Sadly there are numbers circulating that say anywhere from 40% to 80% of people are not happy at their job.   While an exact number even when surveys are done properly is hard to accept as completely accurate, the truth remains that there are lots of people who wish they were doing something else with their life.  Add this information to the fact that most people spend at least one third of their adult life at work and you have a good recipe for unsatisfied, unfulfilled, potentially even depressed people. 

When I speak across university campuses one of the number one causes of anxiety amongst students is how to figure out what they should do with the rest of their lives.  They all fear getting into a career or job that they don’t enjoy, but don’t know how to stop this from happening.  There isn’t a set answer or template that we can use.  It’s not like when you’re born your given an identification number that you can plug into a computer and it will spit out something like “accountant” on it.  We are all different and need to find our own way through life.  Finding our own way does not mean that we have no information.  It’s possible to take general formulas or proven processes that have worked for others in the past that we can use to plug in our own life experiences and will help guide us to better answers. 

Jim Collins the author from the books Good to Great,  Built to Last, and how the mighty fall has spent years helping companies succeed.  From his own personal life journey of discovery and from working with thousands of people in his career, has developed a thought process for discovering how to do what you love.  This may still require some work and serious thought on your own part, but will help make the process much easier.    

It’s important to do what you love because when you do something you love, you will do it much better.  When you look at the Oranges of the world it’s not too difficult to see that one of the common themes amongst them is that they all do what they love. 

Doing What You Love

The process of figuring out how to do what you love involves 4 steps.

1. What am I good at? 

The first step is to try and discover all of the things that you’re good at.  This  is usually not so hard to do.  We all know what skills we have and which one’s we don’t.  Write your skills down on a piece of paper to help make them more clear to. 

2. What was I born to do?

The second step is to figure out what you were born to do.  This is about looking at your skills and seeing which one’s you enjoy.  Have you ever been doing a task and then you look at the time and realize it’s been five hours since you started?  When time fly’s by at work and you enjoy what you do it will feel like you never worked a day in your life.  Try to think of the activities that while you’re doing it and when you’re finished you just feel full of energy.  These are the things that you were bron to do. 

3.  What can I get paid to do?

The third step is to figure out what can you get paid to do.  This is dictated by the marketplace and you may have to do some job hunting to gather this information.  When looking make sure to focus on the skills that you have, and the things you were born to do.  You should try to asnwer questions like what is the supply and demand for these skills in the marketplace?  If there are too many people trying to do it or if there are not enough companies looking for those skills, then maybe it’s not worth it for you.  Are you able to make enough money to satifsy your life style?  This will vary based on how much money you feel you need to earn to support your family and live with the luxuries that you want.  By answering these questions, you are beginning to see practical careers that are a good fit for you.

4. Who can I work with?

The forth step is to find a place of work that surrounds you with people that you love to be around.  Humans are social creatures.  If you have a job that has all three  criteria above but you hate your co-workers, you may find yourself very unhappy.  You should also consider the amount of social interaction with other people as some jobs have more and some have less.  When you find a job that has enough social interaction to keep you happy and surrounds you with people that you like you now know that you’ve found what you should be doing.

Tom Kelley the general manager at IDEO and author of The Art of Innovation discusses the lesson that he learned from Jim Collins talk where he shared his secrets of how he learned to do what he loved.  I hope you enjoy the video and are able to use this process to become one of the few that truly love what they do.