In today’s post, I bring to you Britney, from thehappinessagreement.com A psychology major, she blogs about her personal journey towards hapiness and has produced great many articles on how you can achieve the path too! In today’s post, she uncovers the simple steps behind building a career while finding your purpose!
Before we begin, get to know Britney a bit more <3
What if I told you that you could build your career while you find your purpose as you go through your boring college classes? Most people have a very limited idea of what they want to do with their life when they start at University.
They go in, having gathered small clues over a pretty short period. They painstakingly pick a major to study. And then the existential crises start to set in. The pressure of knowing exactly what you want has mentally and emotionally broken many aspiring students.
Here’s how to not be one of them, while you find your purpose and build your career.
To simplify this as much as possible, let’s go through it step by step.
1. Start with what you’re interested in and good at
I’ve studied how to find your purpose and happiness for quite some time now. And most of the information out there will tell you to find the overlap. Get a good view of what you’re naturally good at, and what you’re naturally interested in. You can do this by asking your closest family members and friends – the people who are going to be honest with you. You then compare the two, and find where they overlap. This is where you start! This is your launch pad to finding your purpose, and for building the career of your dreams.
I followed this exact formula, and am now building the life I’ve always imagined I’d have. I love what I do every single day, even though I’m worked down to the bone. I’m literally exhausted and have nothing left at the end of the day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why? Because I did the work to figure out where I wanted to be. I created a vision, and every single day, every minute is filled with a purpose to make that vision and dream a reality.
Do not skimp on this first step. It’s critical and foundational and will steer you back onto the right path when you veer.
Consider Simon Sinek’s concept of the Golden Circle. Everything that is done well goes back to the strength of your “why”.
2. Hop on opportunities and novel experiences
This is where the rubber meets the road. It is absolutely a must to get out in the world, and to have new experiences. If you have fear, that’s completely normal. Do it afraid. Because you won’t ever get to where you want, reach the big goals, or find your purpose hiding behind the safety of what your parents taught you. They gave you a foundation, and now it’s up to you to expand and to grow, and to push yourself to new limits and new comfort zones. We’ve seen the quote “a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” And it couldn’t be more true.
Sure, some people will give you the old adage that you should “grow where you’re planted”. There are times in life where this will be true. Now is not that time. This place you find yourself in is all about exploration and finding and searching. What I wouldn’t give to be back in this place and take full advantage of the gift it is!
Don’t squander the time you’ve been given NOW. Get out there, and live life to the fullest.
And find what you’ve been put here to do.
3. Take all of the assessments
In addition to getting out and experiencing life and trying different things, you should look into taking career and personality tests. These two go hand in hand. One falters if it isn’t joined with the other. Without the assessments, you might get a sense you are just wandering aimlessly. We don’t want that.
And without the hands-on new experiences, you could get overwhelmed with (sometimes conflicting) information and freeze there in place. With information, there is a requirement for action. Without action, you can get stuck in inaction, and never find where it is you’re supposed to be, and what you’re supposed to do.
Get your hands on the free assessments, and invest in a few quality ones. Consider the information, and then take action.
4. Spend lots of time in the counseling center
Womp, womp. I know. Nobody really wants to go to the counseling center. But I guarantee you, there will be resources there you’ll find aren’t that readily available anywhere else. Their whole purpose at those centers is to help you figure out your stuff. Though most aren’t the best at it, they still have access to the resources so that you can do a lot of it on your own.
And, I’ll be honest with you, most of life and what you want won’t just be handed to you anyway. This could be great practice in the exercise of taking control of what’s available to you to use to your advantage.
So, talk to your counselor, if they are invested. Figure out what valuable free resources are available there, and use them! Why pay for this stuff, if you don’t have to, you know?
5. Interview professors that are currently working in the field
Another valuable FREE resource that can be golden on this journey of solidifying your purpose while building your career is setting informational interview appointments with your own professors (or professors teaching in another major you’re interested in)!
Of course, they all have their office hours. Make sure you are valuing their time, and don’t pop in with this type of thing. Set an appointment to speak with them. Get your answers to the most pressing questions. And go the extra mile of either bringing them something as a thank you during the interview, or dropping a quick hand-written thank you card in their inbox either that same day or within the week.
