If you want to find Joy, do what you love.
I’ve tried to distill it into a very simple tool for reviewing your current career situation and ensuring you’re on the right path to a happy and fulfilled life – hence why I call it ‘Career Planning in 60 Seconds’.
If you’ve not found the way to your central ‘heart’ yet, now’s the time to start thinking about where you want to go in your career, and in your life.
“Choose a job you love, and
you will never have to work
a day in your life.” ~ Confucius
Critically, it’s up to you to choose your path; only you can define what ‘Joy’ means for you, so don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do.
The easiest way to start finding the way to your ‘heart’ is to write lists of all the things that fit in the three yellow (outer) circles of the diagram, based on your own unique preferences and circumstances:
‘What You Care About’ refers to the things that you love doing, that you care about, and that matter to you in the longer term:
- Your passions, e.g. music, design, photography.
- Your beliefs, e.g. environmental sustainability, education for all, societal equality.
- Your ‘soul food’, e.g. spending time with your family, community activities, teaching students.
‘What You’re Good At’ refers to your actual skills and abilities. It’s important to be honest with yourself here, and take a broad perspective:
- Identify the things that you are good at – even things you may take for granted (e.g. helping others understand complexity)
- Things that you are good at, but don’t necessarily want to do every day (e.g. a deep mastery of spreadsheets and coding)
- Avoid things you wish you were good at, but where you haven’t achieved greatness yet (e.g. true fluency in a foreign language)
‘What Pays Well’ refers to the things that keep you alive. Don’t confuse this with ‘soul food’ – this is all about feeding mouths and paying the rent:
- Most people need money to live, so regardless of whether you like that fact, take some time to work out what your desired lifestyle costs, and then add on some extra for savings and special occasions.
- However, if you genuinely believe you can be self-sufficient and survive without money, and that lifestyle appeals to you, add it to your list.
- Try to think laterally about how you might achieve your lifestyle goals too, especially in light of the things you listed for the previous two circles; could a change of city, country or lifestyle help you to make things in the other two circles more viable?
The trick is to find a job, career or vocation that links at least one thing on each of your three individual lists.
As the orange sections highlight, any form of compromise will leave you feeling incomplete, and it’s only when you can link all three yellow circles that will you find your true Joy.
However, it’s unlikely that you’ll find your way to the central heart straight away, so use these orange sections to guide your path, based on how you’d like to live your life in the meantime.
It’s also important to stress that the path to Joy will be different for everyone, and that the path is rarely clear or straightforward.
However, unless you start proactively making things happen yourself, it’s very unlikely that you’ll reach your heart by accident.
So start planning your path now, and give yourself the best possible chance of living a Joy-filled life.