Loving what you do is a goal most humans desire. In fact, according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we are happiest when we are doing work that is challenging and enjoyable. The problem with this goal is that we are often fed absolutes about how to create a career: we are told that there is only one right way to move up the corporate ladder, to start a business, or to get more education.
When it comes to building your career, you have to confidently create your own path. Here are 3 habits that will help guide you:
1. Follow your instinct, no matter what everyone else does
Your gut is far wiser than you think. We are taught that our brains are our highest source of wisdom, but our bodies give us more valuable information than we realize. There have been some major breakthrough studies in instinct, and one of the best things we can do now is to acknowledge the legitimacy of our gut reactions. Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer said it best: "Gut feelings are based on lots of experience, an unconscious form of intelligence." Your gut says things for a reason.
Start listening to your gut and honoring what it says. You will be surprised how often it is the voice of clarity you are seeking.
2. Ask yourself, are you excited?
This seems so simple it feels silly. But, are you excited? Your excitement is a barometer for opportunity and desired growth, and we all too often ignore our excitement levels. How often do you do something because you think you "should," in absence of excitement? Sometimes these moments are hard to recognize, because on paper everything may look perfect. But if you stop periodically to ask yourself if you are genuinely excited and happy about the path you are on, you will be able to recognize the decisions that aren't right for you.
If you choose a path because you "should," loving what you do will be left to luck rather than a guarantee. Follow your excitement, and you are destined to a journey of joy.
3. Pause and wait for the truth to emerge
Really take the time to get connected to your truth when deciding on a career decision. Sometimes our instinctive voice is muted by the voices of friends, family, or our own egos-we often end up doing something or making a certain decision because it will look good to others. Your truth is there and if you take the time to sit, be silent and listen to it, the right path for you will emerge. Build a habit of meditation and mindfulness-it's worth it for your career.
We have been taught that things like formal education, doing what's been done before, or having a traditional job will always lead to success. However we are all unique individuals, and what is right for one person certainly isn't right for another. Sometimes what is right for you may not look "normal." In order to love what you do, you need to practice the above tips and build the habit of always stopping and asking yourself "Is this right for me?" It's all up to you. If your goal is to spend most days inspired and energized then then you need to find your true path to be successful.