We are all searching for the job that makes us feel truly alive. The professional task that has meaning, and elicits continued gratification, and invigorates us—rather than stressing us out. Work that is a joy, and not a burden.
We know it’s out there–so why can’t we find it? Why would the job activity that brings us the most pleasure be such a mystery to us?
You Haven’t Failed the Tests—The Tests Have Failed You
Here are the most-often-tried ways to find your passion:
—you make a list of your hobbies, and try to find employment in a field somehow related to your personal interests;
—you take an inventory of your skill set, and try to match them with a relevant profession; or
—you pay for a personality test, and be told where you’d be most effective.
If you’re searching for your dream job, chances are you’ve tried at least one of these tests.
The problem is, those are “inward-looking” tools, and they often lead to a lot of dead ends. Simply knowing your interests may not be enough to discover the job that is going to make every day a effortless joy. And, truly—most of us are very complex people, who don’t fit into a simply personality test.
So instead of looking inward, look outward! Look at the tasks that humans have done for millions of years—the tasks which are innately human and satisfying, and then explore each until job until you find the activity that makes you feel most alive.
The following tasks are common to every culture on the planet. They are instinctive and natural, and deeply ingrained into us as people, and each one is coupled with an actionable item to discover whether the task lights you up.
Creation. Have you ever designed a new product, idea, or process, and been completely absorbed in the task? Give yourself one week to find an area of interest and create something totally original and totally new. Were you enthralled with the creative process? Take note—you may be a maker!
Teaching. Perhaps the most “inherently human” activity of all. Everybody has something they can teach, so contact a local YMCA or library and see if you can instruct a class. Does relaying your knowledge to a group of eager learners bring you contentment? You may shape the leaders of tomorrow!
Leadership. Motivating others to reach a common goal can be deeply satisfying. Volunteer at a church or local hospital, and lead an activity. Do you find yourself invigorated by the tasks required to shepherd a group toward a desired end? You may be the guide a company needs!
Helping Others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer support at a local mental health clinic, or call your local Salvation Army chapter and enlist your services. Does knowing that your effort has helped others make you feel good at the end of the day? If so, find a career helping others—immediately! We need more people like you!
Selling. Some people LOVE to convince others of their point of view—and those people make excellent sales people. Find something in your house you’re done using, and try to sell it to a spouse or friend or neighbor. Does the challenge of persuading them motivate you? Does the idea of building a relationship for mutual gain excite you? If so, you may have a financially rewarding career ahead!
Entrepreneurship. The easiest way to test your entrepreneurial spirit is to try and sell something online. Find a product you’d like to promote, visit WordPress.com and make a site, and try to get people to visit your page and make a purchase. Do you find yourself imagining creative ways to get people to visit your site and start buying? You might just have a new business on your hands!
Go Get ‘Em
Every single job in the world falls into one of the categories above, so try each until you find the activity that resonates with you. Think about the satisfaction that your search will bring you: your task is to find what activity makes you feel most alive!
Are you ready to find your passion?
Matthew Morris is a therapist and career coach in Brooklyn, NY, and he also runs the Barber Career Agency, a site that helps entrepreneurs pick a barber school and start their careers. He is passionate about helping people find their work!