What do you want to do?

Brad Sugars posted this picture on Facebook last week and I love it. It states quite simply what might help to keep in mind when answering that age old question: What should I do with my life? When we were younger (and to be honest, even now for many of us), the question was: What will I do when I grow up? In a time when the average person changes careers at least three times, this question is being asked more and more.

I remember being told that it didn’t matter, as long as I loved what I did. Well, when I was young, I loved riding my bike and climbing trees. I clearly failed to make a career out of those passions, so I knew there had to be more. My father once said, ‘as long as you are happy and what you are doing is legal, I will be proud of you’. Already the options were narrowing…

I believe along with this great image, there is an order of thinking:

  1. Where are you now? Plot your position in the circles. Where would you like to be? How close or far away do you need to move?
  2. Start with what you love. What are you passionate about? What gets you up in the morning? What do you talk about with your friends? What are your Google searches? This is the most important and must be done first, because it doesn’t matter how much you are paid or how good you are at something, if you don’t love it, you won’t be happy.
  3. Next: What you are good at. Out of the things you are passionate about, where are your skills? These can be skills you have learned or natural talents. OR skills you are prepared to learn. This is the time to give yourself some credit. You are most likely good at more than you think.
  4. Finally: What pays well. And it’s more than that. Who is your market? What does it want? Who is your ideal customer or organisation? Does what you are passionate and good at fit with it? Are there other markets that could use your passion and skills that you haven’t even considered? Research as well as some introspection is critical here.
  5. Time for a new plot on the circles. Is your thinking and research taking you to where you would like to be? What adjustments can you make to make it even better?

Here’s to doing what you love and loving what you do!