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How to Find a Job You Love

How to Find a Job You Love

If you take the average of the many studies that have been conducted into employee engagement since the 1990's, somewhere in the region of over 80% of the worldwide population hates their job. And these figures aren't budging. That means the majority of us spend a lifetime in a job that makes us unhappy and unfulfilled. How depressing!

Many of us choose a career path that belongs to someone else. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve coached who chose their career to keep someone else happy, usually a parent. Back in 1998 when I graduated from University nobody talked about finding work you love. You chose a career path and stuck with it for as long as possible and hopefully got a fat pension at the end of it. Quitting your job without having another one to go to was almost unheard of.

In the last 18 years the work landscape has changed significantly and the ‘job for life’ no longer exists. Companies the world over regularly reduce staff numbers and people have higher expectations from their work and careers than ever before. Recent statistics show that more people are making the decision to take control of their career and quit their job than ever before.

[Related: A Millennial's Experience of Finding the Right Path]

Finding the path to meaningful and fulfilling work is where most people get stuck. It’s no surprise when we’re never taught that we can decide for ourselves what we want to do and who we want to do it for.

After quitting a job he was miserable in, the late Scott Dinsmore, founder ofLive Your Legend, started interviewing and researching people who did inspiring work they loved and found they all have 3 things in common.

1. They know their strengths.

People who find the work they love understand and are deeply connected to their strengths. They know what it is they have to do because it pains them not to. It’s the things they enjoy doing so much they would do them for free all day long if they had to. The quickest way to find out what your natural strengths are is to take the StrengthsFinder assessment.

2. They know their story.

We all have experiences every single day that help us learn about what we’re good at, what we’re not good at, what we love and what we hate. People who find work they love pay attention to their experiences and learn from them.

Like a lot of people, I fell into my first job by accident. I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating University and there was no real career path, so I started off buying parts for Lotus Cars. I was lucky to have a great manager who saw my potential and asked me to head up and develop the merchandise and accessories range. In my early twenties I had to pinch myself that I’d found such a great job. A few years down the line after the learning and growth had dried up I decided to go to Australia whilst I was still young enough to get a working holiday visa.

It was after the Sydney Olympics and it was tough to get a job. I sold (Lotus) sports cars and holiday timeshare and hated it. Then I drove a minibus for a hostel on the East Coast and loved it so much I stayed there for 3 months. Years later when I took the StrengthsFinder assessment and looked back over this particular part of my story it was easy to see why. I love helping people and making sure they have a great experience.

When I returned to the UK I took a job as a marketing manager and my ego started driving my career as I moved up the ladder to the next promotion and pay rise. And then one day I became one of those people who was stuck needing more fulfillment from their work.

[Related: What to Do When You're Stuck in a Bridge Job]

When I discovered my strengths it was a lightbulb moment. As I went back through my story and paid attention to what I loved and where I had felt energized and fulfilled, as well as frustrated and depleted, patterns about all of my experiences began emerging. I got clear on where I’d experienced great results for myself and others along with high energy and fulfillment. I knew what experiences I wanted, and needed, to keep repeating.

“We learn things every day...if we don't spend time paying attention to that and assimilating that learning and applying it to the rest of our lives, it's all for nothing.” -Scott Dinsmore

3. They know what their most important values are.

Our values are the things that are important to us in the way we live and work and what gives us purpose. When what you do and the way you behave matches your values, you are satisfied and content. If they’re not aligned, you feel discontented. Values guide our behavior and decision making which is why they are so important to get right.

At the top of my values is authenticity. I’m honest, empathetic and open and don’t make promises I can’t keep. I know my strengths and appreciate and accept my weaknesses. Being accepted for who I am and making sure I’m stepping into situations and environments that appreciate that are really important for me, otherwise I feel off balance and unfulfilled.

“If you lean into possibility and embody what matters to you, the world will be in your corner.” - Scott Dinsmore

These three things all have one thing in common. They are all completely in our own control and can change everything if we decide we want them to.

Most of us get to a point in our life where the career ego runs out. Some choose to ignore it because they don’t know how to take control and claim their story. Or they are scared of what will happen if they do. For others the pull towards doing something that matters to them is too strong.

Helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing and applying individual and team strengths is my passion. It’s too depressing to have a world where over 80% of people go to work everyday hating their jobs because they don’t get the opportunity to do what they do best every day. It doesn't have to be that way. Great results never happen when people are disengaged. It’s what I can’t not do because passion is something you can’t hide from, however hard you might try.

Scott Dinsmore's passion was to inspire people to find the work they love. He was a champion for it because he believed the world would be a different place if we all did work that matters to us. In his short life he inspired hundreds and thousands of people and leaves an incredible legacy of possibility and inspiration throughLive Your Legend.

Click here to watch Scott’s TED Talk on How To Find Work You Love.

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Vicki Haverson is the Director of Strengths-Based Development at Sparks International Training. She's passionate about helping change the landscape of the work place through understanding, developing and applying individual and team strengths.

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