Career Connector

To Be Happy in Life, Find the Right Career

I just read an excellent book called Wellbeing, by the authors of StrengthsFinder 2.0 and the Gallup Poll. These guys have written great books about identifying your strengths so you can figure out how to use them in your career and other areas of your life.

Wellbeing assesses the impact of five key elements on a person’s life: Career Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing and Community Wellbeing. Among the five elements, Career Wellbeing was found to have the most far-reaching effects; your career influences your enjoyment, or lack thereof, of everything else in your life. If your work life isn’t going well, it’s likely that other areas of your life will suffer. So that’s a great reason to figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it as early as you can, to enhance your quality of life for the long term.

The first step to discovering what you should do for work is to think about what your strengths are—usually when you’re good at something, you also like doing it. Think about what you choose to spend your time doing—whatever it is. There is a business attached to anything you can think of, so even if what you like seems unlikely as a career path, with some research and creative thinking you may find it leads somewhere positive.

The second step is to turn theory into reality through focused experimentation: internships, interviews with professionals in the field, shadowing, volunteering. Try looking at your prospective career path from every possible angle—not just the obvious ones.

Although things may look fuzzy initially, eventually patterns will begin to emerge and you will be able to draw a more specific picture of what you might want to do—as well as what you don’t want to do. Career choice is too important for your long-term happiness, so don’t wait—do the hard work now!

This entry was posted in For Advisors to Individuals & Families, For Mid-Career Professionals, For Millennials, For Parents and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To Be Happy in Life, Find the Right Career

  1. Jake P says:

    In January, I had the good fortune of interviewing Wellbeing author Tom Rath for an article in National Speakers Association’s Speaker magazine.

    In addition to what you’ve mentioned above, one of the key concepts he stresses is that it’s a lot more productive to develop your areas of natural talent than it is to “try to be something that you’re not.” It’s important to be aware of your weaknesses/blind spots in order to manage them, but there’s no substitute for emphasizing your passions. In the same vein, he also cautions against obsessing about tips on what to do or what not to do—because you can lose sight of what you’re good at.

    Glad you enjoyed the book. Tom’s a super nice (and very humble) guy!

  2. Allison says:

    Jake, thank you for amplifying those particular points–I very much believe in the concept of working on the things you’re already good at and finding ways to compensate for those you don’t have talent for. Marcus Buckingham, I believe, made that point originally, and I practice and preach it.

    I am jealous that you interviewed Tom Rath–would love to hear more. Thanks as always for your interesting comments.

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