Have you ever thought about what you’re supposed to be doing with your career?
I know that may sound like a really strange question.
You might be thinking, what do you mean by “supposed to be doing?”
Most discussions about what you want to do in your career don’t revolve around this question.
Here’s what I mean.
If you ask a friend what they were supposed to be when they grew up you’ll likely get a response like:
“I was supposed to go to medical school and become a doctor.”
“My mother wanted me to be a full time stay at home mom.”
“I was supposed to go into the plumbing business with my Dad.”
“My parents didn’t care what I did as long as I made a lot of money.”
“I was supposed to get my MBA and climb the corporate ladder.”
In her book “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” Barbara Sher says this is an interesting question,
“Because even if you can’t figure out what you want to be doing, you probably know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.”
The problem is we often have trouble figuring out the type of work we want to do because we’re trying to please the person who told us what we were supposed to be doing.
We are all influenced for better or worse by so many external factors.
We are each part of a family, neighborhood, community, and culture who influence us.
All of those influencers have an impact on how we shape our decisions when it comes to our careers.
Often we can’t even pinpoint who we’re trying to please, we just know there was an expectation of us to do something that fit within the mold of what it means to work where you come from.
Now let me say that not all influencers are bad. In fact, most of the people in your life were probably well intentioned. They truly wanted what was best for you.
However, their guidance likely was targeted toward things that worked for them or they thought would have been better for them.
Maybe a parent or influential adult had done well in a corporate position and they knew you could do the same even though you hate staring at a computer screen all day. Or perhaps they always wanted to be a jazz pianist but never ventured into that area so they put you in piano lessons even though your hands felt like potatoes pounding on the keys.
The key to enjoying your work is to be able to know yourself well enough to know what makes your heart sing.
Unfortunately most of the people around us aren’t tuned in to listening to us or paying attention to what we do well. I mean can you blame them? It’s hard enough to figure it out ourselves let alone for someone else.
It’s not their fault and it’s not your fault. There’s no one to blame here. It’s just the way it is.
However, it’s absolutely essential that you figure out if what you’re doing now is in alignment with who you are.
Does it bring out the best of your personality?
Does it allow you to use your greatest talents and skills?
Does it connect with what you value and what you’re passionate about?
If it doesn’t, then I’m afraid you’ve got some work to do.
But don’t be afraid of hard work. Be afraid of working at something and succeeding in something that means nothing to you. That would be the greatest travesty of all.
Question: So tell me, what were you supposed to be doing with your career?
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