The reason most people never find the work they are meant to do is because they never start looking in the first place. It’s easy to let your life pass by year after year without ever stopping to ask what’s really important to you.
These questions are scary and their answers could lead to a big life-changing decision. It could mean a new career, a big move, or a new business venture. But by taking the time to think this all through now, you unleash the potential to find more purposeful work and a more fulfilling life.
Below l have provided 5 exercises that will help you begin the journey of finding what you’re meant to do. I learned these techniques from some of the thought leaders in personal development including Eben Pagan, Dave Evans & Bill Burnett
5 Exercises to Help You Find What You’re Meant to Do:
1. Examine who you used to be
It’s no secret that as adults we lose much of the creativity that we had as children. The days of building castles out of Legos and hosting tea parties with imaginary friends are long behind us. And while shifting away from this type of creativity is important for us when adapting to the “real world,” we tend to also lose sight of who we really are in the process.
In fact, the activities that absorbed us as children could give us clues into what we’re meant to do as adults. The key is to uncover these long lost creative sparks.
In order to do this, Chip Conley
encourages people to brainstorm on 10 things you were interested in when you were 10 years old
. What did you dream about doing then? What activities caused you to lose track of time? What could you do better than any other kid?
This simple exercise only takes 15 minutes and should get your wheels spinning to unlock the long lost talents within you.
2. Examine who you are now
In order to find what we’re meant to do it’s essential to take a deep dive into who you are and how you can best provide value to this world. We often don’t think about our passions and our skills unless we’re prepping for an upcoming interview. But the truth is, we should constantly be interviewing ourselves.
In order to find that ideal job you need to understand how your passions and skills fit together. By combining these two, you will be able to simultaneously love what you’re doing and excel at it. John Lee Dumas of the Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast
calls this area your “Zone of Genius.”
In order to find your zone, try completing the following exercise for 5 days in a row:
Draw a line down the center of a blank piece of paper and label the left side, “things I enjoy,” and the right side, “things I’m good at.” For ten minutes each day, write down as much as you can on each side. It may sound simple but it’ll stimulate your brain and help you see yourself in a new light.
3. Examine where you’re at now
In the nonstop hustle of the real world we rarely ever pause and think about our lives. When’s the last time you were at work and asked yourself what you were doing, why you were doing it, and how you felt about doing it?
You see, we have a tendency to blindly go through the motions in our life out of habit without proper reflection. One easy way to start uncovering the work you’re meant to do is to think more critically about your day-to-day life.
Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
, authors of Designing Your Life
, have given us a way to do this through their Energy Engagement Worksheet
(Access this through their resources page HERE
). With this simple worksheet you can start to monitor your energy and engagement levels as you move through your day. Using this you can start to identify the activities you’re fully engaged with and which ones take all the energy out of you.
The idea here is to find ways to add more of the engaging activities into your life while minimizing the draining ones. In the long run this will start to reshape your life and perhaps lead you to a job that brings you energy and engagement all the time.
4. Ask the people who know you best
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to examining ourselves. Self doubt can make it difficult to do a proper examination of our skills and we may need a second opinion.
This is when turning to a friend or loved one for their feedback can come in handy. Friends and family members can often see talents in us that we take for granted. They’ll help you find all of the skills that you’re overlooking and maybe unlock a career path you’ve never considered before.
In this exercise, which I got from entrepreneur Eben Pagan, send an email with the three questions below to three close friends or family members. Their feedback will help you zone on in the skills you have that you’re probably overlooking!
Questions for email:
- What would you say my best skills are?
- Of these skills, are there any of which you can see people paying me for?
- Is there anything I do better than anyone else you know?
5. Create three “Dream Life” scenarios:
As you examine your passions, skill and values from the exercises above you might start to see multiple “dream jobs” present themselves to you. This is not something to worry over but rather something to get excited about. As Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have found through their research, we each have the ability to lead several dream lives.
In their exercise called The Odyssey Plan (Access this through their resources page HERE), your job is to create the blueprint for three dream lives you could choose to pursue. Do you want to be an architect? A zoo keeper? Or perhaps a travel blogger? The possibilities are endless in this exercise.
You can organize your top three dream lives and then list out the pros and cons of each. Furthermore, you can start to test out these lives little by little in your current life. Start having informational conversations with people who are already living your dream or test out the work for yourself.
One More Thing!
While these exercises will surely give you the spark you need to start your journey, they won’t be enough to get you to the finish line. That will take discipline and a process which can be formed through the right habits.
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