The Wrong Way and the Right Way To Find Work You Love

Posted by in Career Success | 9 comments

When I speak with people about a direction for their career it can become apparent they are trying to excel in something that is not in alignment with their strongest talents and skills.

? Davide Cassanello via Compfight

For example, it may be they are trying to do well as an engineer when they are more gifted at sales.

Or they think they might be a good accountant when they are more talented in teaching others.

Other times people believe they can do well in any job regardless of the skills required to excel in that job. As long as the job is a “promotion” they want the job.

The problem is we try to make ourselves good at something God did not design us to do well. Part of this is the value we place on certain types of work or certain skills. We would rather be a mediocre attorney than an exceptional plumber.

This can come from family pressure, societal pressure, or a host of other influences that shape our thinking about the value of certain types of work.

The key to overcoming this sort of thinking is to focus on the special skills, talents, and abilities you have rather than trying to shoe horn ourselves into a particular role.

Work that is out of alignment with your best skills and abilities will eventually be unfulfilling and you’ll never experience the level of success in a job you otherwise would have.

This quote attributed to Albert Einstein sums up what will happen:

“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

We certainly don’t want that, so take some time to inventory what you do well – maybe better than anyone you know.

Ask yourself what special skills and natural abilities has God given you? What desires keep coming up in your heart of hearts? Do you find yourself most attracted to working with people, things, or data? Do you like to create something new or use an established method to solve a problem?

It can be difficulty to view our career choices without the filter of our family, culture, religion, or philosophical viewpoints.

But what if no one was watching? What if you could be a florist and no one cared? What if you could sell your drawings on ebay and no one would think you’re crazy?

What possibilities would that open up for your work and your life?

Question: Imagine you wake up tomorrow and you were doing work that was an absolute perfect fit with your best skills and abilities. What would be the first thing you notice that’s different for you?

  • You bring up some really good points Adam.

    Who wants to put their lives in the hands of a surgeon that God has called to be a carpenter, and his heart isn’t really into surgery?

    Another thing to consider about your question:

    “Question: Imagine you wake up tomorrow and you were doing work
    that was an absolute perfect fit with your best skills and abilities.”

    Is:
    What would you be doing? What would be your passionate service to the world?

    Lots to consider when trying to find the perfect fit.
    I went through school and got 4 doctorates just because I wanted my family to be proud of me, but I haven’t used them because I was pursuing the wrong calling.

    You will only find the right track for your life when you stop caring what others think and be who you are.

    • Bernard Haynes

      Dean, you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. I used to focus so much on what others thought or said that I didn’t walk in my calling. Life is too short to not live your vision.

    • I couldn’t agree more Dean. I definitely want my surgeon to love being a surgeon and put all they have into it.

      I also love your question – What would be your passionate service to the world?

      I rarely run into people who had the ability to choose a career without some influence from their family – positive or negative. Sometimes there is a process of filtering out our desires from well intentioned influencers.

      I hope you are on the path to living and working in the areas where you really shine.

  • Bernard Haynes

    Excellent post Adam. The first thing I would notice is that I am not rushing to report to a job on someone’s else time and I have the freedom to flow they way I am created to flow.

    • Thank you Bernard. Freedom to flow in your design is a sweet thing indeed. I know you serve others with the very best you have to offer.

  • The first thing I would notice is a sense of freedom of expression and a playing field without any boundaries.

    • Yes, Brotha Percy having a playing field without any boundaries can provide us with the needed foundation to use our greatest gifts and talents in the service of others. Thanks for your comment.

  • Love this post! I have recently (as in the past three days) started to embrace my gift of “openness”. It is very easy for me to share vulnerable parts of my story. Until this week, I have had shame in the fact that I am pretty shameless, so I haven’t shared a lot. I’m not sure how this is all going to play out, but I’m excited to begin using the gift that God gave me – openness. I already know there are people that won’t like this, because they have told me (enter: family pressures) but I know without doubt, that this is part of my calling. It’s so exciting!!

    • Yes, I think openness is definitely a gift Alana. I’m always impressed with people who are willing to share the good, bad, and the ugly about their lives. It makes them real and authentic to me. You’ve always struck me as that sort of person so I’m glad you’re embracing your gift. Be sure to care for yourself in the process of being open because some people may try to take advantage of that. I’m so glad you’re living as you were truly designed.