Still trying to figure out what your purpose in life is? You know, that ONE thing you were put here on Earth to do? This certainly is one of the big ones; one of those questions that has a lot of implications.
When asked how they’ll know when they’ve found the right job or career, some reply, “I’ll just know”, while others will say, “It will just feel right.” However, what if – and it’s just a possibility of course – what if you were actually meant to dislike the job or career you’re meant to do? What if you’re supposed to struggle with it, fight against it, coming to appreciate the hard work involved, (mental or physical) required to do it well? What if in the end, it’s all the effort that goes into the job that makes the work more meaningful? Maybe for these people, it would never have, “just felt right” in the beginning at all?
Of course to many people, they want to discover THE job; the one they were destined for. Here’s something though to ponder… When we look back at history and talk of people of note, we in the present day brand these people for the occupations they held when they became famous. So we talk about Shakespeare the bard, Churchill the Prime Minister, Charlie Chaplin the actor or Roberta Bondar the astronaut. What we don’t talk of is the job or jobs these same people held earlier in their lives. Why? Because those jobs were of less significance to the masses. Were Churchill a Newspaper Boy or Shakespeare a farmer for a stint, we neither know nor care. But isn’t it true that the people they became were in fact shaped by who they once were? What they once did?
Take me for a current day example. Meet me as an Employment Counsellor and you might imagine this is all I’ve ever done. If I have a positive impact on you and you admire me for what I’m able to share with you or you appreciate my ability to support you as you move forward, you’ll always recall me as Kelly Mitchell the Employment Counsellor. However, I’ve sold shoes, worked in a bowling alley, been a Cooperative and New Games Trainer, and more. Those weren’t the jobs that made me a person of note in your own life; but I’ve been shaped by those jobs nonetheless.
The same is true of you. Wherever you ultimately end up, when you look back at your career or collection of jobs, you’ll see value in all the things you’ve done that shaped you along the way. This includes the positive experiences and yes, the ones which at the time were hard to go through, didn’t work out at all, or you performed well at but just had to change. We are all the sum of our experiences.
Trying to figure out what’s next so that you move in the direction you were always destined to go in and finally, “get it together” may or may not be possible. It could be that yes, you’ve been sufficiently stimulated to move in a direction that will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment. If so, great for you!
On the other hand, you might still be in a period of flux; that is, a time of confusion and change. Maybe all this struggle you’re having in trying to figure it out isn’t over. This doesn’t sound very encouraging or hopeful does it? I mean, if you’ve tried to figure it out for years and you feel no closer to doing so, what kind of hope or optimism can you have for the future? Will it always be a mental struggle to find that thing that makes you happy?
What if we accepted for a moment that there wasn’t one thing and one thing only after all? What if there isn’t just a single career that we were meant to do or someone we were meant to become? Maybe what’s right for us, what we were destined to do all along is a collection of various jobs and different types of work. Perhaps it’s a collection of experiences that taken together makes us the people we’ll become.
So when I was happy selling shoes, maybe I was in the right job at the time, although it’s not a good fit for me here in the present. For all I know, I might find that selling shoes is right for me in the future by the way. Maybe running my business for 16 years was the ideal thing for the Kelly of the 80’s and 90’s. But Kelly in 2018? I’m happy and stimulated being the best Employment Counsellor I can be. In fact, it’s that whole collection of earlier jobs and work that benefits those I help in my current job!
Now you. YOU! Feeling anxiety and pressure – maybe even depression or that feeling of being paralyzed as you try to figure it out? Understandable – completely. You’re feelings are valid. This is after all, one of the BIG ones – “What should I do?”
While you may not know yet what you should do, what is obvious is that it’s NOT what you’re currently doing. So if you’re stuck and doing nothing, continuing to do nothing isn’t going to get you closer to it. Do something. Act. Talk. Invest yourself. Work. Experience the value of experience.