You've Done All Those Career Tests...Now Try Something Unconventional That Might Help
July 31, 2014
Tell me if you can relate. You feel unhappy about where your career is going so you decide to do some research. Perhaps you spend time online reading articles and filling out questionnaires, or maybe you connect with a career counselor who gives you career tests to complete. All in the hopes that you will find your new calling. Once done, you get a list of potential careers that match your skills and aptitudes. Problem solved, right? Not really. Many of the careers don't really interest you, others require investing vast amounts of time and money to go back to school. Can't really do that and pay the bills.
So now what? Back to your old job for now...and the vicious cycle continues.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know
The reason the above conventional method usually does not work is because it is all based on introspection (the examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes). This is making the assumption that you know everything about yourself and you make a career decision based on that knowledge which will lead you to the right answer. But the truth is that we don't know everything about ourselves. For example, I had no idea I loved riding horses until a few months ago when my friend convinced me to go horseback riding with her. If I had been asked about horses on a test, I would have answered negatively, possibly missing an opportunity to move to a completely different direction. You don't know what you don't know!
Some Unconventional Ideas to Try
Here are some suggestions I give my clients to try when those tests don't seem to be giving them the answers they want.
Start by paying attention to what you do and then do it differently. Change the path you take to work, go to a different restaurant, network with people you don't normally connect with, try a new sport. You never know where you will find inspiration for change.
Stop trying to find your one true self. Start testing different parts of yourself by volunteering, taking on small projects or contracts to see which self resonates with you.
Try different paths to get to the answer such as hypnosis, NLP, tapping or meditating, all of which can help you overcome limiting self beliefs and fears as well as the anxiety that can be associated with change.
Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
The reality is that there isn't a specific formula or test that will ever be able to conclusively tell you where you belong, or what will make you happy. So much of the time, what makes us happiest and feel most fulfilled is found in the most unexpected places. How many times have you found yourself saying "You know, if it hadn't have been for "x", I never would have known about "Y"? It starts with thinking outside the box, with trusting your gut instincts, and with being (at least a little) comfortable with being uncomfortable.
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