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Don’t Know What You Want? Try This.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

There are an awful lot of people out there who are just waiting for their ideal career calling to be magically revealed to them. Maybe you’re one of them. You’re standing there, shuffling your feet, waiting to be struck by lightning, at which point you’ll exclaim, Eureka! THIS is exactly what I should do! You’ll then ride off into the sunset, certain of your destiny, with a detailed plan of how to make a whack of cash and make all of your wildest dreams come true.

Oh, honey, it sooooo doesn’t work that way. Lightning strikes are offered to a lucky few, and the rest of us poor suckers simply have to roll up our sleeves and figure it out ourselves.

The universe does not offer exact GPS coordinates. tweet it 

Pursuing your ideal career is more like playing a game of hot and cold. If you turn away from the things that feel cold and toward the things that feel warmer, you WILL get there.

If you feel defeated by this career path stuff, or if your frustration with it is boiling into a rage, consider this: You’re not supposed to know exactly what it looks like.

Perhaps this comes as a surprise to you. A lot of people beat themselves up because they think they’re supposed to know exactly what their ideal career looks like. So they refuse to experiment or to commit to even minor changes until they know what the big picture will look like in exacting detail. Then, and only then, will they give themselves permission to move forward.

But that’s not how it works. Absolute certainty with a satisfaction guarantee never comes, and in the meantime you’ve locked your feet in blocks of cement.

Don’t let your fear of uncertainty and your need for control paralyze you from moving forward. Instead, build trial and error into the process. Use what you do know and start learning more. Gather information.

Maybe you think you’d like to do freelance design work. Ask a couple of people who do that out for coffee. What is their day like? How did they get started? What are their challenges? Gather information.

Maybe you think you’d like to start your own photography business. To begin with, take a single class in business or in photography or both. See what you can learn.

Maybe you think you’d like to go to nursing school. Talk to your aunt who’s a nurse. Ask her to fill you in and give it to you straight. Meet with someone in the admissions office at the nursing school. Find out what you need to get in. Ask about the program structure, cost, and time demands.

This is often how discovering a feel-good career happens – not by waiting, but by doing. Learning. Exploring. Baby steps. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Eventually you’ll find something that is just right.


This is an excerpt from Careergasm: A Course for Discovering Your Calling.


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