Often, I encounter people who are so burned out, unhappy at work, or disheartened by the job search that they feel that ever finding a career they love is impossible.

Here's what I tell them: In today's world, having a job that brings you joy isn't an idealistic dream, it's a necessity to thrive. Because when you have a job you love, you're not only happier, you also perform at your best. And that's the type of employee businesses hire today. With an increasing need for innovation, great thinking, and out-of-the-box solutions, they want people who bring their best to the office. 

But even with this knowledge, there's still the question of how? How do you go about finding and creating work that will light you up? 

There are three essential and powerful steps. And best of all, you can take action on all of them today.

Step 1: Believe it's possible

If you don't believe you can love work, then there is absolutely zero possibility of finding work you love. If you believe you can, it will ensure that you persevere despite any obstacle and fight for it. When your confidence is low or you've had a string of disappointments or failures, it's easy to lose faith. Keeping the vision strong is the only way you will be able to make it possible. 

Get started now: Start telling yourself every day that you will find or create work you love. Repeat this statement in your head as often as you can. You'll be building your mental muscle around this belief. Pay attention. You will see that before too long this belief will be so ingrained that you will have a boost of inner confidence around it. 

Step 2: Know your Zone of Genius and what you're best at 

Knowing your Zone of Genius makes finding work you love effortless. Your Zone of Genius provides two essential data points that make up the work you love: your genius and your purpose. Your genius is the thinking or problem-solving that you're best at. Your purpose is the impact on others that is most meaningful to you. 

Get started now: Start by asking yourself the following questions: When was the last time you felt really in the Zone at work? What was the specific thinking or problem-solving that you were doing? Map out five examples of this and then look for patterns. This is your genius at work. When was the last time you felt completely fulfilled by the impact that you were making? How is that impact linked to a core emotional challenge that you've experienced in your past? Your purpose is linked to a core emotional challenge. Once you see this, you will gain insight into what kind of impact is most meaningful to you. Your purpose is helping others who are experiencing your core emotional challenge. 

Step 3: Know the environment, people, and culture that will fit who you are

We are all different and finding the right job is similar to finding the right life partner. Not everyone is going to be the right fit. You have to look at jobs in the same way, and the best way to help you establish fit is to know the kind of people, culture, and environment that help you thrive. You can then be clear in an interview about what these three things are and use this information when analyzing different business environments. 

Get started now: Ask yourself the following: What time of the day do you do your best thinking? What is the ideal workday? What are the kinds of environments that make you feel comfortable, energized, and focused?  What are your core values? Use this list to help identify or confirm if your organization is a good fit culturally. 

Take these three actions and you will be well on your way to more confidently finding work that you love. Something that is more within your reach than ever before. 

Published on: Oct 1, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.