10 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Don’t Know What’s Next In Your Career
As a millennial, I feel as though I get asked ~what my passion is~ more often than the generation before me ever did. Perhaps as the result of the economy being in the toilet for much of our adult lives so far, we are constantly encouraged to “follow our passion!” And while this advice is well-meaning, it can be difficult to figure out what exactly our dreams are. Or, if you’re like me, you have multiple passions and could see yourself doing many different things — so how do you know which one to pick?
Finding our passion and then aligning it with a job is a huge challenge. In fact, I am just starting to feel like I am reaching the end of the tunnel with finding my passion, and I consider myself lucky. Hopefully, the questions and ideas below will help you start to think about your passions, and how those can translate into a career path so that you can go be the epic #boss you were meant to be!
Here are 10 questions to consider when finding your passion and choosing a career path:
1. What do others see as three of my strengths?
Try this right now — go to your Facebook, or hop on email, and ask your friends and family to describe your top three strengths. Once you’ve gathered this information, look and see if there is a trend or pattern in the strengths people see in you. Once you weed out the qualities that people mention jokingly, does a majority say you are compassionate? Talkative? Organized? Finding out how others see you and what they see as your strong points can help show you what path to follow.
2. What do I enjoy doing for other people?
After you’ve looked outward for information, it’s time to look inward. What is it that you willingly like to do for others? Is it plan parties? Is it organize their office for them? Is it cooking them a meal when they are sick? Figuring out how you instinctively help others is a reflection of what you truly enjoy doing.
3. What am I drawn to reading?
What magazines do you subscribe to? What non-fiction books draw you in? What blogs do you enjoy reading? Is there an overall theme to these? Do you realize you are subscribing and reading blogs about interior design? Or are you fascinated by books that talk about traveling the world?
4. Who do I look up to and why?
Maybe you don’t have a personal hero, but chances are you have someone you admire because of what they do and how they do it. What does that person do, and what specifically draws you to their field? Is it that they’re diligent and you admire their work ethic? Or do you like that they’re building something from scratch? Look for career characteristics you want to emulate.
5. What tasks make me feel the happiest?
Is there something you enjoy doing on the weekends? Something that makes you wake up with a smile when you realize you get to do it? Is there something that gets your blood pumping and makes your eyes light up? Even if it’s something like video games, that’s legit. It just has to make you feel alive.
6. What do I know I do NOT want to do?
As much as you are trying to figure out what you DO love to do, you also have to realize what it is you know you DON’T want to do. I personally hate math, I am not too fond of science, I know I have a black thumb, I don’t particularly like being outside for long periods of time, and I don’t like camping and hiking and climbing, etc. etc. Make a list of things you know you don’t ever want to do to ensure you know what direction you definitely should avoid.
7. What do you want to be remembered for?
I know it’s kind of morbid to think about how you want to be remembered at the end of your life, but it is important to consider. If you could fast-forward to that point — what is it that you want people to say? What do you want people to remember you for doing? If your passion doesn’t feel like it’s applicable to this one, that’s fine. Many people would prefer to be remembered for things other than their career and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But this question will help you realize what your core values are. And that is something that you should know and learn from, no matter what field you are in.
8. When you were 10, what was your dream job?
You may have to ask relatives or childhood friends for this one if you can’t remember. This method isn’t definite on where you might want to be now — but it can be indicative of where your interests are.
9. If money wasn’t a consideration, what would you want to do?
This one is kind of tongue in cheek, since we all know that money is a consideration and we can’t afford to pretend otherwise. We all have bills to pay, and many of us have a hefty student loan debt. But for just a few moments, it’s worth it to stop and wonder what our goals would be if money wasn’t a primary factor.
10. What do I see as the most important career objective?
What’s the first thing that comes into your head? Is it money? Recognition? Is it passion? Or how your job will help/effect others? There is no right answer here. The goal is simply to figure out what’s going to motivate you to go to work everyday, and help you find more of a purpose in your professional life.