Nothing can suck the FabYOUlousness out of life faster than a soul sucking job that does nothing to fill your heart or inspire your spirit. Most of us (out of necessity) spend more time at work than we do with our families or in leisure time activities. Because of this, it is imperative to our overall well being that we find work that uplifts us and provides purpose and passion, instead of just a paycheck.
If you find yourself with a case of the blahs when Sunday night rolls around or have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed in the morning on work days, it might be time for you to start thinking about a career change. This isn’t something that has to be a rash decision–in fact, it will be far less disruptive to your life if this is a gradual process that you go through as you continue to work at your current job. By identifying specific elements of your ideal work, you’ll be better prepared for when the time comes that you are ready to make the leap–plus, taking the time to explore your ideal work will help provide you with a sense of hope and direction as you continue to put in the hours at your less-than-ideal job.
While pinpointing your ideal work can feel like a daunting task, there are some strategies that can help to sharpen your focus and make the exploration less overwhelming and more enjoyable. Try the following ten suggestions to jump-start your search for your most FabYOUlously ideal work…
10 Fab-YOU-lous Suggestions for Finding Your Ideal Work
1.) Reflect upon who you are and who you want to become. It will be impossible for you to find your ideal work until you become crystal clear on who you are and who you long to be. The more you work to understand your passions, talents, personality traits and purposes, the more equipped you will be to find work that excites you, aligns with your unique gifts and talents and empowers you to put your best work out into the world.
In order to better discover who you are at the core, you can take assessments such a the Myers Briggs Personality Test. This assessment will help to determine your personality type and provide insight as to how that type might influence your career choices. You can also click here for a post on discovering your soul’s purpose and here for access to our FabYOUlous monthly questions series that will help you to determine your values, interests and strengths.
The more you are able to understand how you view and interact with the world, the more clarity you will gain on the kind of work that is most suitable for you.
2.) Envision your ideal work environment. Do you work best in a typical office environment or do you prefer the freedom of being able to work on your laptop at a coffee shop or on your front porch? Do you like a lot of stimulation from a high-energy space or do you work best in a low-key, quiet setting? What kind of co-workers will bring out the best in you–ambitious go-getters or thoughtful encouragers?
By thinking about your ideal work environment, you are creating a concrete picture in your mind of the conditions in which you will be able to produce your best, most FabYOUlous work. Be sure to consider things like work hours, commute time, flexibility and company culture. By creating a mental image of your optimal work environment and conditions, you will be better able to recognize those conditions when they present themselves to you in real life.
3.) Go with the FLOW. What causes you to lose track of time? What activities cause you to become so engrossed that the hours fly by without you realizing it? This state of activity is known as “flow” and it is the optimal state for living our most FabYOUlous lives.
Think about those times in your life when just the right mix of skill, enjoyment and challenge came together to produce a state of flow in your life. What were you doing? How did you feel when you were in that state? What activities can you incorporate back into your life to bring about that state more often? What kinds of work would allow you to experience that state on a regular basis?
By examining our lives to determine what activities bring us the greatest sense of flow, we will gain a sense of what types of work we should be doing in order to experience this highly productive (and highly enjoyable) state on a regular basis.
4.) Uncover potential roadblocks. Rarely is the path to our ideal work without hazards and roadblocks. Perhaps we lack a particular skill set or feel as though our connections are in the wrong field. By taking an honest and deliberate look at what our shortcomings (real or perceived) might be, we can come up with strategies to address them while we are still receiving a paycheck at a current job. Whether it’s going back to school to receive additional training in a particular field or scheduling coffee meetings with people outside of our normal field so as to expand our professional network, we can begin to take actions that will help us to navigate our roadblocks and bring us closer to our ideal work, without giving up the security of our current paycheck. It might be frustrating to think about how much time we may have to invest in overcoming these roadblocks, but the bottom line is that the time is going to pass regardless–we might as well put the time to good use and make it count.
