Do you ever wonder if you’re on the right career path?
Even if you’re successful at work and have a good salary, you may still have a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right.
When I was fresh out of college, I dreamed of becoming a corporate executive. I knew once I did, I’d have it all – financial security, a supportive team, interesting travel, my own assistant, exotic vacations, and would get to make my own decisions. It all seemed so good that I didn’t even consider other options. I had tunnel vision.
For years, I worked many long hours. And finally, when I was in my early 30’s, I changed jobs to be a junior executive and then a chief operating officer. I had made it, or so it seemed. So why did I hate getting out of bed every morning?
I started to question the path I was on and began to wonder if there was another way. I left the comfort of my corporate job and started my own business, a real estate brokerage.
I’d like to say my transition was seamless, but it wasn’t. After only a year into my business, the real estate market crashed and I moved to another state. I was starting over. I got recruited for another corporate position, so I took it. This time I had more flexibility and could work from home. I was grateful for the income and financial stability. But again, I began to dread Mondays and could feel the energy draining from my soul.
It wasn’t until I got a mentor, started asking the right questions, and got really clear about my values, my strengths, and the kind of life I wanted to live that I was able to create a career I love. Today I own my business helping others escape the corporate hamster wheel, overcome fear and obstacles, and find work they love. I have a clear purpose and feel the piece of mind that comes from knowing, without a doubt, that I’m on the write path. That is the gift I want for each of you as well.
Are You on the Right Path – Here are 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Today:
1. Does your work energize you or drain you?
How do you feel at the end of the week? Do you feel accomplished and proud of the work you completed? Or do you feel drained and mentally exhausted? Feeling drained is different than just being tired from a long day. When you’re drained you feel exhausted and depleted, like a battery that has lost its power. Feeling drained for extended periods of time can lead to burnout. Does your work energize you? If not, what does?
2. Is your work in line with your personal values?
Take a few minutes to reflect on what’s important to you. On a blank piece of paper, make two columns. On the left, make a list of your top 10 core values. Core values are your fundamental beliefs. They dictate behavior and help us differentiate between right and wrong
Some examples of core values include:
On the right side of your paper, for each core value, answer the question, do I feel aligned with this value at my current job?
As you respond to each question, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and tune into how you feel. Do you feel happy? excited? uneasy? sad? tense? angry? Write down how you feel.
Take a look at your responses. How does your job line up with your values? If they aren’t aligned, you may find yourself compromising. While some compromise is good, too much can lead to fatigue, anger, frustration, or feelings of discouragement. Even worse, you may feel like you are compromising your true self. In the long run, this costs you your power and drains your soul.
This quote that really resonated for me. When your career is aligned with your values, you no longer feel like your betraying yourself:
“You know you are on the right path because you don’t have to betray yourself anymore.” – Caroline Myss
3. What kind of lifestyle do you want to live?
Are you living the kind of lifestyle you want to live? Take some time getting really clear about your ideal lifestyle. Create a detailed description – how does it look and feel? Which items are non-negotiable? Is it possible to create this lifestyle at your current job? Are there modifications you can make to your routine or schedule? New skills you can learn or develop? Consider your options, but you may also want to explore other potential paths.
4. If today was your last day, would you want to spend it doing what you’re doing now?
If your answer is no to this question, it’s a red flag that you’re not on the right path. A famous quote from Steve Jobs is:
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and ask myself: ‘if today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~Steve Jobs
5. What are your strengths?
Take a survey of your strengths. If you’re not clear about your strengths, consider taking an assessment or working with a friend, coach, or mentor. An outside perspective can really help you pinpoint your strengths. Once you’ve completed this, consider the following:
- Are you using your strengths at work?
- Which strengths do you wish you could use more?
6. What kind of things do you love doing at work vs. what things do you dislike? How much time do you spend doing each in your current role?
Make a list of your current responsibilities at work. Which things do you love doing? Which things do you strongly dislike? How much time do you spend on each?
If your work entails spending a significant portion of your time doing tasks you dislike, it may be time to review your options or talking with your supervisor.
7. What kind of impact do you want to make in the world?
Another way to ask this question is, “who do you want to serve?” If it’s important for you to work with children, but you’re job is processing health insurance claims, you may not be making the kind of impact you desire. There may also be other ways for you to fill that need such as volunteer work.
Now It’s Your Turn
What questions have been helpful for you to ask yourself?