“It’s easy to make decisions once you know what your values are” *
Today it’s all about thinking about what you’re good at, what matters to you and where you want to be! To do this properly, it takes a lot of graft. We’re not going to tell you that you need to simply work out what your passion is, chuck everything and follow it. Some people might do what they truly love for a living, for others this might take the form of a hobby, so it isn’t always that black and white and there isn’t a one rule fits all. We can hear people already saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” but this looks different to everyone. For example one of my daughters really wants to be a pro footy player (well today anyway!) and I will support her in this by taking her to all the training, matches and so on. If she doesn’t make the professional level that she is currently wanting, should she stop playing football?? Absolutely not – she can pursue this passion through local clubs and so on.
Another example would be of my lovely old boss – he was incredibly passionate about all things magic. He would practice magic tricks on me most mornings trying to perfect them. He gave up the day job and has an incredibly successful career as a professional magician undertaking corporate gigs, weddings, etc. His passion has now become his job. You’d think he was living the dream but in reality after over a decade, his passion for magic has subsided and magic has now become his “job”. What we’re trying to say, as long as you are doing something that matters to you and brings you joy, that’s what matters. Whether that is your full or part-time job, hobby etc is totally fine. The path looks different for everyone so don’t worry what other people are doing or think you should be doing.
Values – “broad desirable goals that motivate people’s actions and serve as guiding principles in their lives”**
Values are personal and often dictate our behaviour. If you are doing work or working for an organisation that is aligned to your values, your work becomes a lot more enjoyable. When you work somewhere or do work that clashes with your values, you feel “out of sorts” or uncomfortable. You might not have even realised the feeling as it has become so normal but taking time to think about what your values are, really will make the difference. Our advice is try and pick a maximum of 5 that really matter to you.
Strengths What are you good at? Strengths are something that have generally come quite naturally to you – work out what they are and use them. We tend to do enjoy things we are good at. Everyone ceases up whenever we ask this as naturally as humans, we can talk about our weaknesses all day long but when it comes to strengths, we become all awkward. Why is that? Well one factor is that we often get told our strengths are weaknesses e.g. confidence coming across as arrogance or leadership coming across as bossiness. It’s a case of where strengths need harnessing and used in the right situations to the right level, as opposed to being overused. Others is that we don’t want to boast but interviewers aren’t telepathic so you need to tell them. Also if you know find a role that plays to your strengths, you’re more than likely to enjoy it.
Skills – what skills do you have? Skills are things that you have learnt or can be learnt. If you don’t know where to start, look at current or previous roles and think about the skills that you used while doing that job. Are there any in particular that you really enjoy? What might be necessary for you to progress in your chosen sector? Do you need to study? Do you need to gain specific skills in one area e.g. coaching skills, etc. This is also a good opportunity to consider the sectors that you have worked in and think about how they make you feel. Do they bore you silly or do you enjoy it? Or are you indifferent?
Passion What do you genuinely get excited about? I am not going to tell you that follow your passion and you’ll end up doing what you love or that you only have one passion. The reality is people can have lots and that’s totally cool. If you can think about what you really love / loved doing, it might help you unearth some answers.
Putting the graft in and looking at all of these areas is really important and valuable. So often we focus on one area and actually it really is a case of looking at all of these areas and making an informed choice. There is too much pressure to find your “calling” – people can have more than one. If we all only ever worked in our calling, then our skill set would be pretty limited. Often we work in different sectors etc and pick up new skills that can be transferred into something else. Our workshops cover these exercises in a lot more depth.
I hope this has given you some practical steps that you can take to start you on your journey.
Our next blog in this series is all about vision and purpose.
*Roy E. Disney
**Sagiv L, Roccas S, Cieciuch J, Schwartz SH. Personal values in human life. Nature Human Behaviour. 2017 Sep;1(9):630