When it comes to choosing a career all young people are given the same bland weightless advice of “live out your dream” and “follow your passion” but what does that truly mean?
How do you know what your passion is, and what if you don’t even know what your dream lifestyle looks like?
Today I want to enlighten you on how to create a clear vision for the professional life ahead, and how to ensure that you’ve made the right decision.
1. Deciding what to “Do”
“What should I do when I grow up”…The question sweeping across a generation. As the New York Times highlighted, 80% of college bound students are undecided in their field of study. It is accepted to go through school with an undeclared major, and little sense of direction. The cultural tolerance of this idea doesn’t give individuals the urge and desire necessary to start cultivating a goal-based vision.
Deciding what to do with one’s life can be extremely stressful and even scary, but it does not have to be. Most people are under the impression that the successful life they want lies on a specified narrow path, and if they deviate from this path everything they strove to attain will be lost. In reality this kind of thinking paralyzes people and restricts them from venturing out and experimenting.
Ask anyone over the age of 35 and you find that a successful career will almost never resemble a completely straight path. Your road to career progress will be full of bends and turns resembling new opportunities and developing interests.
In a past article of mine I touch on how the lack of a clear vision will keep you from fulfilling your potential. Establishing a clear direction is vital to your occupational success. But maybe you fall into the 80% of people unsure of what career to choose, and you are wondering what to do? Well…here is what you do not do; Don’t sit there and do nothing!
As painfully obvious as this seems, more people are held locked in the same place for many years because they didn’t not start getting active when developing a vision. You can’t act passively until you ultimately decide what field to pursue. Inspiration will not spontaneously hit you. Nobody is going to hand you a life changing opportunity. You can not sit around and do nothing. Life will throw people with this kind of thinking into careers where you are working to make someone else’s dream a reality rather than your own.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you say you are going to do.” – Confucius
2. Develop skill-sets
You must get active. Start doing something, anything. It is common to have many different careers through one’s professional life, so don’t be bashful in developing skills even if your are unsure of the field you want to enter.
Skills are pivotal in determining a passion and creating a dream. Developing a passion toward an occupation is often the result of the amount of time invested in a particular skill-set. Similarly to how personal relationships are strengthened, or how a tv show infatuation is cultivated. Giving a significant amount of time and attention toward a skill-set will begin to develop a natural passion for the corresponding occupation.
Create opportunities by expanding your skill-set and your network. The best way to develop a passion for a career is to get active in that field.
3. Develop relationships
A successful career in any field is heavily dependent on relationships and communications, not just technical skills or knowledge. Start growing your network now even if you are still determining what you dream job is. The best way to get what you want out of your career is not through filling out an application or participating in an interview but rather through knowing people who know you and know you can deliver.
The CEO of starbucks Howard schultz himself said “We are not in the business of making coffee we are in the business of people”. This quote applies to every industry and field. No matter what you end up doing with your career people will be involved, and learning how to develop lasting relationships with people who are far more experienced and knowledgeable is vital to your success. Any success that I myself have obtained is merely the product of older and wiser people investing in me, however it was up to me to reach out and initiate a conversation.
In the pursuit of your dream career don’t be afraid to experiment and the break traditions. Your path to lifestyle success and financial stability may not lie in a conventional four year degree.
However it is dependent on you getting active, developing skills, and cultivating relationships.