Whether you are attempting to leave the corporation you’ve worked at for years or graduating college, choosing a career can be an extremely intimidating experience. Very few know what they want to do, and every choice seems to lead to another option. We all know people who love their profession and others who don’t. For many of us, it feels like we’re submerged in muddy water, trying to figure out which way we need to swim. With so many choices, so many options, where do you start?
The Question. Ask yourself this question, “If I could do anything and money wasn’t an issue, what would I do?” Then go deeper. What is it about that particular path that is appealing to you? For instance, if your answer to the first question is, “I would work with the youth group at my church,” then examine what it is about the youth group that makes you come alive. Is it leading a group discussion? Is it connecting with the students individually? Try to get as specific as you possibly can. Maybe it’s leading, maybe it’s following, but if you end up in the wrong one, you will continually feel out of your element.
The Sources. Check your sources. Employers will often contact the references you write down to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Copy their example. Call five people that really know you and ask the question, “When do you really see me come alive? In what circumstances do I thrive? Where do I drag my feet the most?” The results may surprise you.
The Author. Pray. Is there anything simpler than this? Is there anything harder than this? Trusting that the Lord has a plan for you is one of the places the rubber really meets the road. Set yourself up with a foundation of going before the Lord with your career choices. Whether you end up depending on funds you’ve raised or working in a corporation, it is always He who does the providing. Remember that.
The Experience. Get your feet wet. Get a job that’s similar to the one you think you want and test the waters. If you think you might enjoy owning a coffee shop, try just getting a job at one first. If you think you might like being a teacher, apply to be a substitute for a year. It’s a great way to develop specialized skills and test out your abilities with less commitment.
The Goal. Some things take natural talent, but most skills are developed. If you have a dream that seems unattainable, train for it. Fight for it. Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Keep your eyes on what you want and develop a plan for how to get there. The problem is that most people confuse the means for the end. Be patient. Everyone fails at some point. The difference lies in what happens after they fall.
Work hard. Be patient. Live your life in a scenario where you know you would come alive, and remember, you’re in good hands.