raised yourself. The people in your life told you what was good, what was bad, either in words or in treatment.
You received messaging over and over on what was expected of you, what was celebrated and what was frowned upon. As a human, you of course want to receive love and feel you belong. So you adapt your behavior in an effort to receive that love, be celebrated and feel you belong. Over time, you lose more and more of who you naturally are because all you know is adjusting to what others want from you. It’s why you can’t answer the question what you want or what makes you happy.
You just know you want something different because you, who you are, is a bit of a mystery because of the conditioning you’ve experienced throughout your life. This is outside of the home too. Think of grades you got in school, performance review ratings, cultural norms, things you see on TV. All of these are like rules that your brain has adapted to and confused you about who you are and what you want. So you have to go back to getting to know you. This is what I do with my clients is I take them through a discovery process where we reverse engineer who you are today.
And I take you through exercises and questions that open up your brain and reduce the threat so you’re able to actually get in touch and get to know who you really are. Then we’re able to identify what you really want. So some questions that you can ask yourself just to get you started are when was the last time that you felt energized or lost all sense of time? What were you doing? Who were you with? What did you want to be as a child? Why didn’t you go that route?
Is there any part of that job that you would want to incorporate now? If you could do anything and money or family or geography wasn’t an issue, what would you be? What I want you to take away here is that, one, your brain is going to offer resistance and that you shouldn’t do something different, and you can invite that and show compassion because it is protecting you and doing its job. You can also not let it drive your decisions. Two, you have been conditioned at some level for who you are and what you have today.
That’s not bad. It’s just a fact. So to answer the question, what is your ideal or perfect career, you have to get to know yourself without that filter and strip back to the version of you that isn’t influenced. This might not be what you expected. You might have expected a checklist or something, but I’m telling you, this is how you create lasting happiness in your career and your life, your brain or mindset and getting to know you. These things together, once you spend time with this, you will be unstoppable.
You will see yourself in a whole new way. Now, as I’m talking, I realized I do have a guide or checklist of sorts that can help you with some action steps. So, before changing jobs I have a guide on the four things you need to know before making a move. So if you are thinking, okay, this is great, but I don’t want to spend time on this right now. I don’t want to get to know myself. I have a job opportunity that’s coming up tomorrow or there’s something I’m thinking of applying to right now, I really encourage you to get this guide.
There are some exercises in it that are going to provide some guidance to help you make sure that you choose something that is going to be a good fit for you and isn’t going to result in you ending up in the same place you’re in now where you’re just kind of running away from something as opposed to running towards something. So I have a secret link for you where you can get a copy to this. You have to head over to melissamlawrence.com/4-things, and you can download it immediately. This is my gift to you. I will put a link in the show notes. Now, that is a lot for you to process and consider in this episode so I’m going to leave you here and with this: You can be happier than you are right now. It’s not just for other people. It’s for you. The impact you want to have, the lifestyle you want to live, the type of work you want to do, it is all possible.
Loving your job can be a standard. Mondays can be as good as Fridays. You just have to do the work to figure out what makes you happy. No one else but you. I will see you here next week. Same time, same place.
I get asked all of the time.
How do I know if I’m in the right career? Now you can find out. I created a free quiz using my criteria for what makes a great job fit. You can take the quiz at my website, www.melissamlawrence.com.
And in less than three minutes, you’ll know the answer so you can stop guessing and take some action. And as a bonus, if your job isn’t a great fit, you’ll get some resources to help you decide what to do about it. Head there now.