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Welcome back to day 24 of My Happy.Healthy.Whole Project (HHWP)! If you are just joining me and are curious what my project is about, or if you have been following but would like to catch up on previous day’s, check out my HHWP page!
We are nearing the end of October and the first month of my project already!
I will be giving you an update on how all of my October goals have gone at the end of the month, but today I’d like to tell you exactly what methods I used for finding my calling and a new career path in less than a month!
How I Knew It Was Time For Me To Find A New Career Path
On the second day of 2020, I had an accident at work. My second in about 2 years. The first injury, a torn hamstring, put me out of commission for a couple of months.
But this current injury was unfortunately, more serious than the first – a torn labrum in my shoulder which required surgical repair.
My surgery was scheduled for mid-March, the same time the country, and most of the world, locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Needless to say, my surgery was cancelled. All tourism in the Hawaiian islands was brought to a screeching halt, and my job, along with those of most everyone on the islands, disappeared over night.
As of this writing, the Hawaiian islands have just started to let tourists return, but with many restrictions. Many of the tourism companies will not survive, and those that have, are wary to reopen, fearing a winter that might bring surging cases and another wave of crippling shutdowns.
This leaves me with a lot of uncertainties when it comes to my career and financial stability.
I don’t know when or if the tourism industry that I have been working in will recover from this pandemic.
I don’t know if the company that I was working for will survive.
I don’t know if my shoulder will recover well enough to be able to keep working in the physically demanding roles that I have been until now.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that although I liked the job itself, the company I was working for really wasn’t looking after my safety properly, and I had zero work-life balance.
I was always on call. I worked 6 days a week almost year round, with only one week of vacation a year. I worked every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day, and was not allowed to take my one measly week of vacation during the summer or holiday seasons.
I had come to a crossroads. It was time to move on. But to what? That was the million dollar question.
How I Discovered What New Career Path Was Right For Me
At the beginning of my HHWP, I chose 5 areas of my life that I intended to work on – two of those were related to work. The first was to “find my calling” and the second, to “achieve life balance”.
Prior to having started my HHWP, I read a few books that really set things in motion for me as far as realizing that it was time to go in a different direction with my career. They were:
- The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau
- Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Mirrales
- The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way by Hector Garcia and Francesc Mirrales
- And of course, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
Inspired by these books, I kicked off my HHWP at the beginning of October.
During the first month of my project, I did the following activities and thought experiments to get more clarity on a new career path that might be right for me:
- I read the book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Ken Robinson
- Completed the Ikigai Activity (Check out the post for your own copy of this activity!)
- Completed the Wheel of Life Activity to assess which parts of my life were lacking balance.
- Took a Personality test, a couple overall happiness/well-being surveys and a character strength test.
- Contemplated what role I want work to play in my life.
As part of My HHWP I have documented this process for you, in case you think it would be helpful to follow along in my footsteps.
What I Learned From 1 Month Of Self Discovery
Job vs. Career vs. Calling
In her research, Psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski found that different people experience their work in three different ways: as a job, a career, or a calling.
A “job” is essentially work that you get nothing out of, short of a paycheck. You don’t enjoy it and you don’t see it going anywhere in the future, it’s just a means to pay your bills.
A “career” on the other hand does have the potential for advancement. People on a career path are typically motivated by recognition, promotions, and raises, but, if they didn’t get those things, they likely wouldn’t enjoy the work itself all that much.
And finally, that brings us to the “calling”. A calling is work that we are passionate about, that we are fulfilled by, and are excited to get up in the morning for. Promotions and recognition are still appreciated of course, but a person who has found their calling is motivated by the love of the work itself.
After some reflection, I realized that most of my work during high school and college was just a “job”.
After college, I pursued “career” positions and did what I thought I was supposed to do as a grown up; I worked my way up the corporate ladder. I was always good at my work, whatever it was, but it drained rather than energized me.
Finally my most recent job was one I thought could be a calling, it had so much potential! I think that’s why I stayed so long, longer than I should’ve as it turns out.
The good news is that I have been moving in the right direction, towards something that could be my calling.
What I Want/Need In My Work
In the book the Ikigai Journey, there was a particular activity that really helped me narrow down what my ideal work, or calling, would look like.
This activity asked you to think about your schooling, past work, and daily tasks, and to write down everything you didn’t like about them. Then in as much detail as possible to write down why you didn’t like these things. Once done with your list, the last step is to look for the common denominator – what all these things that you didn’t like, had in common.
The second part in the activity was to think about the jobs, school subjects, and daily tasks that you do like, and to write down what specifically you liked about them and why. Finally, as in the first part of the activity, to try and determine what all of the things you listed had in common.
What I learned from this activity is that my calling or ideal job would:
- Allow me to have new experiences and learn new things regularly.
- Use creativity to solve problems and improve processes.
- Allow me the freedom to experiment, and try out new ideas and ways of doing things.
- Involve teaching people through writing and/or coaching.
- Involve topics I am passionate about such as: science, psychology, personal growth, health, and happiness.
- Allow me to work with people one-on-one or in smaller group settings.
- Involve helping people to become happier, healthier, and more confident.
- Give me more freedom of schedule and life balance so I have more time to dedicate to family, travel and adventure.
- Be preparing me to own my own business some day.
Another lesson that being unemployed for the last 10 months due to injury and covid-19 taught me, is that I should not be relying on a single income source.
Instead, I need to diversify my income streams. As they say, plan for the worst, but hope for the best.
The Career Path I Have Decided On
After all the self discovery and soul searching that I did on this topic in the first month of my HHWP, I have finally decided on a new career path to pursue!
First, I plan to continue to build my blog, and work towards earning an income with that through affiliate programs.
Second, I plan to develop some passive income streams in the coming months by selling online courses and digital products. More on that later, but they will be in the field of personal growth with topics relating to: healthy habits, mindset, and happiness.
And finally, I have decided to pull out of the tourism industry and return to my first love – health coaching.
I think this combination of income streams is my calling. This career path will allow me to use my strengths, pursue my passions, and make a difference in the lives of other people. It will allow me to use my creativity and problem solving skills for a worthy cause, while giving me more control over my schedule and work-life balance.
All in all, I’d say that the first month of my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project was a big success!
I’ve got a lot to do in the next few months to start making my calling a reality, but I am more excited and motivated than I have been in quite awhile!
Stay tuned for my progress in the other areas of my HHWP at the end of the month, and be on the lookout for my November project goals on the 1st!
I’d love to hear from you!
- Have you found your calling or are you still searching for it?
- Do you think any of these books or methods of self discovery would be helpful for you?
Let me know in the comments!