Just imagine if everyone you knew was doing exactly what they were placed on this earth to do. What if people of all backgrounds and disciplines were working at what comes most naturally to them? Don’t you think the world would be a better place?
For a long time I felt as if I was swimming upstream, working incredibly hard at a number of jobs that I was attempting to force fit myself into, because it was “right” or what seemed like I was supposed to be doing at the time. I grew up in the restaurant business, and had several foodservice establishments of my own. I was good at what I did, but it sure didn’t feel natural and I was often miserable and rarely content because I knew it wasn’t my true calling.
Perhaps you know the feeling. If so, I’d like to suggest a number of simple questions to ask yourself in order to help you move towards finding what you’re best at. I’m talking about true fulfillment and adding real meaning to your life, and in turn, the lives of others. Imagine if you were doing exactly what you were meant to do, don’t you think you’d be a more pleasant person and easier to be around than you are right now? Everyone would benefit, so you’re doing us all a favor by spending some quality time on this exercise.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What comes naturally to me and seemingly without effort?
- What have others always told me that I’m good at or praised me for?
- What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
- If I had all the money in the world, what interests would I continue to pursue?
- What would I rather be doing right now?
- If I were still in high school and had my whole future ahead of me, what would I do differently?
- What would I have to do if I didn’t have to do anything?
Once you’ve completely and honestly answered these questions, your very essence, the core of you, will begin to materialize.
Don’t think you’re too old or established to find your passion, either. English novelist George Eliot once said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
BONUS - Listen to Ralph’s companion podcast:
Got a Passion? Make it a Living!
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself and to consider in your self-assessment:
- What magazines and books do I read for pleasure?
- What television and radio shows do I enjoy listening to and watching?
- What subjects did I most enjoy working with in school?
- Who do you admire, and why?
- How do I choose to spend my free time?
- What hobbies and special interests am I pursuing on a regular basis?
- What’s really and truly important to me?
No matter how seemingly unrealistic or “pie in the sky,” consider what you daydream about doing in your ideal life.
Keep a journal of what excites you and gives you energy throughout the day. Make a list of the things in your professional life and personal life that you most enjoy, and that you most dislike. Over time you’ll start to see a pattern or patterns emerge and your true calling will come to light. This common thread is where your best future lies.
The ultimate question you should be asking yourself is:
what would I spend it doing?
The answer to this question will speak volumes about what’s important to you and how you should be spending your time from now on. Make an effort to find a career that will take you effortlessly downstream. Someone is making a living doing what you’d like to do, so why shouldn’t it be you?