By Adrian Klaphaak
You have a career path that fits. Everyone does. A path that fits is the direction in your life and career that aligns your innate strengths, values, and purpose to create a positive difference in the world. You also have a unique way of living and being on your path that maximizes your potential and effectiveness. Being on your path isn’t just about what you do but also how you do it.
For most of you reading this article, the desire to find your path is obvious but the actual path isn’t. And understandably so. The process of finding your true path is overwhelming. Here are a few steps to help guide your journey…
Step 1: Embracing The Process
I know it’s uncomfortable to not know what you want to do with your life – or what to do next. I’ve been there. Naturally, you want to have it all figured out as soon as possible. Everyone does. At the same time, looking for the fastest solution limits the necessary exploration of who you are and what you really want. Let the desire for a quick fix be there, just try not to engage it. If you need any further evidence that a quick fix isn’t the answer, just look to the state of our planet and world economy that are currently suffering from the same desire for immediate results. How’s that working out?
Or maybe you are avoiding action until you know what you want to do. You tell yourself that you are waiting to find the right career because you don’t want to make the wrong choice, but what have you really done to begin the process of finding it? This is another form of resisting to the process. If you can begin to accept that finding your path is a process, you open yourself to a deeper exploration, a more enjoyable journey, and a better possibility that your path will fit who you are.
Step 2: Letting Go Of What You “Should” Be Doing
We all get bombarded with messages about what we should be doing from the culture that we live in. It’s called conditioning and we need it in order to survive but too much of it limits our self-expression and independent thought. I heard someone once call it getting “shoulded on.” Sounds shitty to me.
Instead of following our inner guidance by listening to our heart, intuition, dreams, and passions, we make choices based on what we think we should do. We end up full of ideas and beliefs about the way things are that aren’t even really our own; we get a map of how to live our own life based on how other people think life should be lived. How is someone else’s map going to help you navigate to where you want to go?
Before looking too much further, spend some time identifying the “shoulds” that are affecting how you move forward on your path. Write them out on a piece of paper. This simple practice will help you let go of some of the beliefs that are holding you back from getting in touch with your true self and innate wisdom. Joseph Campbell said it best, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Step 3: Discovering Who You Are
Finding a path that fits you is driven by self-discovery. This is the core part of the process, the heart of the journey. Rather than looking for a career that sounds good and then attempting to compromise yourself to make it work, discover who you are and what you want and then find a career that is in alignment. Sustainable happiness and success are sure to follow.
Look within. Get to know yourself. When you do, you will find that you have innate strengths that create value. You have core values and a unique purpose that create meaning. You have unrealized potential that can be used to lead, perform at your peak, and make a difference. The process of finding your path asks you to clearly identify each of those parts of who you are.
What are your strengths?
What are your values?
What is your purpose?
I believe that the answers to these questions illuminate our path. These aren’t easy questions to answer but meditating on these questions will start to produce insights about who you are. If you want additional clarity, our coaching programs have specific exercises that will help you clearly discover your strengths, values, and purpose. The alignment of your strengths, values and purpose leads to your path.
Step 4: Exploring And Learning
The perfect career probably won’t show up immediately but following the alignment of your strengths, values and purpose will ultimately guide you to your path. Using this internal compass as a guide, follow it in whichever direction it leads, and let your experiences be lessons that shape and refine the direction of your path. Joseph Campbell famously summarized this approach in his saying, “Follow your bliss.”
Years ago, after discovering my strengths, values, and purpose, my internal compass pointed me in the direction of helping people find their path. It was a clear message but it didn’t come with instructions about what career to pursue or how to do it. I considered being a meditation teacher, therapist, counselor, teacher and a life coach. I researched the different professions, talked to professionals in each field, started attending meditation retreats, self-development workshops, and hired a life coach.
All of those experiences shaped and refined the direction I explored until I found myself enrolled in a coaching certification program. My initial vision was to work with high school students but I discovered that most teens weren’t quite ready for coaching. While initially disappointed, I accepted it, analyzed why it didn’t work and refocused on an older population that turned out to be a better fit. I now typically work with people in their twenties and thirties that are unfulfilled in their current career and looking for a more meaningful career path that fits who they are.
Reflecting on my path illustrates that the final career destination is not always apparent at the beginning of the journey. I found my path by acting in alignment with my strengths, values, and purpose, learning from my experiences, and letting my path be shaped by the information I received. I didn’t find my path by waiting to figure it all out before I took the first step.
I hope that this article leaves you with a better understanding of how to find a path that fits. If you are really serious about finding your path, I would love to coach you through the process. The steps that I outlined above are a broad overview of my “Career Path That Fits” coaching program. Please visit my website for more information and to sign up for a free consultation at http://www.APathThatFits.com. Adrian Klaphaak is a certified career coach and life coach that helps people find a path that fits. He works with conscious people that want to build successful careers while doing something meaningful. Adrian has developed a unique coaching program that has successfully helped hundred of people find work they love. Visit his website at http://www.APathThatFits.com for more information.
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