Are you happy with what you do?
Some people know from an early age what they want to be when they grow up and continue down that path into adulthood doing exactly what they dreamed of as a child. However, for some, it takes a long time and a lot of trial and error to find out what career path is right for them.
If you’re an adult and you still don’t know what your right career choice is, don’t worry and don’t be disappointed. Nothing is wrong with you! You’re intelligent and talented. It’s just a matter of finding your true match.
Some people have a lot of different interests and can’t choose which path to take, which makes them feel overwhelmed. The first time I heard of the term “rainbow personality,” was in my life coach training. The term refers to individuals with many different interests. I’m actually one of those people myself! What’s recommended for these people is not necessarily focusing on one area and abandoning their other interests, but to try doing different things even on the side to explore and to gain the fulfillment they need. You never know if you really like something until you actually do it.
I personally had a lot of different interests when I was in my 20s. It was really hard to know what to do. I’ve always had a great interest in art and design. I’ve taken different art classes, painted, obtained a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design, and renovated some houses. I have also had this fascination with psychology since I was a teenager. I loved reading psychology books and I was good at making genuine connections with people. I liked to have one-on-one conversations and to understand the other person and their perspective on life.
After I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communication, I was still living on the East Coast when I applied to two different master’s programs in Interior Design and Mental Health Counseling. I really had a hard time choosing between the two when I got accepted to both programs. Most people around me, couldn’t understand and kept telling me that these two disciplines were very different and while it was true, those were my interests and I found it hard to choose at the time. Eventually, I moved to San Francisco and chose to pursue a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design and after graduation, I focused more on Graphic/Visual Design. I still enjoy reading articles on architectural design and browse through design magazines and blogs, but at this point, I know that my main passion and strength are in working with people. I really feel a great energy when I coach people and find it extremely rewarding when I see my clients gain clarity of mind and make positive changes in their lives through the coaching process.
I also recently, decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT.) As I mentioned earlier, I always knew that I had an interest in the field of psychology/therapy, but at this point in time, my life experiences and my work as a life and relationship coach, have proven to me that this is the path that I’m meant to be on. Many times, during coaching sessions, issues would come up that were more therapy-related and I knew that I didn’t have the expertise to help my clients in those areas, which was another reason that led to the decision of becoming a therapist because I wanted to help more people through therapy in addition to coaching.
Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I had chosen mental health counseling and coaching in combination as my career about a decade ago. Maybe it would have saved me some time, had I done more of a Self-Discovery back then. Therefore, I recommend that you work with a life coach if you have a dream job that you’d like to switch to but you don’t know where to start or if you feel lost because you don’t know what is right for you. Working with a life coach can save you time, money, and the emotional exhaustion of not knowing what to do. Your life coach will help you gain the clarity you need to make this decision.
There’s no shame in not knowing what you want to do. As human beings, we constantly change and evolve. Our interests change and who we are today is not the same as who we were 10 years ago. Therefore, it’s ok to have a change of heart about your career as time goes by. You’re not a failure if you decide to change careers and feel unsure about what’s next.
If you can’t invest in working with a life coach right now, I recommend that you take the following three steps on your own.
1- Take a pen and paper and write down all the things that you have an interest in. Even if you get inspired by your friend’s job, but don’t want to think about it seriously, still write it down. Make a list of all the career options that come to mind, but don’t judge them and don’t reject the idea at this point. Just write it all down for now.
2- Come back to the list later with a fresh eye and try to narrow down the choices by eliminating some of the things that you really don’t think you want to do. Keep doing it until you have two career choices left on the list.
3- Do more research on those career choices that have remained. Find out as much information as you can about them. Ask people who are in those fields and interview them with a list of questions. If you know someone who has a job that you’re interested in, ask them if you can shadow them to see what a typical day is like for them. Take a class and learn about the subject matter and see if you still like it as you learn more about it.
Taking these steps will help you to find out if a career is right for you without jumping in with both feet and investing a lot of your time, energy, and money. Hopefully, you’ll come across the right career for you that makes you happy. Think about your strengths and how you can leverage them in your work. Think about what makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful. At the same time, it’s also important not to glamorize any profession, a mistake that a lot of us make which leads to disappointment when we discover the reality of it. No matter how passionate we are about a career, there are always aspects of it that we might not like. Try to see the whole picture because this way, you’ll also accept the less appealing parts without setting unrealistic expectations.
After this discovery process, you might end up realizing that what you thought you were passionate about, is in fact something that you’d like to do as a hobby and not necessarily for a living, which is ok too. If that’s the case or if you don’t want to make a drastic change and you like to keep your current steady income, you can still go through the same discovery process and find out what you’d like to do as a hobby and see what passion projects you can come up with. Take classes; learn new things as it all can bring satisfaction and fulfillment. It is important to focus on personal growth and take the opportunities to continuously learn. Don’t just get caught up in everyday life. It might not be easy with work, family, and other responsibilities, but it’s always possible to find a way to do what makes you happy, as long as you make it a priority.
Set goals, the actions steps and go! But wait, do you enjoy the journey or do you live for the future?
I don’t know about you but when I want something, I want it now! When I really want something and get excited about it, I have a hard time waiting. I just want what I want right now, but unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. It takes time and effort to achieve anything of value. I’ve learned this lesson over and over again in my life and while I still have to remind myself of this fact, sometimes I wonder how I can make the journey enjoyable while I’m working on a goal hoping to be in a better place in the near future. Have you ever felt like you’re putting everything on hold and that you’re waiting for one thing to happen so you can finally be happy? I’ve done it a lot in the past but what happened was that I ruined those moments for myself and even looking back now, I remember those times weren’t easy because I was suffering having to wait for that dream to come true.
