What Should I Do With My Life: Career Directions Everyone Should Know
What should I do with my life?
At some point, you may have asked yourself this question and thought about your passion, ambitions, career path, and life purpose. In the process, you might have felt lost and unsure of the next steps to take, as well as pressured to figure out your entire life.
Read on to learn about ways to discover the answer to this ultimate question.
RELATED: How To Have Fun At Work
9 Tips to Help You Find Out the Answer to “What Should I Do With My Life”
1. Begin With Your Personal Convergence
Convergence refers to a point where two or more things connect, meet, and intersect.
To find fulfillment in life and determine your destiny in this world, you must be able to connect the dots between who you are, where you are, how you spend your time, and what you believe in. All these things must be in harmony.
To help you in the process, you may follow a Japanese method known as Ikigai. This refers to your “reason for being”.
According to this concept, to understand what you should do with your life, you must come up with four lists:
- What You Love or Your Passion
Think of an instance when you enjoyed doing something so much that you lose track of time. That’s where your passion lies.
Additionally, identify your work values. You may not know yet the particular job you want, but defining your passion and values will help narrow down your options.
- What the World Needs or Your Mission
Recognize the issues and opportunities the world has. There might be topics or themes in documentaries, blogs, or social media that draw your attention.
- What You’re Good at or Your Vocation
This refers to your strengths or areas of expertise. Ask yourself “What do I do best?”
Sometimes, you may not notice this because you’re naturally good at it. When you use your strengths at work, you’ll probably enjoy what you’re doing.
- What You Can Get Paid For or Your Profession
Your occupation must be able to put food on your table. Determine if you can say that what you’re doing makes a good living.
When you tie your passion mission, vocation, and profession altogether, you’ll find the right career that you’ll look forward to each day.
2. Determine Your Preferred People and Work Environment
There may be specific types of people that you think you’ll work best with. On the other hand, there are also those individuals you think you shouldn’t collaborate with.
Reflect on your experiences with your past workmates such as your immediate supervisors, teammates, and subordinates. Who inspired you and who stressed you out? Do you prefer to work alone or with a team? Do you like working in an office or outdoors?
You’d want to work in an environment where you can share your talents and wisdom, as well as show your courage and curiosity. Each career has a specific people environment:
Investigative or Thinkers
These refer to people who like to evaluate, learn, research, observe, or solve problems. They’re independent, reserved, and analytical, and they enjoy math or science.
Usual investigative careers are chemist, biologist, medical technologist, and systems analyst.
Artistic or Creators
These people are gifted with creative and innovative abilities. They prefer to work in unstructured environments where they can express their originality and imagination.
Typical careers are interior decorator, musician, and reporter.
Enterprising or Persuaders
These kinds of people like to work with other people, as they prefer managing, influencing, and leading them. They’re energetic, adventurous, and outgoing.
Some enterprising careers are manager, salesperson, and business executive.
Conventional or Organizers
They have numerical or clerical abilities, and they like to work with structure, data, and details. They usually enjoy working in an office or desk.
Conventional careers include investment banker, accountant, and secretary.
Social or Helpers
These are people who love to help other people. They dedicate their time to training, enlightening, and developing others. They show compassion, guidance, and concern for people of all ages.
Some social careers are lawyer and teacher.
Realistic or Doers
These people have mechanical abilities and are independent, practical, frank, and hands-on. They like to work with tools, objects, plants, machines, or animals.
Typical careers for this type are veterinarian, engineer, electrician, and military.
Understanding your similarities with these different personality types can help in your career decision-making. It’ll also help you find out the industry or company you think would suit you best.
3. Talk to People
You can learn by listening to the stories of other people. Call or meet your family and relatives so you can get insight and meaningful answers to how they got to where they are today. You can also talk to your friends from high school so you can gain a different perspective.
However, don’t ask them to look for a job for you nor give you a job. Just have an informational interview or a normal conversation with them.
4. Get Inspired
Regardless of the career path you wish to pursue, you probably want to be great and successful at it. And one way to get started is to learn how others were able to attain their goals.