Easy! What an incredible way to know more about the career you’re considering, as well as make a lasting impression on someone who is already working in that field.
6. Conduct research on LinkedIn and connect for more interviews
This is a natural extension of interviewing your own professors. When I heard about this, I ran with it. I set so many coffee meetings, my head was spinning. This can be such a game-changer when it comes to figuring out what you want while, again, making crazy good impressions on potential employers and colleagues.
Here’s what I did:
- I compiled a big list of companies where I thought I’d want to work, where I could see myself
- I then did searches on LinkedIn to find people who would have titles that would be my direct report and/or people who would have the title I want (for your purpose in college, I’d recommend going for the same title you’d be going for)
- With the list of people I’d found on LinkedIn, I searched for their work email addresses in Google (sneaky, sneaky)
- Then, I’d send them a canned email, which was an email I’d drafted to save time and just copied and pasted, changed the name and some other details
- The email was simply to ask if I could buy them a coffee and talk about how they got to where they are!
- I sent tons of emails so as not to get discouraged if I didn’t hear back from anyone, but did have a system to follow-up if I didn’t hear back for a couple of weeks (people are busy, and it’s understandable if they’d missed it)
- If I did hear back, I’d do some further research on them, and then draft some questions I wanted to ask
- I’d meet with them, buy them a coffee (if they let me), and be myself!
Don’t expect to get your job from this. Go in with realistic expectations of gathering information and making valuable connections. Any extra is icing!
7. Collect information and strategize your next move
This is another not the most fun step of them all. Evaluate all of your collected data. Take a look at all the stuff you’ve compiled from steps 1-7. Where are the themes? Which career that you looked at really aligns with your natural interests and natural talents? What could you see yourself doing for a longer amount of time (because, let’s be honest – nobody does one thing for the rest of their lives).
I’d recommend narrowing down your scope to 2-3 really amazing options.
When I was going through this process, I told myself that I’d either make a career as a school counselor, or I was going to work at Kaiser in mental health. I didn’t realize at the time that my passion for guiding and teaching would evolve into running my own blog and business.
But that’s what happens! We evolve, things and situations change. But if you’ve been blessed enough to work on this process and find your true purpose, it will continue to guide you for a really long time.
So, once you’ve evaluated, execute. What’s your next move? And make it.
8. Change your major, if necessary
When I started college, I went in with this loose idea that I’d always loved writing. I was pretty good at making presentations and speaking, too. So, the obvious major was Communications. That’s where I went. And that’s where I finished.
But, closer to the end – around my third year, I started to wonder. Communications seemed so obvious, but the more I found out about the career paths, the more I felt like it was the very last thing I really wanted to do with my life.
I figured it was too late in the game to change, and so I ended up graduating Cum Laude in a field I had no intention of pursuing.
Don’t let fear put you at a disadvantage. If you find that you’re interested and passionate about something other than what you’re studying, just go for it. Put your all into it. Put all of your effort behind it. You will not fail if you decide you will not fail.
9. Put on the blinders
Sometimes we listen too much to other people’s opinions about what we should and should not do with our lives. And it’s pretty silly when you sit back and realize that no one has to live your life, but you. They could want nothing but the best for you, not realizing that their best could in fact be your worst.
So, when you find what it is you want to do with your life, sometimes you have to put on the blinders. It isn’t about the next person, your parents, the rest of your family, your best friend. It’s about getting to the life that you want to live. It’s about doing what you see for yourself.
Don’t be concerned about what they’ll say if you don’t succeed. Be concerned about how you’ll feel if you don’t ever try to live your life for yourself.
The way I see it, I’d much rather try and fall flat on my face than take the “safe” route and be overwhelmingly disgusted with myself for not listening and following my own truth.
10. Most importantly, have fun!
Finding your purpose and building your career doesn’t have to be all serious. It should be a lot of fun figuring out, experimenting, experiencing new things. So, remember to relax throughout this process. If it takes longer than you expect, that’s okay! If you get it right away, don’t be nervous. Pace yourself. And have grace with where you’re at.
The main idea is to listen to you; to tune your ear to your own true voice.
Find it, and you find magic.
And who doesn’t want to live a magical life?
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and it helped you get a bit closer towards connecting your career path and finding your purpose!
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Have an amazing day!
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