It’s all too common for people to end up in jobs that are the worst possible match for them – this drains them, makes them miserable, and dramatically decreases their productivity. Wouldn’t it be better to end up in a job that you actually enjoy? One that is a good fit for you and your personality type? If this sounds good, learn some steps that will help you find work that truly fulfills you.
Figure out what fulfillment means for you
“The pursuit of happiness” is tossed around a lot these days, and it’s often used as a justification for things like having children or going back to school to work in a field you don’t enjoy. But happiness isn’t something that needs to be pursued. Happiness is something that already exists.
The problem isn’t that people don’t pursue happiness — it’s that we try to pursue it in ways that aren’t good for us.
For example, if you’re trying to “find happiness,” you might focus on things like finding a job, buying a house or getting a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Those things might bring you happiness in the moment, but they probably aren’t going to make you as happy as you think.
A better approach is to figure out what fulfillment means to you. Fulfillment is an internal state, and an outward manifestation — it’s a feeling that comes from within, and when you’ve found that feeling, it’s reflected in your behavior. So if you’re constantly stressed out, or always worrying about money, or always feeling frustrated at your job, fulfillment is likely not your state of mind.
Fulfillment means being happy with what you already have. It means knowing that no matter what happens, you have enough — and more than enough.
So how can you figure out what fulfillment means to you? Start by asking yourself the right questions.
* What do I really value?
* Am I happy with the life I’m living?
* Do I feel satisfied with the choices I’m making?
* Am I feeling happy with what I’m doing right now?
Answering these questions can help you determine what fulfillment means to you. For example, you might discover that fulfillment means feeling satisfied with yourself, happy with what you have and the ability to do the things you want to do.
Recognize that it takes time to find fulfilling work
The path to finding meaningful work is as unique as you are. Some people find their calling after years or even decades of working in unrelated industries. Others figure it out in their 20s.
For many, the answer lies somewhere in between.
It’s important to recognize that it may take a while before you realize what you truly enjoy. You may want to build your own business, and that will take a very long time. In order to settle into fulfilling work, you will have to practice patience— but trust me, it will be worth it.
Look for work in different industries
When it comes to searching for the right fit, you should be casting a wide net.
People often work in the same industry or job type their whole careers. But it’s worth trying another industry or job type even if it seems outside your comfort zone. You might find that it’s a better fit. Honestly, there’s no better way to discover a real interest.
Finding a job is a bit like dating. You shouldn’t just settle on the first choice because it’s “good enough”, or feel like you have to be committed right away. Test it out, and if it’s miserable, go elsewhere. Abandon the idea that you have to be loyal to a job; as my lovely boss once said, “there’s no loyalty in business.”
Look for opportunities where you can make a ‘difference’ in whatever way means the most to you
Finding a job you truly enjoy often means you’re not doing enough of it. Most people want to find a career that will allow them to make a “difference” to others.
And, as research from Gallup indicates, a job that’s satisfying on a personal level is 10 times more likely to keep you engaged over the long term.
So how can you find a job that makes a difference to you?
The first step is to figure out what matters to you. (see step 1)
What are the things you care about the most?
Is it helping people in need?
Helping the environment?
Making an impact on your community?
Making a difference in families?
Making a difference in education?
Making a difference in health care?
Making a difference in the arts?
It’s likely that some careers will offer more opportunities to make this kind of impact than others.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for in your current job, keep looking
Today, many people think of work only as something they have to do. They’ve come to see work as something negative, something to be avoided.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a job that meets your needs, but it’s a mistake to let work and money become your priority. There will always be bills to pay, but some jobs — especially jobs you enjoy — are worth taking a chance on.
Don’t be dissuaded by the process of finding fulfilling work. In the long run, you will be so grateful to yourself for taking the time to do so.
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