After sleep, you spend the majority of your life at work. Finding work you love and doing it well is essential for a good and happy life. So how do you do this?
Well, there are thousands of books and courses on this, but here’s how I did it:
1. Try lots of different things. If you’re going to find your life’s work, then you have to find work first. Great work comes from great experimentation.
Try things out. Try different jobs, talk to lots of people, and do little forays into different fields.
You’ll gain valuable skills and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
2. Don’t stay for the wrong reasons. Don’t stay because the money is good, looking for work is hard, or you’re not sure you can get something else.
Stay only if you enjoy it, if it is helping you grow, or if it’s providing the resources for your search elsewhere
If you don’t like where you work then start looking for something new, or start trying new things, until you figure out where to go next.
3. Learn when to stay. Usually people stay in the wrong job too long. But sometimes you leave too early.
You leave because you think there’s something better. You imagine moving will fix all of your problems. You leave because the work you’re doing now is uncomfortable and is asking you to step up in a whole new way.
There is a time to move on, and there is a time to stay. If you’re being asked to face yourself and grow, if you’re being pushed in the right way, then stay. At least a little longer. At least until you see what’s on the other side of that discomfort.
4. Find people you admire and connect with them. It doesn’t matter if they’re doing what you want to do, or if they’re the best person to connect with. Just find some people who are doing exciting things and spend time with them.
When you spend time with people, you’re spending time with other possible versions of your life. If those versions are inspiring, creative, and caring, you will begin to model yourself in the same way. If they are negative and scared, you’ll be pulled by them just the same.
5. Keep at it. Before you find your work, you have to keep at it. You have to keep going, keep taking action, keep working on it day after day.
It took me nearly 30 years before I found my work. It took my father over 40. It may take a long time, but let me assure you it’s worth it. There were many times I thought this whole finding the right work was a bunch of BS, because I couldn’t figure it out.
It may take time, so learn to enjoy the process of exploring, but also remember that even if the search is extended, finding something that fulfills you is totally worth the effort.
Once you find your work don’t stop. Keep at it. Keep finding your edge, keep looking for ways to improve yourself and serve others. Finding your work is the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
What got you here won’t get you there, so you have to keep exploring, keep learning, and keep loving yourself enough to invest the time and energy into creating the right work day after day.