You may research real stories of people, particularly famous personalities, and study their process of passion discovery and goal achievement. Remember that some of them used to be lost and didn’t know what they wanted to do in their life either.
Read autobiographies, so you can appreciate their early lives before they became accomplished and well known. These people may have narratives that resonate with you, which can give you more clarity on the next step you have to take.
5. Identify Your Priorities and Recognize What You Don’t Want
Exploring a variety of things will help you identify what you want and what you don’t.
Assess job elements and functions you enjoy doing and which ones you dislike. Contemplate how much you care about lifestyle, social status, compensation, and societal contributions.
For instance, if you care about making big money, doing volunteer work may not be your best option. If you prefer working at a desk, then you might not enjoy being a lifeguard or a farmer.
In addition, ponder on your non-negotiables. If you prioritize having a positive work-life integration where you spend quality time with your family, you may not want to work in a fast-moving, deadline-driven, aggressive environment.
Other non-negotiables may include working hours, benefits, commute times, and organizational structure.
One exercise that you may want to try is writing things you don’t want. Some examples are: “I don’t want…”
- To work more than eight hours a day
- To be stuck in an office
- To work far from home
- To face financial problems
- To work in an unhealthy environment
- To do clerical work
- To deal with toxic coworkers
Afterward, evaluate your present situation. Are you currently facing any of the things you don’t want in your life? Are you about to make a decision that’ll give rise to something you don’t like to happen?
Keep in mind that knowing your priorities, as well as things you don’t want, can help you avoid making career decisions that you’ll eventually hate.
6. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Trying a new thing can broaden your horizon. That “thing” can be something you’ve always been interested in, something you’re afraid of, or something that’s unusual and isn’t a part of your system.
It may be easier to stick with your daily routine than to experience discomfort. However, you wouldn’t discover what best suits your skills and interest until you get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
Additionally, you could open doors to career paths and opportunities if you move out and make changes to your everyday life. Who knows, you might surprise yourself with how much you enjoy doing something you never imagined you would.
Remember that some of the best things in life are the most difficult to achieve. If you keep staying in your comfort zone, you might miss out on the amazing things that could happen in your life.
7. Enjoy the Uncertainty
When you were younger, you may have had plans of becoming a scientist, a lawyer, a doctor, or an artist. However, life doesn’t always go according to plan. This is because things can happen that may change your decisions and the opportunities around you.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself because the reality is, you can’t tell what the future holds. Instead, focus on what you can do today that’ll be helpful and beneficial regardless of what the future brings.
For instance, you have an idea of starting a business, but you’re too scared to do it. If you let uncertainty get the best of you, the tendency is, you won’t even try it. You won’t know how things will turn out.
Be good with not knowing. Savor the whole process of finding your life purpose —- the soul-searching, the twists and turns of events, even the days when you feel like time is being wasted. All these episodes will add up to your uniqueness.
Take one step at a time. The path toward your destination may not always be straight, but learn to enjoy the journey while holding onto your passions, values, and priorities. Besides, the answer to “What should I do with my life?” may come when you least expect it.
8. Start Something Small
Do something — literally anything. Even if it doesn’t seem and feel right, it can still provide you with experience. It’ll help clarify the path you may want to be on, as well as which ones you must eliminate
Some of the things you may try doing are:
- Creating a portfolio
- Learning how instruments work
- Writing a blog
- Setting up a video channel
Starting something is like investing your money — it appreciates in value over time. Who knows, you might even learn a new skill along the way.
9. Embrace Failure
In the process of figuring out what you should do in your life, you may experience failures, and that’s okay. Failures can make you a more well-rounded person. As you experiment with different paths, you also get to learn and grow.
Don’t use failure as an excuse to give up and throw away all your dreams. Acknowledge the fact that not all things work out in your favor. If you dismiss anything that sounds hard just because you don’t want to fail, what you’re really failing at is discovering things you might enjoy doing.
Answering the question “What should I do with my life?” requires self-reflection. Prepare yourself by following these tips, and start exploring what the world has to offer you.