You Won’t Find Your Authentic Career on a List

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to look down a list of possible careers and find the one career that’s meant for you? The one that would make your heart sing (and your bank account full)?Career List

You’ve probably seen the lists I’m talking about – the ones with titles like “the 10 hottest careers of the year,” or “the top 5 high-paying careers.”

These lists can be useful for finding out what types of jobs are out there at the moment (after all, without such a list, I never would have known about such jobs as “wrinkle chaser” or “light bender.”). But if you want to change your career, it won’t do you much good to pick the “hottest” or “fabbest” job from a list.

Authentic career change must come from the inside out.

The older I get, and I find this to be true of my clients as well, the more I want my work to be something that comes naturally and fits who I am. I spent most of my working life unhappily not fitting in, because my career was not a good reflection of my strengths.

You have certain talents, strengths, and values that give you your unique style. No one else has quite the same combination as you. It’s like your DNA.

The work you’re meant to do is an authentic expression of all these things. You’ll find that such work comes easily and allows you to feel on purpose. Now I’m not saying there’s only one career waiting for you out there. Your authentic work could take any number of forms.

Match your work to who you are.

Don’t fall once again into the trap of trying to match yourself to a career. This time around, make sure your work matches who you are.

Start by listening for your deepest values. Pay attention to your interests and passions. Then look around you and see what needs in your world call to you. How can you create a bridge between your values and those needs?

If you’re burned out, bored, or feeling discontented with the work you’ve been doing, and you know, just know, that there’s something else you’re meant to do, begin the steps toward doing it!

You may find that what you’re called to do makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you’re meant to get out there and show up in a much larger way than you ever considered possible. Or perhaps your contribution is quieter, more contemplative. If so, it’s no less powerful.

Your authentic career must come from the inside out. So instead of looking on a list for the work you’re meant to do, look to your heart. It’s a clear choice, really. You can dream and wonder “what if,” or you can begin to take the sometimes-difficult steps toward living a more authentic life right now.

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