Another thing I realized was that there is no perfection in life. A lot of times, I was working hard on certain goals but even when I achieved them, life still wasn’t perfect. When I was an undergraduate student in Boston, I dreamed of finishing the program and moving to another city where it wasn’t so cold in winter. I remember the cold and snowy days when I had to look for a parking spot on the icy streets of Boston, coming back from the university, tired thinking that I hated being there and that I couldn’t wait to live somewhere warm next to the beach.
While I had a great time being a student in one of the best college towns in the world, I was so focused on finishing school and moving onto the next chapter of my life that I really didn’t realize I was in a good place for the time being. I kept on dreaming of my graduation day and going back home to spend time with my parents. When the time finally came and I went home to visit my parents after a few years, I found out my mother had developed some health issues and that was a surprise because she was always healthy. We went for a few check ups and saw multiple doctors to find out that she had ovarian cancer. It was a shock to me; the fear of possibly losing my best friend was heavier than any emotion I had ever experienced and life was far from perfect. Now, I had my bachelor’s degree and was going to start my graduate studies. I had finally reunited with my family but I had the worst news in the world which was hard to grasp. Now, my only desire was for my mother to be healthy and for us to have more time to spend together. I didn’t know that my life would never be the same again. After going under surgery and getting chemo therapy, she was cancer-free, which was good news but it didn’t last long. A few years later, she passed away.
While I was in a better place in so many ways, living in California away from the cold, having graduated from graduate school with a master’s degree, I had lost the most important person in my life, my best friend, my mother. My point is that it’s important to have goals and focus on personal growth, but it’s also important to stop and smell the roses.
It helps to compartmentalize in life and what I mean by that is to remember that life is not one thing or another and that it consists of different parts. These days, I try to focus on my career while I value my marriage, my friendships, and other aspects of my life. Nothing is permanent in life and what I value today, might not be of importance to me tomorrow or once I achieve a goal, it’s time to reach another. Therefore, it’s good to work on self-improvement and always evolve but it’s crucial to be in the present moment and enjoy the journey while you work on achieving the next goal.
Are you setting smart goals?
It often happens that we set unrealistic goals which we won’t achieve and that leads to disappointment and lack of interest to continue pursing those goals. One of the valuable lessons that I learned during my life coach training, was that it is important to set realistic and achievable goals, within a realistic timeframe. The first time, I heard about “Smart Goals,” was during my training at the Life Purpose Institute. We were taught to encourage the people we worked with, to set smart goals. Here is the definition of smart goals:
Specific: it is important to be specific about the goal we’re trying to reach as sometimes without knowing it, we might have a vague idea of what we want but in order to achieve the goal, it must be very specific. For instance, if I say that I want to get into better physical shape, I should think about what that means to me. Does it mean to lose weight? If so, how many pounds do I want to lose? Or do I want to gain more muscle? While it sounds simple, it is important to know exactly what it is that we want.
Achievable: the goal must be achievable, otherwise it will lead to failure and disappointment. For example, if I decided to lose 20 pounds within the next six days, it wouldn’t be achievable.
Realistic: the goal should be realistic which is similar to the previous rule. While it is important to be optimistic and believe in possibilities, there are certain goals that are just not realistic.
Time-limited: time plays an important role in goal-setting because if we don’t have a timeframe in mind, we might not have the sense of urgency to get the necessary tasks done and get to where we want to be.
A lot of us have the “all or nothing” approach, which either involves a lot of work for a short period of time or nothing at all, but I hope that these small rules can be helpful with your future projects and setting realistic goals that lead to success.
What is Life Coaching?
Life coaching is still considered a relatively new field. While it always existed in some shape and form within other disciplines, it started being established in the 80s and became more popular in the 90s. Generally, people, who work with a life coach, do so in order to make positive changes either in their personal life or in their career.
Life coaching is a partnership between the coach and the coachee in order for the coachee to make improvements in some areas of his/her life. The life coach helps the client by asking open-ended questions, which in many cases, leads to uncovering an underlying factor that can be the root cause of the problem. The life coach also uses certain strategies to help the client overcome the blocks that they may encounter as they move forward.
Another benefit of working with a life coach is that while the process encourages people to come up with solutions, it also helps them with discipline since the life coach will hold the client accountable.
Life coaching is different than consulting in the sense that the coach does not give advice, but encourages the client to come up with the answer which is based on the belief that the answer is within the client, and for lasting results, the solution should not come from outside.
Is life coaching the same as therapy?
I get this question often and the answer is: while there are some overlapping aspects, life coaching is not the same as psychotherapy. What the two disciplines have in common is that similar to a therapist, a life coach creates a sacred place for the client to empty out his/her thoughts and feelings without any judgment while it all remains confidential. However, therapy and coaching are different due to the fact that therapy is mostly focused on treating trauma from the past whereas coaching is focused on the present and achieving certain goals within a defined period of time to build a desirable future.
Here are some of the common specialties in coaching:
Anyone who is interested in making improvements in their life to be healthier, happier, more successful, and to have fulfilling relationships and a life balance can benefit from working with a life coach. Coaching can also be helpful to people who are going through a transition in life and want to start anew; for instance, after the loss of a loved one or a breakup. Equally, life coaching can help people, who wish to be more creative and improve or develop certain skills to excel at work.
It is important to keep in mind that while a life coach can help people overcome blocks, be disciplined, gain a new perspective on life and come up with new goals that they can be excited about; in the end, it is the client’s responsibility to do the work. Projects only come to fruition with consistency and time.