What to do if you have no clear idea of how to choose your career
Simple steps in the right direction
Hello, my friends,
During the last months, the following thought is an especially often reoccurring one for me. What to do as a career? Or how to choose. I guess it´s normal since I am at the end of my master’s. But it´s confusing, distracting and I long so much for the answer. However, I don´t know the answer and maybe it´s not important. In this post, I want to try to explain to you why I think that.
Looking at famous people shows that there are, of course, some that find their passion directly. But I think it´s way more common that people pursued what they were interested in or what they enjoyed. And after looking deeper into this subject they started to develop or find their passion. There are plenty of stories of people getting interested in something, pursuing it, becoming good at it, enjoying it more and more and finally becoming world-class at it. They are the headlines and we admire them. But we can learn from them. What is if the question isn´t that scary and intimidating? What if it´s simple?
Maybe it´s as simple as first looking into different skills and then finding your specialty on the way. The combination of skills, knowledge, and interpretation that only you can have because only you acquired it. What if this is true?
That would mean that it´s better to just move into any direction instead of thinking too much. In the last year, I am thinking a lot about that and it surprises me again and again, but the action is more important than knowing more. Yeah, yeah. I know thinking is important. Don´t get me wrong here. I don´t want you to stop thinking fully. But what I want is that you understand that you cannot know everything and even if you would know everything then you would achieve still nothing unless you would do something.
So, that´s my point: do more than you think. I start to believe that also here the 20/80 rule can be applied. Hence, 20 percent of the time thinking and 80 percent of the time doing.
Sadly, I must admit that I am far away from this distribution. I am more at 60/40, for thinking… But I hope to improve slowly. With daily reminders and persistence, I will hopefully go more into the direction of a 20/80 allocation.
Okay, we established that we must do more. Clear. But doing what? Isn´t that even more complicated? I thought and read about this a lot and today I remembered randomly that I saw, heard or read somewhere somebody saying that if you don´t know yet what exactly you want to do then don´t despair. First, develop a skill. That´s it. Later, you will find a way to connect it with your passion and purpose and create something bigger out of it (e.g.: a career or business). But right now, choose a skill and develop it. Just any skill. Then do it as a hobby but consistently every day. If, after some time honestly and persistent testing, you are not sure about this skill. When you are not sure if you like it or it´s useful. Then, you can go over to another skill. This is no lost time since you keep the knowledge of any skill you learn and maybe it helps you later while combining this skill with something else.
So, this is a simple process that we all can follow. First, developing one or more skills and during that being open for ways how to connect these with our passion. This will ultimately lead to our success.
I guess you probably don´t like this advice. It sounds too simple to be true. I also understand you because I also hope for the magic pill or some more fancy-sounding advice. But maybe it´s just not fancy but about persistence and patience. Hence, I think in our situation is the best we can do to trust the process. We shouldn´t dwell long on those intimidating questions but rather should act.
To not dwell on it long will we make also the choice of the skill as simple as possible. Thus, take something that you enjoy and think you could do over a long period of time and then do it consistently. Maybe at the beginning as a small hobby but you always aim to develop your skill. Read about it, listen to podcasts, search for free exercises, follow people that are good at that skill or take online classes (there are plenty of free ones).
Take that skill and experiment with it. Play around and be open to new things. For every skill, there are countless ways to improve.
Let´s look at some examples.
Let´s say you enjoy music and that´s the skill you choose. Then you could try different instruments, different styles or simply new songs. You could cooperate with different people or just change the place where you learn.
Another example that I like a lot is languages. You could look at different ones, listen to them and just choose the one that you enjoy the most or that would be the most helpful for you. Then experiment with it. Listen to different media, read and speak and most importantly have fun.
Or if you choose to teach. Then you could experiment with the subject (languages, science, programs, art, etc.), individual teaching or courses, you could make videos or podcasts, or you could teach online and in person.
For every skill, there are countless ways to improve.
You can also take the skill apart and improve just one part of it.
Let´s look for example at writing, the skill that I choose for myself. You can take some time to just write faster. You can improve your grammar for some weeks. Or you can become better at writing headlines. Or you can try to understand a totally different subject and write about that (e.g. marketing, SEO, sales, psychology, etc.). You can also use a different style (e.g. fiction or science-fiction, etc.) or change the format (e.g. poem, short story or maybe even a book?).
So, I picked writing. Do I know if I will do it for the rest of my life? No, I don´t. However, I enjoy it now and that´s for now enough to start. It´s better than nothing and maybe I will find how to connect it with my passion and purpose on the way? But most importantly, I am moving forward. I progress and not digress. And I enjoy it. While there are moments in which I feel stupid, mostly I feel really good when I produce something new.
Now it´s your turn to pick your skill and develop it. Which will you choose? No matter which skill you choose now, take the first step in improving it. Don´t pressure yourself too much. Just promise yourself to take notes, read or listen about it or perform it every day. Some minutes are enough for a beginning. Just focus on doing daily something.
I want to finish today with this quote from Drew Barrymore that I found and really liked. Probably because I love the ocean. Hopefully, it also inspires you:
“I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at time. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and lows.”
All the best,
P.s.: I posted this story originally to medium. However, I also wanted to share this post with you on my blog.