5.) Leverage your “trust equity”. Who would you rather work with, someone who looks good in a shiny magazine ad or someone that you know personally, like and trust? We all are more comfortable working with people that we know and respect so it is important that we cultivate those qualities of trustworthiness and integrity in our own lives.
Trust equity is something that is built over a period of time with our professional peers as well as with those in our personal life. As we build and demonstrate our levels of competence and integrity, people will begin to see us as someone with whom they want to be associated. In turn, as people begin to trust us, we will be able to turn to them for connections and to help bridge the gap between where we currently are to opportunities and possibilities that we might not even be aware of.
When people know, trust and like you, they will be far more willing to help you in your pursuit of your ideal work.
6.) Research companies and industries that interest you. According to Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling book, Start with Why, “corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything-for better or for worse”. This is why it is so important to consider the type of company culture that appeals to you when you are looking for your ideal work. By researching various companies that interest you, you can begin to filter organizations according to how well they align with your personal attributes and professional aspirations. This is important because at the end of the day, companies want to offer jobs to candidates that not only meet their position requirements but who gel well with the company culture as well.
7.) Get in the hunt, but do it strategically. If you like your current company but feel that your job isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, consider ways in which you might leverage your current contacts to learn about lateral opportunities with different job functions that might better align with your ideal work. If however; you’ve done your research (see above entry) and feel that there are other companies out there that offer more of what you’re looking for, use these tips to help you find positions that match what you are looking for.
8.) Strut your FabYOUlous stuff. As you strive to find your ideal work, you are going to need to position yourself in such a way that when the opportunity to seize your ideal work arrives, you are ready to go for it.
Your resume is your first opportunity to showcase your FabYOUlousness when pursuing your ideal work. Make sure that it is doing its job and grabbing the attention of potential hiring managers by following these suggestions. Additionally, be sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date because it is a tool that more and more companies are using as they look for outstanding job candidates.
Once your resume has landed you an interview, be sure to bring your A game with these FabYOUlous suggestions on how to nail the interview.
9.) Understand that your habits will make or break you. There is a quote that I absolutely love from the book War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It says…
It is so imperative that we grasp this truth. Good Habits = Good Energy. What we are doing, thinking and feeling right now is creating our tomorrow. When we replace negative habits with positive ones, we are setting ourselves up for success in the future. This success might manifest itself in our personal lives, but personal success has a way of spilling over into our professional lives.
Take a good, objective look at your life and see if you can identify one bad habit that you can replace with a good habit. If that’s too much of a stretch, try replacing one bad habit with a less bad habit (baby steps!) For example; I drink way too much Coke. I know that ideally, I should just replace my Coke with water but here’s the deal–water is so blah (unless you use some of these delicious infused water recipes to jazz it up!) so instead of always choosing water, I sometimes replace my Coke with unsweetened iced tea. It’s probably not as good for me as plain water, but it is certainly better for me than Coke.
By taking control of your habits, you are truly taking control of your life. This proactivity and self-discipline is sure to result in rewards in your professional life. To help you stay on track as you work to establish new, positive habits for yourself, download and print this free FabYOUtracker habit tracking worksheet.
10.) Don’t be afraid to experiment. All life is an experiment (I wish I could take credit for that wisdom but I can’t, it comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson). When you begin to expand your skills and professional competencies, you increase your perceived value in the job market. You can do this by experimenting with new and different types of work and testing your ability to adapt to different work cultures. A few ways that you can experiment your way to your ideal work include…
- Volunteering for an organization whose mission aligns with your core values. Use your volunteer time as a time to try new things and learn new skills that you can then carry forward into your ideal work.
- Take a class or start a small project related to your ideal work. Use this as an opportunity to learn or expand upon a skill that you can leverage in your ideal work.
- At your current job, volunteer for work assignments that fall outside of your normal job duties. These assignments might just lead to you discovering a new set of interests and abilities.
By consciously choosing and creating a life that incorporates our ideal work, we not only get to live out the expression of our soul’s purpose, we also get to replace the Sunday night blues with Monday morning motivation. What better way to live a FabYOUlous life than to live it both off and on the job.