How do you respond when you’re 15, 16, 17, and people ask you “What are you going to do with your life?” The expectation to have the entirety of your life planned out before you even have much real life experience is high. Everyone seems very concerned that you don’t waste your life. Considering talents and undiscovered skills you may learn in the coming years, finding the right answer can seem daunting. No pressure! This is only a lifelong decision you need to have figured out before you graduate high school.
Let’s be honest. The expectation to get it figured out is pretty unrealistic. With all of the pressure to choose something “practical” or “useful,” how do you choose what to do with your life? Here are five things to consider while trying to avoid the drama of family expectations, the dread of a life doing something you won’t enjoy, and the pressure to have everything figured out by the time you’re old enough to drive.
- Think about things you enjoy. There is an assumption that if you enjoy doing something, it must not be practical and you could never make a good income out of it. But think about it. There are professional skateboarders and video gamers. I mean, of all the things that seem impractical, these would certainly fall into this category. And yet, people make money at it. What is the key? They looked for opportunities to show their skills to people who paid. Competing, honing their skills, learning everything they could about what they did. Just remember, it can’t be only a hobby if you are going to make a living at it. You have to take it seriously enough to put in work.
- Add something you’re good at to something you enjoy. Often if you enjoy something you will be good at it because you enjoy putting in the time to get better. Sometimes it goes the other way too, where you are naturally good at something and learn to enjoy doing it because it seems comfortable or it comes somewhat easily. Doing something “practical” that you are NOT good at just because it is a “good career choice” could be disastrous. If you pursue something you are not good, it’s a quick road to burnout and frustration. There is another common misconception around this, and that is that the path of least resistance is for sissies. If you aren’t working miserably hard, then you must be lazy and unproductive. But the opposite can be true. If something comes naturally, why not take advantage of your natural talents?
- Don’t choose a career based on what people think. It isn’t a bad idea to consider advice, but advice is just that. Advice. You can consider it, think about it, determine if it makes sense for your life, and use what works. Also realize that when listening to advice given from someone’s insecurities shouldn’t be taken as a serious desire to help you.
- If you think a career field seems interesting to you, spend some time getting into and immersed in it. Your first reaction shouldn’t be “I am going to spend money on getting the degree required for this job.” I mean seriously, you have the internet, there are internships, base level jobs, and people in currently in those jobs you can talk to first. Think about it. Why would you invest thousands of dollars and years of your life without a plan? People who with investments research the funds or things they are investing in extensively before they put ANY money into it. Why not do that before investing YOUR time and money?
- Don’t be afraid to change a few times as you grow and discover different things about yourself. Until you get a chance to start getting your hands dirty and get into the workplace, it can be hard to tell what you might be good at or enjoy. Think like a business owner, not a recruiter. A business owner knows all the worst parts of the job and running the business, but to him he weighs it against the benefits of what he does and how it makes him feel, or how much money he makes, and he doesn’t mind doing the harder things because he enjoy the work more. A recruiter tells you all the coolest and best parts of a job without telling you about the worst parts. If you feel the need to make a change in direction, just remember that the most important part of this process is honesty. Don’t quit a job by walking off because you discover you don’t like it. Maintain your integrity with employers and yourself as you work at finding what your purpose and fulfilling career could be.
Figuring out what to do for the rest of your life can seem like a daunting task, especially when it seems like the only thing people care about is that you do what they think is good for you. Don’t be afraid to take on some commitment in the form of a job, or starting to build a business. Be willing to figure things out. And remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out yet, but to get anywhere, you have to be willing to try!
If you want to gain the tools to help you find the right career, and start your journey toward being less stressed, and more fulfilled every day, then click here to subscribe to my FREE course 14 days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams!