Have you ever felt like you have so many interests it seems almost impossible to choose a career path to pursue?
If so, you are definitely not alone! My clients present this challenge to me all the time – probably equal in numbers to those who have no idea what they want to pursue at all.
It can be really confusing and almost paralyzing when you have a lot of interests and passions – it can seem almost impossible to choose between them or combine them into one career goal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s talk about five strategies to address this all too common challenge:
Strategy #1: Get clarity on your natural talents and aptitudes.
There are many factors to consider when making a decision on which career path to pursue – the process is very much a combination of art and science. But big picture, bottom line, your aptitudes and values must align.
It’s always wisest to build the foundation of your career on your aptitudes – your innate natural abilities. Utilizing your aptitudes leads to long-term career enjoyment and satisfaction. On the flip side, neglecting them leads to a nagging sense of pervasive dissatisfaction, especially later in your career.
Ideally, you’ll be able to have your aptitudes objectively assessed so you can know for sure which ones are your strongest. People typically really struggle discerning their own aptitudes because they are the things that come so easily to us they seem like no big deal, so it’s important to have them objectively assessed.
My favorite aptitude assessment is the Highlands Ability Battery because it’s objective and scientific, yet personal and practical. It is completed all online, and debriefs to fully unpack the results can easily be done by Skype, which makes it a very effective and convenient tool.
If it’s not possible for you to take the Highlands Ability Battery, then think about what things come most naturally to you, the things that are easiest for you to do. And ask for honest feedback from your close friends and family members about how they see you’re naturally gifted. Those are clues to your aptitudes.
>> Aptitudes rule when it comes to long-term career satisfaction. But values overrule. <<
Strategy #2: Understand your values.
Take some time to think about what really matters most to you – think, pray, journal. Talk to a close friend, family member, or career counselor.
One way to gain insight into your values is to play the game of 5 Why’s. Go through each career option you’re considering and ask yourself why you’re interested in that option. Write out your answers – continue asking why after each of your answers until you’ve answered five times. Now look for themes. Those will be clues to your values. And often these themes will give insight into how to combine your interests and values into one career goal.
Strategy #3: Work through the “Five Things You Must Know to Have a Career You Love” checklist.
I developed this checklist to provide a free and simple way to think through the essential elements that lead to selecting a career that is the best “fit” for you.
Working through the checklist will help you make progress towards understanding which career option fits you best. It will help you think through what you’re naturally gifted to do, what you’re interested in doing, what coincides with your values, lifestyle, and goals, the work culture that fits you best, etc.
You can download a copy of the Five Things You Must Know to Have a Career You Love checklist I created on the homepage of my website. It’s free!
Strategy #4: Find out what specific careers are really like.
So often there is a perception gap between what we think a career is like and what it’s really like. You can gain a lot of clarity about which career path is the best to pursue by thoroughly researching your options to see what they are really like on a day-to-day basis. When you have an accurate understanding of what a career path involves often it becomes more clear how several of your interests can be combined into that one career.
It’s important to utilize online career information sites and reach out to people who are working in different career fields to find out the ins and outs of a typical day, what surprised them when they got into their career field, generally seek their advice.
Strategy #5: Be strategic with your major.
If you’re choosing a college major, select the one that will give you the best preparation long-term and pave the way for more options down the line.
For example, if you’re interested in fashion, baking, math, entrepreneurship, and event planning, consider majoring in business with electives in specialized subjects rather than majoring in fashion merchandising.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you’d like my help putting this all together in your life. This is a daily process for me with my in-office and Skype clients, and I would love to help you design a career and a life you’ll love. 🙂
To your success-