You will likely spend more time at work than with family or friends. Subsequently, if you are feeling unsure about your future, it can feel unsatisfying or downright miserable. Here are three powerful questions to ask when you find yourself unsure about what to do for a living.
1. What did you do for fun as a child?
Begin by turning to those pastimes you enjoyed in your adolescence. This question encourages you to reflect on those activities you enjoyed before the societal pressure of monetizing your hobbies kicked in. Additionally, this question enables you to tap into and unlock pleasant memories from your subconscious that can fuel your career interests. Ask yourself: What connections can you make between your childhood hobbies and potential careers?
When I was younger, I would come home from elementary school and spend hours developing fictitious lesson plans in my teacher planner, creating worksheets for my parents, and teaching my stuffed animals. Now, I teach job seekers how to stand out in the saturated market, reimagine their career stories, and find jobs they love. The deep connection between my childhood hobbies and my current career is undeniable.
2. What activities do you enjoy outside of work?
Turning to your current extracurricular activities can also be helpful. Consider writing out a list of five activities you enjoy. Then, formulate five reasons you enjoy each activity. Circle and reflect on the themes you notice between your interests. What careers would enable you to leverage these interests?
I completed this activity several years ago with my own coach when feeling stagnant in my career. Despite enjoying diverse activities like drinking Starbucks coffee and visiting Disneyland, I repeatedly came up with the same ‘why’ behind enjoying each of these activities: analyzing brands, observing people, and having fun. I then used the results to refine how I spent my days.
3. What is your ideal work environment?
Finally, you may notice yourself focusing deeply on day-to-day job duties while forgetting to take the time to find the right company and culture. Try taking a step back and thinking about your ideal work environment. Reflect on the company culture you prefer, the management styles you thrive under, and what you desire from your future colleagues. Additionally, make a list of your top deal-breakers that would cause you to turn down a job offer.
Get detailed with your list of what you want next in your career. Write out everything you need, want, do not want, and cannot have in your next role and company. Refer to this list as you assess potential jobs. See what opportunities are in alignment and which ones do not make the cut.
Importantly, these are just a handful of powerful coaching questions to get you started in your journey to find a career you love. Remember: It will take time, energy, and effort to find the right one for you. You’ve got this!