The importance of choosing a career true to yourself is that it will determine the quality of your life earning potential, and consequently your health; as well as dictate opportunities for personal development.
To search for a career true to yourself is akin to the search for the perfect underwear—it has to fit you. You have to feel comfortable in it, and it has grow with you. Therefore, in order to find it you have to rely on your senses more than on external signs; in other words, you have to know your true self and your talents first, and then match them with your career of choice.
Unfortunately, modern western citizens rarely practice self-examination as part of their life skills, and if they do, they fall into an introspection illusion, a phenomenon well-studied by social psychologists.
Short of a reliable external indicator to tell if a career is true to yourself, you might have to depend on internal observations.
To overpower this shortcoming, I have included five easy to look for signs as a “litmus test” to know if a career is true to yourself.
You know a career is true to yourself when all of these signs are present: (all inclusive)
1) You can’t stop thinking about the subject matter of your potential career.
The subject matter in which you find yourself spontaneously thinking and researching in your free time may be pointing towards the subject matter of the career you were meant to pursue. It is also the subject matter that you are known for among your family and friends.
However, it has to be traceable to your personal history, starting anywhere between early childhood to teenage years.
For example, Albert Einstein was obsessed with the understanding of his universe, and used mathematical equations to study it. Leonardo Da Vinci used geometrical shapes to understand his world. (learn more) The author of this blog is obsessed with the understanding of human behavior and uses birth chart calculations to study it; a curiosity that began since she was 15 years old.
What do you find yourself thinking about most of your time? What have you been curious about since childhood/teenagehood? What’s your obsession?
2) The skill involved in the career comes easily to you
We all have one or more skills that make us stand out from our family and friends.
It’s the skill that we learn easily and can study longer compared to our peers.
Inborn skills, or talents, can be obvious, like drawing, speaking in front of a crowd, dancing, athletics, reading and comprehension, singing, playing musical instrument, etc… Or not so obvious, for example, the ability to observe details that others miss, seeing the big picture (ability to gather large amount of information or data and crunch it for fast conclusion), memorization, socialization, deal-making, etc....The keyword is fast learning and endurance.
Look for that skill by which you stand out from your peers - by a Wow! factor. That may be your talent.
3) You can see yourself evolving in your career.
Even though you’re not a visionary, or were never known to envision things, when you are in a career that is true to yourself, you see yourself in the future; you see yourself adopting different roles as you evolve in your career. This is another sign that you found the career true to yourself.
If you don’t see yourself beyond today, then that’s definitely not your career—it’s just a job!
4) You feel yourself at home.
The first time you find the career that is true to yourself, you will know it by an resounding internal YES! But once the excitement subsides, it should turn into feelings of comfort, ease and peacefulness as you engage in the job related to your career. You have to pay close attention to yourself in order to confirm this sign.
5) It invigorates you instead of draining you.
When you’re in a career that is true to yourself, problems become opportunities to learn and grow. Because you are in your element, you’re naturally curious. At the end of a work-day, you should return feeling good and not exhausted, regardless of whether you encountered any problem at work or not.
In summary, observing your innermost thoughts and feelings are the key to knowing whether a career is truly meant for you. Look for these five signs:
- Constant thinking on the subject matter;
- Easy skill acquisition and heightened endurance for learning;
- Envisioning your future in this career;
- Feeling comfortable;
- The career energizes you instead of tiring you out.
When you have observed all of these signs, then you have found the career of your true self.